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Elon Musk to Acquire Twitter
As it turns out, I was wrong. Elon Musk did, in fact, buy Twitter. I’m still not sure why.
Per a press release from Twitter, Elon Musk is in the final stages to acquire Twitter.
Twitter, Inc. today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by an entity wholly owned by Elon Musk, for $54.20 per share in cash in a transaction valued at approximately $44 billion. Upon completion of the transaction, Twitter will become a privately held company.
I’m not sure I care. I will likely stay on the platform, but I routinely delete old tweets and have zero qualms about it. In my view, tweets have always been ephemeral and never something to be kept for posterity. Sometimes they can even come back to bite you. Of course, anything you ever put up on the internet can likely be found and my old tweets could be located I’m sure. I don’t really have anything to hide.
As long as Musk does not get rid of Tweetdeck, I will stay. If he institutes a monthly cost to participate, I’ll be gone along with the millions who will absolutely not pay for this kind of “service.” Overall, I’m just not using social media that much these days, although my wife will attest I’m definitely using Instagram Reels far too much.
The real question is what Musk is planning for the platform. I’m with M.G. Siegler here. What is he going to do? Who knows?
I’m not going to lie, there’s some real trepidation here as a user with this change. Mostly because it’s such a wildcard. They’re handing the reigns to their most influential user. Think about that for a second. It’s wild. The fact that he happens to be a Memelord and self-styled Goblin King elevates that to insanity. It’s like a jester who becomes king — if that jester also happens to be the richest person in the kingdom and its most iconic businessman on the side. It’s as if his entire goal in this world is to actually make us believe we are living in a simulation. But one gone awry so we can tell something is off.
So what now? Who the hell knows! I’m still not convinced even Elon Musk does! An edit button? Yes! But that was already in progress. More user verification? I guess? Less advertising? Yes please! Open sourcing algorithms? Sure, but that sounds infinitely harder than it seems on the surface. Will Twitter decentralize? Lol.
Kevin Drum also can’t quite figure out what Musk is going to do with Twitter.
Musk has made noises about making Twitter genuinely free of moderation. Anyone will be allowed to say anything they want! But he’s going to find out this is harder than it sounds. A true free-for-all will (a) lose users, who just don’t want the hassle of being trolled constantly, and (b) lose advertisers, who don’t want to be associated with a toxic cesspool. One way or another, Musk, like every other social media owner, is going to have to figure out some compromise between free speech and profitability.
My educated guess is things could be rocky for Twitter and this acquisition could be the beginning of the end. Just ask Google +, MySpace, Friendster, Ello, Mastodon, and Tumblr (which I would guess might be making a huge comeback now…).
If I had $264 billion, like Musk, I would not have bought Twitter.
However, I would have dropped $80 billion and bought Fox News, fired all of the current on-air “talent” and remade the format so it actually presented news instead of propaganda.
I would then drop $10 billion and buy DC Comics and all of its IP. I’d then sell it to Disney for likely the same price.
I would then drop $2.5 billion and buy the St. Louis Cardinals. Just for fun.
In a post about a lot of different things, Alan Jacobs slips in a bit about how he uses Instapaper.
Whenever I see something online that I think I want to read, I put it in Instapaper — and then I try to leave it for a while. Often when I visit Instapaper the chief thing I do is delete the pieces I only had thought I needed to read. So for me it’s not just a read-later service, it’s a don’t-read-later service. But that only works if I don’t go there too often. I try to catch up with my Instapaper queue once a week at most.
Oh, this is such a cool idea. I need to go through all of my saved pieces and start deleting them.
Memories of Things Nobody Cares About
Will Leitch, in his newsletter, spent most of it focused on his favorite movie of last year, The Worst Person in the World. The movie is about Aksel, a 43-year-old man who is dying of pancreatic cancer and reflects on his life. I have not seen the movie, but Leitch says the movie’s protagonist makes a realization that the things he cared about were meaningless.
