Elon Musk and the woke left need each other
Entrepreneur Elon Musk and left-wing woke Twitter users have declared war on each other. Victory for either side would be Pyrrhic, as the mutual antagonists enjoy a symbiotic relationship, even if it pains them to admit it. The sooner they learn to play nice and cooperate, the better.
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While Twitter is full of right-wing crackpots spouting all manner of vile rhetoric, it’s fair to say that most elite users with millions of followers and the coveted blue tick lean left. This is due to a combination of formal and informal sanctions against those who use the platform to advance anti-left views: they have their content removed by moderators, the most famous example being the suspension of Donald Trump’s account; and they are ridiculed and attacked by mobs of left-wing users if they cross red lines.
While the left’s domination of Twitter is surely to their liking, their problem is that it is not sustainable. Despite having had profitable years, Twitter is typically a loss-making business, and its key advertising revenue model had a questionable future long before Musk’s acquisition.
Additionally, the moderation that makes Twitter a generally pleasant experience for left-wing Twitter users is expensive and getting more expensive by the day. Social media managers continue to search in vain for scalable algorithms that effectively censor offensive content while retaining innocuous content. Removing bots without accidentally shutting down human accounts still requires human judgment, and the more Twitter succeeds, the more nefarious actors will put effort into circumventing its systems.
This means that before Musk, the left’s favorite online watering hole still needed reform, and its users couldn’t just ask for things to continue as they always have. Investors and creditors would end up pulling the plug unless management demonstrates a fundamental shift on either the revenue side or the cost side of the ledger.
Analyzing Musk’s decision calculus is much more difficult because he is capricious and moody. Musk is also a world-class social media troll, possessing an uncanny ability to antagonize liberals for what appears to be nothing more than sadistic entertainment.
It’s unclear how interested he was ever in buying Twitter, or how much he wants to own it now, but the reality is that he’s become sole director. If he were to sell it now, it would lose a lot of value, and Musk has no interest in being a philanthropist for Twitter’s former owners or a potential new group of shareholders. This means that current left-wing Twitter users are stuck with Musk: either he makes it profitable, and they stay, or they leave (perhaps because it’s going bankrupt).
Likewise, as Musk is currently seeing advertisers reduce their commitments to the platform, the South African entrepreneur needs the existing user base if he wants the business to remain profitable, at least in the short term. . When he described Twitter as the town hall of the world, he implied that he didn’t want to lose awake users; he may want to board some new ones, but he wants this to turn into a right-wing tavern; after all, Reddit already has that corner covered.
So, despite mistaking each other, left-wing Twitter users and Musk are symbiotic, and they need to start communicating more effectively. Musk is right to look for ways to improve profitability because the existing model is unsustainable, but users on the left are right to strongly express their distaste for his policies because – for now – their participation is essential to the business survival.
The sensible way forward would be for the two parties to talk to each other seriously and as mutual partners who both want Twitter to succeed. Unfortunately, what we see is the opposite, as each side escalates and despises the other.
Musk’s fans might interpret his dismissive and heavy-handed approach as a shrewd method to grow the userbase: He wants to deliver a key message to right-wing users who have been put off by Twitter’s culture that the bluebird is opening its doors. to them too.
However, I fear that gives him too much credit, as the most obvious explanation is that he simply makes mistakes. He was obviously forced to buy Twitter by the threat of legal penalties after miscalculating when valuing the company for the purchase, nor did he imagine advertisers would cut spending on the platform. -form once it pissed off so many of its users.
Those calling for a move to another platform are also kidding themselves, as any scalable proposal will run into the same revenue and cost issues that Twitter currently faces. Additionally, elite users who have worked hard to develop tens of thousands of users will be inwardly extremely reluctant to start from scratch, even though they might thump their chests and give Braveheart-inspired battle cries.
As the end of 2022 approaches and critical issues such as the US midterm elections and the conflict in Ukraine continue to dominate the headlines, Musk and left-wing Twitter users would do well to heed the words of Martin Luther King Jr.: “Wars are poor scissors for cutting out peaceful tomorrows.
The opinions expressed by the authors in this section are their own and do not reflect the views of Al Arabiya English.