What the Media Consistently Gets Wrong About Elon Musk’s Twitter

As everyone is aware, Elon Musk and his global investors purchased Twitter for $44B last year. It’s a nefarious group of facists who are trying to convert a news-driven app for content creators into a payments app. And they’re getting into crypto and stocks and going after traditional banks.

All of the media focus on politics — along with Elon Trumping everyone for media attention while he shifts the app to being profitable — screams one thing: Twitter is no longer a social media company.

People still use it, and I’m not sure why, because there is no legitimacy to the information provided on that app anymore ever since Elon chose to monetize it via a Blue checkmark subscription. I wrote about this when I left Twitter and converted my personal handle into my podcast’s handle. More on this later.

When the media discusses the app, they are aghast at the changes he’s made to a platform; they’re essentially talking about it as an obituary in the making. From kicking journalists off of it to charging to be “verified” to removing legitimate cultural influencers and news makers to shunning advertisers, every step has been perceived as a misstep. That is true, if you’re thinking about Twitter as the company it was before he took over, fired everyone and continues to make sloppy, amateur blunders with his guesstimates on subscribers and treatment of the day to day product.

What everyone fails to understand is that Twitter is not a social media app anymore — but a payments app.

Once you understand this, what he’s doing make more sense. Also why I don’t give a shit about if he succeeds or fails, because I have no attachment or association with many of his competitors like CashApp, Venmo or Paypal.

Let’s look at the payments space, because that’s where the media should be focusing given all of his purposely bungled public relations moves and product failures.

Market share of cash, credit cards, and other payment methods at point of sale (POS) in the United States
Market share of cash, credit cards, and other payment methods at point of sale (POS) in the United States

Payment processing is a lucrative and extremely fragmented vertical. In 2021, Square had 201 million profiles in their system and 20 million subscribers; Twitter has 200 million users and just signed a deal with eToro to allow users to trade stocks and crypto.

This was a user acquisition play from the get go, not someone trying to save a niche social media product.

And how that’s not the narrative is beyond me, but drama sells – both on Twitter for now and in the media, who’s hell bent on riding the Trump “say something stupid” like a WWE wrestler — or GOP politician — to distract from what they’re really working on.

It’s why Jack, who recommended that Twitter be turned over to Musk to profit off of a massive user base, is working on Bluesky. It’s because he failed the first time with Twitter, ultimately. But they believe in him to take the app to the fediverse because it’ll require local moderation on each instance. Mastodon already does this but as everyone knows being a fast follower isn’t a bad thing, especially if they’re going to convert many of the 300+ million projected users over to that app.

Personally, I’m exhausted with being a media personality or having a large following. I’d rather put my time and attention toward existing, reputable institutions and groups and help in real life than tweet away endlessly into the ether hoping someone responds. Or worse, gaming the system to build a following.

I saw a video recently that said once you reach 300 people following you on social media you are essentially performing to entertain them.

And I felt that.

But times change, people change and attention changes. It’s been happening with social media since 2016.

Musk saw this trend and knows he can ride out the core Twitter product to keep at least the number of profiles Square has on day one when he launches TwitterBucks, or whatever infantile name he creates that his fan boys will love.

However, like the failure of Twitter Blue subscribers, I don’t see Twitter eclipsing the payments space in a big way. Trust is required when it comes to money and like his cars that rank worst for initial quality and even kill people, he has proven he is untrustworthy.

Just today, it was revealed that Elon opened a racist Twitter burner account in November after acquiring the company. That’s not someone I trust with my money let alone wanting to support or even be near. As such, my account is now deleted as is my company’s. You can find both of us on Spoutible here and here, and I’m also on Mastodon.

As I’ve been told and recycled because it’s true: Twitter is not real life. And it’s no longer a social media company, either.

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