Will Elon Musk redefine the rules of engagement 
on Twitter?

Will there be an edit button now, many are wondering, because the entrepreneur tweeted out a poll to the effect?



AFP
AFP

Published: Wed 6 Apr 2022, 11:43 PM

The amount of media — and social media — frenzy about Elon Musk acquiring a 9.2 per cent stake in micro-blogging/social networking site/app Twitter (the largest chunk of its share), and being appointed to its board, is an indicator of how much fast-moving the state of ‘news reporting’ has become. It’s a race to grab as many hits and eyeballs before attention spans wither — as they will, in a matter of hours, or maybe days.

The subtext is: the world is not really going to change, nobody’s life is going to get better — or worse. But the reason why Musk’s nearly $3 billion buy-in is proving to be a tour de force is probably because this is the classic case of a disruptor meeting yet another disruptor… and yes, technology, not money, has been the meeting point.

Twitter disrupted the concept of news breaks and, additionally, created the notion ‘breaking views’. Unlike other social media platforms — like, say, Facebook and later Instagram that were more lifestyle-driven — Twitter encapsulated citizen journalism in its 140-character spaces, that was later increased to 280; and since we live in a virtual global village, there have been no boundaries.

With one tweet, one was — and is — empowered to change the rules of traditional news media. Much the same way, Musk has been at the forefront of disrupting the face of conventional corporations and the resultant supply change of money management. Many labelled him a maverick trying to play hardball with notions most investment brokers didn’t really have a handle on: space technology, AI, futuristic automobile sustainability — with all linked to viable business models.

Today, he’s the world’s richest man, and has proved disruption is king in the currency the rest of humankind understands best: money.

So, what happens with the meeting of Musk and Twitter? A lot of ‘viral’ discussions point at concerns — or hurrahs — over the fact that he may be redefining the rules of engagement in the space. When he asked the public — on Twitter obviously — whether they believed free speech is essential “to a functioning democracy” and whether Twitter subscribes to this principle, the extrapolation was he would either be pulling away from restrictions altogether and put together a brand-new functioning template.

Will there be an edit button now, many are wondering, because Musk tweeted out a poll to the effect? Will he be putting in security coding to filter out fake profiles and trolls who are piling up misinformation — and disinformation? And most importantly, will there be a new kind of ‘corporate’ polarisation with social media reinventing itself as the new business battleground: Musk literally taking on the Zuckerberg empire?


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