An open letter to Elon Musk re: Twitter
A month or so ago you completed your acquisition of Twitter, a social media platform. Not a software company, not an engineering company, a SOCIAL MEDIA platform. You have laid off over half your staff and with your ill worded ultimatum, the remaining half of your staff left as well.
In the meantime you have been holding ‘code reviews’ which are pointless in terms of fixing what is wrong with twitter. You then add a cherry to the top of the crap cake and allow a known traitor, Trump, back on your platform. I have been an engineer, a real, degree engineer, for 24 years and I can tell you are not facing a technological issue, you are facing a psychological issue.
I am part of your target audience, a late 40’s, white male, and I abandoned the platform even before you announced your acquisition earlier this year. Why did I leave? It was boring and there are better alternatives out there. Too right wing, too full of stupid, and just too boring to top it all off. The major technological gripe was how difficult it was to engage with others. In fact, this loops back to the social, psychological issue with Twitter. It is not compelling. The content is not unique, the whole microblogging idea has been done to death and no amount of software engineering will fix that.
I honestly don’t know how you can fix Twitter. It may just be an idea that has played out, like America Online, Myspace, Geocities and Angellfire. Websites and social media come and gone and it may be time for Twitter to go. When a traditional message board like Reddit or social media like Facebook exist, what’s the point of Twitter? With ad free alternatives like Mastodon, what compels me to use Twitter? All of these points are psychological, not technical. Forget code reviews and hire a team of psychologists, anthropologists, and sociologists.
I would wish you luck, but to be honest, I, like millions of people will not miss Twitter one bit.