Welcome To Hell, Elon

Nobody asked my opinion and by opinion I mean my opinion on starting, running, advising a community/content moderation/social networking site/app as a business.

And by who I mean Elon Musk, the banks, his bankers, his advisors and his text friends.

I have no doubt Twitter can grow revenues rather easily and earn significant profits, but at what cost to Elon and his real babies (human and corporate). I am not sure how this could be good for Tesla and Space-X employee morale as their leader fights with the global pseudononymous people of planet earth and soon space.

I don’t know much and I definitely don’t know Twitter scale but I do know community and content moderation and human behavior online… even if you call Stocktwits small and subscale.

Anyhow, I could not express my dread better than Nilay Patel did at The Verge in his piece titled ‘Welcome To Hell, Elon‘.

Here is one riff…

The essential truth of every social network is that the product is content moderation, and everyone hates the people who decide how content moderation works. Content moderation is what Twitter makes — it is the thing that defines the user experience. It’s what YouTube makes, it’s what Instagram makes, it’s what TikTok makes. They all try to incentivize good stuff, disincentivize bad stuff, and delete the really bad stuff. Do you know why YouTube videos are all eight to 10 minutes long? Because that’s how long a video has to be to qualify for a second ad slot in the middle. That’s content moderation, baby — YouTube wants a certain kind of video, and it created incentives to get it. That’s the business you’re in now. The longer you fight it or pretend that you can sell something else, the more Twitter will drag you into the deepest possible muck of defending indefensible speech. And if you turn on a dime and accept that growth requires aggressive content moderation and pushing back against government speech regulations around the country and world, well, we’ll see how your fans react to that.

Anyhow, welcome to hell. This was your idea.

Matt Mullenwag the founder of WordPress and someone I greatly respect had this to say (I did not know he had bought Tumblr):

I have warned friends in the ‘crypto’ and ‘NFT’ space for a few years now of the hell that awaits them with their ‘communities’.

I do want to be clear, I love building community because it is pretty much my only trick/skill. I just want to remind people that community is a terrible business for the huge time suck and stress – especially at any level of scale.

I love Twitter and will continue to share my thoughts in real-time because it’s fun and at least for me still very productive.