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Meet the new boss
Does it matter that Elon Musk will apparently own Twitter?
That's the news this Tuesday morning: $44 billion for outright ownership.
Not to define things by what they are not, but Understandably.com is unusual among email newsletters in that very few people come to it from Twitter. I think that's because most don't use Twitter very much to begin with.
Currently, I'm on Twitter for three things. Maybe four.
First, (a) cute things my daughter says, (b) jokes that generally fall flat, (c) observations about American democracy like: “the presidential line of succession is a ticking constitutional time bomb, just saying.”
Don't say I didn't warn y'all.
Oh, I also use Twitter because the "save tweet" button makes it easy to remember links that might make for good items among "7 other things." (BTW, my Twitter handle is: @billmurphyjr.)
Anyway, among the universe of individual bazillionaires who might have acquired Twitter, Musk seems to me to be among the least-worst. Because even if you don't use Twitter, the conversations there often drive "the agenda" in the broader world.
Case in relevant point, Libs of TikTok, a Twitter account (mostly anonymous), despite its name, which had a big impact and LGBTQ+ people and public schools over the past nine months—including new new laws in Florida and several other states.
You can like that or not like it, but it's largely what drove the conversation, and it’s largely in turn, because of Twitter.
Now, one person will own the platform on which conversations like that are driven. Hmmm.
I've realized recently that I'm a bit of an institutionalist. I am inclined to want to believe in the long-term efficacy of tested institutions, even despite the inadequacies of the people who currently hold positions in those institutions.
So, not to make this 100 percent autobiographical, but:
As an American citizen living in the U.S. in the 21st century, who ...
Grew up in the Roman Catholic church, and who still believes mostly, but that's a different newsletter—and who...
Served in the U.S. military during the Iraq War (2003-2011)—and who..
Well, etc; we could go on—but as a card-carrying Gen-Xer, I think I've got two choices (further use of bullet points):
Resolve to burn it all down, or else
Try to believe that institutions might often be greater than the people who sometimes (even often) control them.
I land on the latter. Individual people often disappoint me, but I do tend to have faith in humanity as a whole, because what's the alternative?
And yet, now Twitter, which punches above its weight, the institution comes down to a single man.
Heh-heh-heh. What could go wrong?
Maybe I should embrace my against-all-odds optimism.
What could go right?
7 other things worth knowing today
Prime target if Republicans win Congress: Hunter Biden, according to reports. (AP)
‘Plane swap' stunt is unsuccessful, spirals out of control. (USAT)
Popular Democrat Joe Manchin, U.S. Senator from deep red West Virginia. (Morning Consult, National Review)
NASA “holoported” a doctor onto the International Space Station. (CNET)
My take, many years ago, when a political amateur (Jeff Bezos) bought the Washington Post. (Archive: Inc.com)
Elon Musk’s mother’s advice a few years back. (Archive: Inc.com).
Latest thing people are upset about is this 1978 SNL skit:
Thanks for reading. Want to see all my mistakes? Click here.
What could go right? Twitter’s biased leadership is gone. Elon will take all his actions publicly, like he has always done. Also and more importantly everything stemming from a free fair town square that shares all their previously secret censoring algorithms publicly. I love Elon, he breaks the mold and then rebuilds it as rockets and electric cars. In our new free and truly public forum I am happy to let the world come together and see what we can all figure out together. Now who can do the same to Facebook?
As with all media today (Yes, that includes Understandably) - you can take nothing as gospel. At least Understandably makes you think about the issues -- whereas most of the media screams and yells what's dire and important to you. I get a kick out of the television and radio that they have a story every day and every broadcast that is "breaking news." And I'm a news junkie - but you can't believe everything you read or hear or tweet. It's sad that what drives all this is "eyeballs" which translates into $$$$ for the owners. The more eyeballs, the more $$$$. Speaking with a local news anchor, he brought up that there were 7 factual errors in a broadcast - but the producer responded, "But didn't you feel the energy in the show.
? Wasn't that great?" So the news has become entertainment, not journalism. A sad day for the world.