We haven’t had this spirit here since 2006, when Facebook opened up to the general public. Or maybe 2010, with the launch of Instagram. Or 2017, with the launch of TikTok. Only this time it’s different, we’re not excited about a new platform because of the possibilities, but because of the hatred of the old platform, Twitter. We’re seeking a refuge.It’s all about community. In every vertical these days. That’s the hardest lift, the biggest climb. It doesn’t matter how good your idea is, it comes down to whether it spreads, whether you can build a fan/user base. It’s nearly impossible to do. People are overwhelmed, they want less clutter, not more. And in a world split into narrow niches, they might not be interested in your vertical.
But we couldn’t wait to sign up for Threads. I did. I’m eager. Because not only am I down on Elon Musk, I’m down on the experience. Twitter has become less fulfilling, I don’t need it as much, I’m not nearly as addicted as I used to be, it’s no longer the heartbeat of the world, it’s been taken over by bro culture, a tiny sliver of society that most of us decry.
Elon Musk might have been good at getting ahead of the public, with PayPal and Tesla, but he’s not good at actually living in the moment, with the rest of us. You see Musk’s input is limited. What I mean is he doesn’t have enough sources, he’s living in an echo chamber. He believes the hype. He believes the problem with Twitter is freedom. He’s become the hero of ignorant, alienated males, and that’s a bad look. Furthermore, you fail upon launch, not when you’re dealing with a mature platform. There was this insanity with check marks. You have to pay, or maybe you don’t have to pay. Some people can post endless screeds. It’s no longer a microblogging platform, it seems to be going backward to something like Blogger or LiveJournal. And we learned with Tumblr that you never alienate your core customers, whether it be users or advertisers, because it all depends upon community, you’ve got to keep the eyeballs, otherwise you’ve got nothing.
In other words, this is a maintenance mission as opposed to an innovative mission. You take what you’ve got and tweak it, you don’t trash it, throwing the essence overboard.
Steve Jobs believed in small teams. He thought they accomplished more than large teams. But he didn’t believe in eliminating the team. It’s one thing to be lean, it’s another to be strapped. And in a world run by Millennial and Gen-Z values you don’t want to abuse workers and not pay your bills. That’s anathema to them, they hate you on principle, you’ve got to assuage them first. You have to know who your customer is.
And then messing with the content… It’s bad enough we have to see ads, now we don’t even get to see the content we want to?
As for Zuckerberg… He’s no prince, but we haven’t heard anything about the metaverse in months. He seems to have pivoted, refocused, without trashing his past efforts. He’s just moved on, like a band that made a bad album and now wants to recover, like Garth Brooks after he morphed into Chris Gaines.
And Facebook may have reduced head count, but the company went on a hiring spree over the last few years. The company is lean (and can we call it Facebook instead of Meta now?), but it still has enough person power to create and distribute.
Musk had nothing he could protect. Hell, you can build a microblogging platform on open source software. The lift is not that heavy. Why did he think he was immune? There’s no secret code, no investment of so many dollars that no one can compete, all that Musk has is his audience, and people can abandon you on a dime. And you never really know what the public will do, but you can prepare for it.
Screw what the Supreme Court says, screw the Trumpists, most people don’t want falsehoods on Twitter. They don’t want conspiracy theories. They want a more pure site, they want SUPERVISION! Otherwise it’s a cesspool, with a shouting match laid on top. This is kind of like gun laws. The right and the Supreme Court might want open carry of battle weapons, but most people do not. And in order for Twitter to succeed, it must appeal to most people. Or at least the people who were using it. In this case, the informed, educated elite. You went to Twitter for news, hard news, who let the nincompoops in?
So we want to get out.
That’s what Threads offers.
This is why the Great Man strategy fails. Just because you’re good in one thing does not mean you’ll be good in another. Just because Musk can make and distribute electric cars does not mean he can run a successful app that interacts with the public at large. He’s got no clue. Like we constantly hear we want businessmen in government. Well, first and foremost, we want more women, not men, and we want those experienced, who know the ropes, who are not learning on the fly. In other words, would you want a great lawyer to be your heart surgeon? Or vice versa? Never has expertise been denigrated so.
Not that the experts are not manipulative. This is what turns us off most about Twitter, Musk’s manipulation, as if we can’t see it. Under the banner of freedom he’s limiting ours.
