Or he’s retconning very visible, cascading, costly failures as one big secret plan, and people have a lot invested in propping him up. You decide! https://t.co/ubQU6SXSby
— Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) November 19, 2022
As I understand it, Kara Swisher is one of Silicon Valley’s most prominent journalistic supporters, so her opinions on Twittermeggedon and the apartheid princeling bitchboy responsible are presumed to have weight. Enough so that NYMag published an article, just this past Tuesday, titled “Elon Musk and Kara Swisher Are No Longer Speaking”. Its closing paragraphs:
Kara Swisher: Today? Hopeless. He’s capable of great things here. He’s behaving … He’s disappointing in how he’s handling himself. And in the midst of all this disappointment, there’s all these really good ideas. It’s just so bossy. “I’m the law.” It’s so narcissistic. And the thing the other day, the advertising thing, someone asked about the difference between Twitter and Elon Musk…
They’re the same thing. He can’t pretend. These wealthy people like to pretend they’re not powerful. It drives me crazy. He’s very powerful. What he says matters. He can hurt people if he wants to, even if he doesn’t mean to. And so, he’s got to have a greater sense of care around what he’s doing and just slightly more kindness. He can still be puckish, and rude and funny, just like I said. He’s all these things like funny, rude, compelling, obnoxious, accessible, easy to deal with, hard to deal with, always on, outspoken to a fault, angry, charming, intense, and also strikingly confident. You can be all those things. That means you’re a human being. But I mean this in the nicest way, Elon, I’m not the asshole.
Nayeema Raza: You want to finish that thought?
Kara Swisher: That’s my thought. I’m not the asshole.
But that was *then*! Today, rebutting the NYTimes, Swisher announces that she’s talked to “smart folks who know Elon” — at least one of whom, I personally suspect, may have been wearing Elon Musk’s socks — and there’s a PLAN!
I spent the last day talking to smart folks who know Elon to try to grok why it feels capricious and what the method is to the seeming madness. Here you are for those who care and for those who don’t, good for you for ignoring chaos monkeys https://t.co/C4QzKSvOMe
— Kara Swisher (@karaswisher) November 19, 2022
For easier reading (there’s a lot of random gifs in Swisher’s thread), I’m gonna intercut Swisher’s tweets with replies from Tom Scocca, professional skeptic:
1. Twitter will not collapse imminently. Probably. It’s a resilient system and things are backed up. But it’s less failsafe and more prone to attacks by hackers who have an easier target. Elon is a gambler and he is betting on odds that fewer staffers will handle. Risky obvi.
2. He is also counting on users to put up with inconveniences like you can’t get your archive or user count. Tech users are used to glitches and they might not leave yet over small jams. He’s probably right even if it’s a sucky attitude toward consumers. Does he give a fuck? No.
His signature AI system, Autopilot, does not work *at all* and one of the bigger and more dangerous reasons it can't work is it can't understand human behavior, so— https://t.co/LSR4Om9x2M
— Tom Scocca (@tomscocca) November 19, 2022
4. All the hand waving meanness & fetid stunt tweeting? It makes folks come look & grows usage, even if it is to see the traffic accident. The look-at-my-frantic-antics is called marketing or snarketing as one Twitter user put it. Growth at all costs? That sounds familiar.
5. The indiscriminate firings? All tech is bloated and so is Twitter and he’s counting on the cuts to remove those who don’t revere him. Then he’ll pack up the circus tent and move it to a more malleable state like Texas, where the pols will suck up like a Hoover on steroids.
Scocca: Not sure how this analysis applies to losing the compliance and payroll departments.
6. Does he care that you think he’s an amateur/asshole/wackjob/chode while doing it? He does not. The brand is Elon and always will be that is what you know now more than ever. If it works, he’s done it ONCE AGAIN; if not, it’s mostly OPM and who cares if the Qataris lose $.
Scocca: He’s frantic and visibly anguished about how he’s seized the site and everyone still won’t stop hooting about how bad he is at posting, just an endless barrage of laughing-crying emojis as he lashes out in humiliation.
