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Elon Musk and Twitter

Twitter is the bathroom wall of the Internet/Image: Huffington Post

People, politicians, and journalists have their tighty whities in a bunch over Elon Musk buying Twitter. There are calls for “positive” or “responsible” free speech- whatever those mean. Twitter, from its inception, has been the bathroom wall of the Internet.

Twitter is where lazy journalists find stories or use the platform as their assignment editor. They seem to believe Twitter trends are newsworthy. Politicians and celebrities use Twitter to inflate their already air-headed egos. It is their preferred “place” to meet and greet. Except, Twitter is not a real place.

Twitter may be “social media,” but it has no social relevance or socially redeeming value. It also has no social responsibility, contrary to what the social responsibility police claim. Twitter is not the “de facto public square.” It is the de facto public toilet.

Columnists are throwing the word toxic around and engendering fear Twitter will become more “toxic.” Yawn, stretch, scratch. Who cares? Twitter is not a community. It is a site where people throw dung at the wall to see what will stick. By the way, toxic is the new phrase to replace offensive since it sounds worse, and poisonous is too hard to spell.

Meanwhile, prominent Twitter figures are now saying they’ll leave the platform protesting its new owner. Among them is English actress Jameela Jamil, who tweeted her fears Monday that Musk “is going to help this hell platform reach its final form of totally lawless hate, bigotry, and misogyny.” (New York Times)

Is getting your genitals in a twist over Twitter worth all the manufactured angst, anger, aggravation, and grief? Twitter is nothing more than a 24/7/365 popularity contest, especially for celebrities and politicians hoping their tweets go viral. Then they can become famous or infamous. To them, it makes no difference. Twitter is the massage parlor for celebs and politicians to get ego gratification.

“Twitter is the closest thing we have to a global consciousness.” (Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey/AP)

Twitter is not the closest thing we have to a global consciousness or any other consciousness. Twitter is not that influential. It is a tenth of the size of Facebook, with roughly 200 million active users daily versus Facebook’s billions of daily users. Twitter makes money through advertising. Advertisers are cautious about advertising on platforms that allows objectionable content. If Musk opens the flood gates of “free speech,” advertisers may flee, turning Twitter into his big loser. He will learn fast, especially from his investor partner(s), that freewheeling management of a social media company is not a good business model.

All this angst about Twitter is a waste of mental energy and journalists’ time. There are way more critical issues in this country than who owns, how they will operate a social media platform, or how much “offensive” content they allow. If Twitter or Facebook offends you, delete your account. It really is that simple. If you need social media for self-affirmation or acceptance, you need professional help. If journalists need social media to provide stories, they should seek employment in another field.

If Twitter disappeared tomorrow, there would be no wailing, gnashing of teeth, or rending of garments. The world will not end. It would be just one more business on the trash pile of history.

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