Musk’s acquisition has been greater than a bit of crazy-making on a platform the place many customers’ chief obsession is the location itself. The textual content field of Twitter nonetheless prompts each person with “What’s taking place?” What’s taking place, invariably, is that they’re taking a look at Twitter. This easy truth accounts for maybe 99 % of the acrimony on there, which is never about occasions within the exterior world and incessantly concerning the content material of different tweets. Nearly everybody who makes use of Twitter feels that he’s being wronged by it in some way, however he can’t cease wanting. And one of many perverse info about it’s that the extra energy and followers one accumulates, the extra one dangers turning into held forth for example of all that’s mistaken on this planet — none extra so than the winner of the complete sport of world capitalism. No surprise Musk thinks there’s nonetheless worth to be unlocked: He loves the location, though his expertise with it’s most probably horrible.
And since Musk is the only wealthiest individual on the planet, it’s simple for a lot of to consider that the deal is just not a few want to refurbish and renew “the digital city sq.” however one thing extra nefarious or silly. Some — together with the second wealthiest man on the planet, Jeff Bezos — have speculated that Tesla’s publicity to the Chinese language market will the truth is make it extra vulnerable to censorship below Musk’s possession. Others have fretted about his now proudly owning journalists’ D.M.s; some suppose that’s hilarious. There are some who worry that he’s going to convey again former President Donald Trump, one other billionaire energy person of the platform; loads of others discover that concept exhilarating. He’s said a want to rein in bot accounts, which most likely appear to be a much bigger downside to you when you could have 85.4 million followers and tweet about crypto and inventory costs and the numbers 420 and 69. On Monday, individuals saved posting unflattering photos of him — from his PayPal days, or standing subsequent to Ghislaine Maxwell — joking it’ll be the final day they’ll get away with it.
And that is what’s so unsettling about his acquisition: the robust sense that — even at its most anodyne — it’s an act of vainness, a way of bettering the non-public expertise of 1 person of the agora. And there’s one thing to it. Musk oozes with a desperation to be regarded as humorous, an ailment no sum of money can repair and maybe his most relatable high quality. His outing on “Saturday Night time Reside” was borderline painful to look at, even by up to date “S.N.L.” requirements — particularly his monologue, which was filled with fascinating be-nice-to-me protection mechanisms: an announcement that he was the primary host with Asperger’s syndrome; an look by his mom, who hugged him and instructed him she cherished him; and a declaration of his imaginative and prescient for the longer term: “I consider in a renewable-energy future; I consider that humanity should grow to be a multiplanetary, spacefaring civilization.”
He paused after that half: “These appear to be thrilling objectives, don’t they? Now I feel if I simply posted that on Twitter, I’d be tremendous. However I additionally write issues like ‘69 days after 4/20 once more haha’ ” — an precise publish from June 28, 2020, which was certainly 69 days after April 20 — “I don’t know, I assumed it was humorous. That’s why I wrote ‘haha’ on the finish. Look, I do know I typically say or publish unusual issues, however that’s simply how my mind works. To anybody I’ve offended, I simply wish to say: I reinvented electrical automobiles and I’m sending individuals to Mars in a rocket ship. Did you suppose I used to be additionally going to be a chill, regular dude?”
By no means earlier than has the Twitter-user mentality been so neatly summarized: I do know you might not like my jokes, however what you must perceive is that I’m truly cool. The capital markets have rewarded Musk richly for all of that; Twitter, dwelling of the guillotine meme, has not — or a minimum of not uniformly. However due to the previous, any frustration Musk might have with the latter can probably reshape the closest factor now we have to a digital city sq.. It’s not clear that there’s something to mourn on this altering of the guard, besides maybe for the truth that it may well occur in any respect.