7. In that vein, a chance to own the media/critics/pols who don’t fellate him is an added bonus? Trolling works as well as inspiring & your sad concerns of decorum & decency do not interest the Silicon Valley I know. Move fast & break things? Destroy things is more like it. Fun!
8. Did I mention marketing? As Trump uses outrage to raise money from suckers, Elon is doing much the same to focus the attention on Twitter. You can’t buy this kind of advertising & the crazier the tweeting, the better. Oh let’s do a poll to see if Donald should return! Burn.
Scocca: Tesla stock dropped from $220 to $180 over the past month.
9. Silicon Valley is cheering him on, whether they say it out loud or not. The tech bigs have lost a step of late for reasons mostly their own fault. So his obstreperous obnoxiousness is welcome & encouraged. He’s a bloated champion but he’s still swinging. Plus 🚀 & 🚘 are cool!
Scocca: I guess this is true if you define “Silicon Valley” as the dickheads with the money rather than the specialized workforce?
10. He still needs revenue and quick. Blue checks nonsense didn’t work. Payments a zillion miles away. Enterprise services too. Advertising is even more fucked. That said, will tech shore up its own & will bankers let him off the hook & will we forget his ugliness? You betcha!
Scocca: The part about how they’ll just eat the losses is probably also true, IDK, it’s almost as if none of this is about business per se.
11. I’m still not paying $8. Fuck that.
From the original NYTimes article yesterday, “Elon Musk’s Twitter Teeters on the Edge After Another 1,200 Leave”:
… Perhaps the most crucial question now is how Twitter can keep running after the giant reduction to its work force in such a short time. The effects of the cuts and resignations have played out across the company’s technology teams, people with knowledge of the matter said.
One team known as Twitter Command Center, a 20-person organization crucial to preventing outages and technology failures during high-traffic events, had multiple people from around the world resign, two former employees said. The “core services” team, which handles computing architecture, was cut to four people from more than 100. Other teams that deal with how media appears in tweets or how profiles show follower counts were down to zero people.
“Wednesday offered a clean exit and 80 percent of the remaining were gone,” Peter Clowes, a senior software engineer, tweeted on Thursday about the departures on his team. “3/75 engineers stayed.” He said on Twitter that he quit on Thursday.
Mr. Musk is also considering shuttering one of Twitter’s three main U.S. data centers, a location known as SMF1 in Sacramento, which is used to store information needed to run the social media site, four people with knowledge of the effort said. If the data center in Sacramento is taken offline, it will leave the company with data centers in Atlanta and Portland, Ore., with potentially less backup computing capacity in case something fails.
Twitter is still operating, but it may become harder for the company to fix serious issues when they come up, former employees said. One former Twitter engineer likened the service’s current state to Wile E. Coyote, the Looney Tunes cartoon character, as he runs off the edge of a cliff. Though he may still be running in midair for some time, once he looks down, he drops like a stone…
The employee reductions are coinciding with Twitter’s entering one of its busiest periods in terms of visitors to the site. The World Cup, which begins on Sunday, is expected to bring a deluge of traffic to Twitter, which is the world’s fourth most visited website, according to Similarweb, a digital intelligence platform that tracks web traffic. Twitter gets 6.9 billion visits each month, slightly more than Instagram’s 6.4 billion, though far fewer than Google, YouTube or Facebook, according to Similarweb estimates…
If there's anything like a strategy or theory in this soup, it seems to be that Twitter's addicted/committed user base would end up like Tesla stans, sticking up for his objectively busted product. But why would they do that when Musk didn't even build it? https://t.co/3luCg1b6A8
— Tom Scocca (@tomscocca) November 19, 2022
If she keeps hammering that note she’s hoping people will stop dunking on her for telling them to put their retirement in crypto
— Crosby Stills Nash Bridges (@JakesAlterEgo) November 19, 2022
Yeah, I’ve always found her shtick to be annoying (“tech oligarchs respect her because she doesn’t take any guff and speaks truth to power!”) but she’s a water carrier for billionaires who has for years refused to acknowledge that Musk is nuts when anyone has pointed it out.
— ry (@RyanTCarroll) November 19, 2022