Musk’s acquisition has been greater than a little bit 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 reality accounts for maybe 99 % of the acrimony on there, which is never about occasions within the outdoors world and often concerning the content material of different tweets. Nearly everybody who makes use of Twitter feels that he’s being wronged by it by some means, however he can’t cease wanting. And one of many perverse details about it’s that the extra energy and followers one accumulates, the extra one dangers changing into held forth for instance of all that’s incorrect on the planet — none extra so than the winner of your complete recreation of world capitalism. No marvel 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 one wealthiest particular person on the planet, it’s simple for a lot of to consider that the deal just isn’t a couple of 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 in actual fact make it extra prone 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 carry again former President Donald Trump, one other billionaire energy person of the platform; loads of others discover that concept exhilarating. He’s acknowledged a want to rein in bot accounts, which most likely appear to be a much bigger downside to you when you might 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 will 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 self-importance, a way of bettering the private 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 amount of cash can repair and maybe his most relatable high quality. His outing on “Saturday Evening Dwell” was borderline painful to look at, even by up to date “S.N.L.” requirements — specifically his monologue, which was stuffed 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 advised him she liked 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 nice. However I additionally write issues like ‘69 days after 4/20 once more haha’ ” — an actual post from June 28, 2020, which was certainly 69 days after April 20 — “I don’t know, I believed it was humorous. That’s why I wrote ‘haha’ on the finish. Look, I do know I generally say or submit unusual issues, however that’s simply how my mind works. To anybody I’ve offended, I simply need to say: I reinvented electrical vehicles 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 it’s possible you’ll not like my jokes, however what you need to perceive is that I’m really cool. The capital markets have rewarded Musk richly for all of that; Twitter, dwelling of the guillotine meme, has not — or at the least not uniformly. However due to the previous, any frustration Musk might have with the latter can doubtlessly reshape the closest factor we have now 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 will possibly occur in any respect.