Leitch quotes an Aksel monologue from the movie that feels revelatory in my own life.
I’d given up long before I got sick. Really. I just watch my favorite old movies over and over. Lynch, “The Godfather Part II”… How many times can you watch “Dog Day Afternoon”? Sometimes I listen to music I haven’t heard before. But it’s old as well. Music I didn’t know about, but from when I grew up. It felt as though I’d already given up. I grew up in an age without Internet and mobile phones. I sound like an old fart. But I think about it a lot.
The world that I knew has disappeared. For me it was all about going to stores. Record stores. I’d take the tram to Voices in Grünerløkka. Leaf through used comics at Pretty Price. I can close my eyes and see the aisles at Video Nova in Majorstua. I grew up in a time when culture was passed along through objects. They were interesting, because we could live among them. We could pick them up. Hold them in our hands. Compare them. Like books. That’s all I have. I spent my life doing that. Collecting all that stuff, comics, books. And I just continued, even when it stopped giving me the powerful emotions I felt in my early 20s. I continued anyway. And now it’s all I have left. Knowledge and memories of stupid, futile things nobody cares about.
Leitch chimes in with his own reflection on “memories of stupid, futile things nobody cares about.”
Aksel is dying, so his memories have an extra urgency and sadness. But it can feel like dying sometimes, to know that everything you valued your entire adult life, and thought would last as profoundly important, has gone away. And nobody really noticed, or cared.
I remember when the mysteries of Lost were what everyone was talking about. I remember the transition from the musical domination of Sunset Strip bands to the Seattle sound and understanding a shift was taking place. I remember a time when I didn’t want an iPhone. These were fundamentally important things in my life at that time. Today? Not so much.
And then Leitch drops this killer paragraph:
Part of getting older is recognizing that the things you care about are not the things everybody else cares about, and being comfortable with that. Deep down, I don’t really care whether or not anyone thinks being a Wilco fan makes me “washed,” or if you think the third greatest rom-com of all time is freaking You’ve Got Mail (????!!!!!), or you don’t like watching college basketball, or if you get bored reading. I love Wilco, I love college basketball, I love reading, those things provide me pleasure, and if they don’t do that for you, I can’t do anything about that … and it doesn’t take anything away from my pleasure. There was a time that I would have obsessed over persuading you that you were wrong, that these things are fantastic and that you should come be a part of them with me, all the powerful emotions I felt in my early 20s. But it’s fine now. I like too much salt on my french fries, I like Rhone running shirts and Tracksmith running shorts, I like to sit in the third row at movie theaters, I like my car seat pushed farther back than the length of my leg necessarily requires. I like things the way I like them, and I’m comfortable with that. I don’t need you to be. And you shouldn’t need me to be comfortable with whatever you like.
It’s good to like what you like from “back in the day,” but time inches ever more into the future. Maybe I’m just getting old and set in my ways just like Leitch.
I like my own personal remembrances and what I care about others might not, but I guess one can get lost in the way it used to be and forget to focus on the here and now and the future.
That’s the trick, isn’t it? I like to strike a balance between enjoying what I like and embracing something new. It’s hard but worth it. Because I don’t want to leave this world with just “memories of stupid, futile things nobody cares about.”
Mystery Incorporated is the gritty live-action reboot of a beloved children's animated show that we all deserve.
You Don’t Have to Clap
Warren Ellis pointed me to this breakdown by Robin Sloan of recent developments with Twitter. It’s a good read, but this bit is the kicker:
Wishful descriptions of Twitter as “the de facto public town square” or “the closest thing we have to a global consciousness” sound, to me, like Peter Pan begging the audience to clap and raise a swooning Tinkerbell.
You don’t have to clap.
I like Sloan’s prediction of “an overdue MySpace-ification.” Seems spot on.
Here are the articles I think you should read this week:
Until next time, it’s a strange place we find ourselves in. Wanna make it stranger?
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