Turns out we need a microblogging platform. Quick, you smell smoke, is there a fire? The TV station won’t tell you if there is a fire, nor will the radio station. They’re further behind the curve than ever. No, for that you need the wisdom of the crowd, real time information, which is what Twitter provided, but we don’t need to get it from Twitter. Assuming there are enough people contributing elsewhere.
And Twitter is not about catalog. It is not like Wikipedia, the inertia of the past locking in its power. To compete? You’d have to recreate all that history, it’s too much of an effort. But Tweets are essentially evanescent. It’s Groundhog Day, over and over and over again. You’re starting anew. What happened yesterday, even earlier this afternoon, might already be irrelevant. Almost nobody searches history on Twitter, and so much of it is just plain wrong. Twitter is where you go to see the story unfold, it’s not where you go to read deep analysis after the fact.
And Zuckerberg never invented anything successful in his life. He refined Facebook. He purchased Instagram and WhatsApp, was beaten to the punch by TikTok and is now competing, poorly, with Reels.
But users don’t have a problem with TikTok, they see no reason to move on. It’s those not on TikTok who complain. Just like those not on Twitter complained about the cancellation of political figures and misinformation. It was all theory, in a relative vacuum, mostly horsesh*t. This is how bands built careers in the old days, not only with their music but the hatred by the oldsters and out of touch, it made them cool! You need to be cool to survive.
So Zuckerberg just copied Twitter. There’s no protection of an idea. No reason he can’t. Which is one of the positives of art, you can try and replicate it, but most times you cannot. You need vision, you need expertise…
The Threads story will be in the news for weeks now, maybe even months. I’m betting on its success, but even if it doesn’t make it another platform will arise, that’s how much people are dissatisfied with Musk, maybe even hate him. All his faux pas are coming home to roost, and the limit to the number of tweets was just the cherry on top, the straw that broke the camel’s back, enough already.
Let’s be clear… The government is not in control of Twitter or Threads.
And if you run one of these outlets you must have a soft touch, because if you alienate the audience, you’re toast.
And this is interesting because recently users have been happy with their apps, they haven’t seen a need for replication. Which is why Walmart still has not toppled Amazon. Online one is enough.
Unless there’s enough blowback.
My problem with Amazon is the ads, you can’t find what you’re looking for, and some of its business policies. If someone else had the inventory and delivery, I’d switch. But it’s a very heavy lift. Meanwhile, Jassy is about contracting as opposed to growing. Is now the time? When Amazon is under the microscope? We hate the company for so many reasons, it’s anti-union, it disadvantages third party sellers, I could go on and on. It’s like the record business, the labels thought people had no choice, then Napster came along and it turned out that people did have an option. And it took years for the labels to even see that the internet option was better for the consumer than ten tracks on an overpriced CD. In internet-land, you’ve got to give the public what it wants.
This is the story of Zaslav. He too thinks he lives in a vacuum. Killing content for the tax write-off, taking the axe to TCM… The most forwarded story today is the one about the “GQ” story taken down: wapo.st/3pE26M0 Zaslav is a f*ucking out of touch idiot. Just like Musk. If Zaslav didn’t think his sh*t didn’t stink he’d have been on the internet, would know how it works. YOU NEVER RESPOND TO BAD PRESS! BECAUSE NO ONE IS GONNA SEE IT! What was a nonstory is now a story. How come I know that and this guy making triple digit millions doesn’t? Because he’s out of touch, hanging with his buddies in Sun Valley instead of home on TikTok, where he can truly learn what his customers want.
Ignore the public at your peril. Take people’s temperatures constantly. Don’t bend to any whim, but you want to make an informed decision.
So what we’ve got here now is an alienated press corps that is gonna have a field day reporting on Threads, adding to its user base and possible success. You may not care, but reporters do, they’re addicted to Twitter, which means you’re gonna have to hear about this Twitter/Threads battle ad infinitum.
At least we’ve got a game.
We need something like this in politics.
But no, we’re just supposed to believe in the aged Biden, we get no choice, no voice. But if they gave us one, someone younger who could stand up and debate and fight back, maybe people would get excited and rally around the candidate. Instead, we hate Trump and DeSantis and we’re given no ammunition, we’re supposed to shut up, we’re told the experts know better, when they’ve been wrong time and time again.
Like Elon Musk.
Turns out he wasn’t an expert in social media.
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