One other day within the wacky world of Elon Musk’s Twitter, and as we speak, Elon has each killed off a plan to add a secondary, ‘official’ gray tick, to enhance the blue checkmark for sure Twitter accounts, whereas he additionally met with key advertisers in an effort to calm their issues concerning the future course of the app.
Truthfully, it have to be exhausting for Elon to travel so usually, however I additionally assume that we’re now beginning to get a greater understanding of the method right here, the tactic behind the perceived insanity of his strategy. That that is, truly, all a part of a plan, regardless of how misguided that plan could seem.
In a TED Talk back in 2014, Elon Musk defined how he approaches issues, and why he’s been so profitable at discovering different options, which many have missed.
As defined by Musk:
“Nicely, I do assume there’s a superb framework for considering. It’s physics. You realize, the kind of first ideas reasoning. What I imply by that’s, boil issues all the way down to their elementary truths and cause up from there, versus reasoning by analogy. Via most of our life, we get by way of life by reasoning by analogy, which basically means copying what different individuals do with slight variations.”
The basic idea right here is that we’re usually too reliant on what’s already occurred, what’s been completed, as a marker of what’s going to come subsequent, which might blind us to the alternatives which can be proper in entrance of us, as a result of we expect that we already know the result.
If you view issues from this attitude, the chaos that Musk has overseen thus far at Twitter makes a bit extra sense. Fairly than hearken to the numerous commentators which have seen social platforms attempt issues like subscriptions prior to now, and fail, and even take the previous historical past of social platforms into consideration, Musk has approached issues with a extra clean slate view.
‘What would occur if we did cost for a blue checkmark?’
In fact, I, like nearly everyone else, assume that this proposal received’t work, primarily based on precedents like Twitter Blue, or Facebook’s past explorations of charging for the app. However Elon Musk doesn’t take a look at issues the identical manner, and that’s how he’s solved among the largest technological issues at his different firms.
And when you think about this, the entire Elon persona, and strategy, makes extra sense.
Elon himself has basically flagged this as we speak, noting that:
Please be aware that Twitter will do a number of dumb issues in coming months.
We are going to preserve what works & change what doesn’t.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 9, 2022
Giving everybody blue checkmarks, with no ID verification, has already led to various cases of misinformation and deception, inside hours of the choice being launched – which, in equity, Twitter has snuffed out fairly fast. However this looks like solely the beginning, as there’ll be many, many ways in which scammers will look to make use of this as a method to dupe individuals, whereas the quantity of customers which can be prone to pay for a blue tick might be not sufficient to even make it definitely worth the effort.
However once more, I’m viewing this with historical past as my information – I’m taking a look at it primarily based years of analyzing social networks, and the teachings that the platforms have discovered prior to now, which guides my view of what I anticipate to be the result.
That’s not how Elon Musk works, and the extra we see of his strategy, the extra that is coming into perspective, doubtlessly flagging what we are able to anticipate.
One other facet to think about in Elon’s Twitter strategy is promotion, and his distinctive strategy to getting consideration.
It’s notable that Tesla, Elon’s foremost firm, doesn’t pay for advertising, and never has, and an enormous a part of the explanation why it doesn’t is as a result of having Elon Musk as its entrance man is definitely simply as beneficial as paying for adverts
As a result of he loves consideration, and he is aware of the way to get it – which, in the long run, implies that he doesn’t must pay for it, as a result of the media involves him.
In the identical vein, Elon is aware of that he can generate large curiosity and a spotlight just by tweeting loopy issues. For instance, primarily based on inside information (which Musk shared this week), Twitter engagement is definitely on the up since he took over on the app.
Watching this unfold, I can now see that this might all, doubtlessly, be part of his larger plan, which implies that Musk will preserve tweeting out his traditional outlandish, attention-grabbing stuff, then let every remark percolate among the many media, successfully selling Twitter within the course of.
Then he’ll simply abandon the dumbest ideas, as he says, shrugging them off as random late-night ideas.
On the similar time, Musk will proceed to carry conferences like as we speak’s chat with advert companions, the place he’ll stroll again his most galling feedback. Inside this, he’s successfully saying ‘yeah, I say plenty of random stuff, which is definitely actually good for the platform’s numbers, however in actuality, I’m not going all-in on excessive hate speech, and so on.’
That stability will get troublesome when his followers begin calling on him to enact a extra free speech strategy, consistent with his public statements. However possibly, that is the method, balancing numerous spinning plates by working to appease as many sides as he can.
Random class warfare tweets, then calming advert exec conferences. Supporting ‘free speech’, then assembly with the Chinese language Authorities to deal with their issues.
On stability, this does nonetheless appear to be an untenable established order. However what we’re seeing is just like Trump’s strategy to the app, flooding the zone along with his ‘off the dome’ feedback, whereas working on the different finish to construct the enterprise.
And once more, as Musk himself notes, a few of these concepts received’t work. However he’ll attempt them anyway – as a result of why not?
Positive, persons are gonna be irritated about his $8 per 30 days ‘verification’ proposal. But when they don’t prefer it, they don’t pay, then Twitter scales it again at a later date – or much more doubtless, reverts again to the unique system as soon as it’s clear that not sufficient customers pays (nonetheless betting on this being the almost definitely consequence).
Then what occurs? Twitter utilization reverts to regular, with possibly a number of extra individuals paying for subscriptions. Then Twitter will launch another subscription providing, which is possibly barely higher, possibly worse. Some individuals pays, others received’t, and we’ll all debate the logic of Elon’s newest loopy transfer, successfully conserving Twitter and Musk within the information.
And regardless of this being a messy course of, and all out in public, it might nicely assist to maximise Twitter promotion, and preserve extra individuals coming to the app to hitch within the chaos, as Musk and Co. proceed to check out new concepts.
Principally actually, the dangers are might not that prime – as long as Musk doesn’t lower off customers wholesale or fully tank the attain of each tweet from each non-paying person (which Musk has mentioned, and will nonetheless occur), or open the floodgates to every kind of hate speech that might have dramatic impacts on the app.
Which he has advised he’ll do. However he hasn’t completed it but.
Elon additionally is aware of that advertisers will come if utilization improve, and whereas the related model dangers might nonetheless be vital, it’s beginning to turn into a bit clearer that there’s a distance is between what Elon Musk says and what Elon Musk does in actuality.
And in a yr’s time, Twitter will most likely look very very similar to what it does proper now. Whether or not it makes more cash, although, is the important thing question for Elon’s new workforce.