I haven’t been on Twitter for two or three years now. I haven’t missed it. Elon Musk takes over, and now people are asking if he can “save” Twitter, if he can somehow transform it into something other than the cesspool it has become.
I doubt it.
But the man isn’t an idiot. And he doesn’t seem to care what certain members of the elite class think about him. That’s admirable.
Statements calling Twitter the world’s digital commons or the global public square are, in my opinion, wrong. Cal Newport, on a recent podcast, alluded to an essay by Jonathan Haidt, where Twitter was likened to the Roman Colosseum, a place where elites once gathered to watch one group of people draw blood from another group of people for the purposes of spectacle and entertainment. I think that’s more accurate.
Twitter is a mob scene. It is a digital avenue by which “Legion” is allowed to invade one’s mind and take possession of one’s soul. A few algorithmic tweaks here and there might make it better. But what it really needs is an exorcism.
We’ll see how Elon does as the internet’s digital priest. We’ll see if digital openness and transparency on policy has the effect of light casting out darkness.
Or, we’ll find that even Elon isn’t enough, that a visit to Mars is more attainable, and Twitter will go the way of the dinosaur, the dodo, and Tom from MySpace.