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Twitter of the Elon Musk era





"The bird is free", these are the words written by Elon Musk in tweet after buying the social network Twitter for 44 billion dollars. The South American-born US tycoon, who until now (in 2022) is the richest man in the world, completed the purchase on October 27, 2022. The purchase operation was very long and complex and began many months earlier, in April 2022, when Musk not only bought the majority of the shares (9.2% for a value of around 3 billion) but the board of administration has agreed to acquire the company for 44 billion. The negotiations and the acquisition stalled for some time due to some discussions on the platform, especially due to the number of fake accounts present. Eventually, the billionaire entrepreneur backtracked and finalized the acquisition.

the chaos of Musk's immediate firings

Soon after becoming the owner of the company Elon Musk fired a myriad of employees (about 50%) including all members of the board of directors. All this was a fear that was already present from the beginning of the whole purchase process and that is, from when Musk's interest in buying the company began to be rumored. It would seem that some employees have become aware of the layoff only by seeing their laptop reboot. Others have even been called back to the company after a layoff email sent by mistake. All this has led to a chaotic situation, as few people remember. These drastic business decisions were justified by Elon Musk with the claim of financial losses, as much as 4 million dollars a day for the blue bird.

the hypothetical reason for buying twitter

Taking into consideration the financial troubles in which twitter was stagnating - and probably still stagnates, one wonders the motivation for the purchase of Elon Musk. My opinion is that Musk's assets are so large that the purchase of twitter was almost like buying a hobby business, a bit like some entrepreneurs do in buying sports clubs (especially football) where many sometimes they lose out of their own pocket to keep the "carousel" going. What is certain is that twitter is something different from football, especially if we take into consideration that a social network of the caliber of twittering has enormous political and social weight, it is no coincidence that the suspension of Trump's account caused a sensation both in public opinion than to Trump himself, who no longer had the freedom to tweet. Furthermore, it must be taken into consideration that American scrooges always try to invest in the itech sector. Moreover, twitter was the only large social network (on the level of facebook) that did not have a single owner or a significant shareholder with the majority of shares such as Zuckerberg. In fact, Twitter was born thanks to a group of people of which the figure of Jack Dorsey stands out, who was the main creator of the platform.

the time and financial context of the acquisition of twitter

In reality, if we evaluate the economic situation in general, it can be said that after so many years the United States will enter one of its worst recessions, although not comparable (most likely) to that of 2007-2009. It is no coincidence that many high-tech giants have been forced to lay off. Facebook but also HP and other companies have fired tens of thousands of people. The recession forecast could be worse than average if the crisis situation persists. The causes of the crisis are rather obvious, at least as far as the United States is concerned: the war in Ukraine and the aftermath of the Covid of the previous two years. This is an atypical situation because while the other recessions depended largely on political-economic manoeuvres, this one derives exclusively from factors external to the West. The covid, for example, has put chip production in crisis because due to the lockdowns of the previous years, China was no longer able to export silicon with a consequent increase in both the raw material and the decrease in its availability. The war in Ukraine, on the other hand, marginally affects the country with stars and stripes, which can boast of a vast resource of energy materials such as gas and oil, as well as a massive production of cereals such as wheat.

the technical and sociological analysis of twitter

Returning specifically to the social network Twitter, a technical and social analysis could be made. Over the years the platform has changed more or less substantially, as often happens for all platforms. The most important and significant change was certainly the change in the limit on the number of characters for each individual twitter: currently the number of characters is 280 while originally (until 2016) it was 140. The particularity and originality of the bird blue was precisely the brevity of the messages that have always distinguished the social network as a microblogging. In truth, however, the update to 280 characters was a fundamental step in being able to write discreetly discursive messages. Today Twitter is mainly used by relevant personalities and differs from platforms such as facebook and instagram because it has an instantaneous communication approach; a tweet about a timely event (such as an earthquake or other lightning news) can be read by anyone after a few seconds by searching by keywords or tags. This is actually a peculiarity, and twitter is very unlikely to be used for direct influencer purposes. However, there is no shortage of sinister purposes such as the creation of fake accounts to get more followers or to divert the trend of some topics.

a few dots of Musk: blue checks and censorship

Another peculiarity of twitter is its predisposition to find posts based on the hashtag... In fact, Facebook prefers the circle of friends rather than hashtags. In any case, Elon Musk immediately made clear his intentions to switch platforms. Its main intention is to make users pay for the blue check that distinguishes verified profiles and which generally coincides with successful profiles or well-known personalities. Probably, with the payment of a monthly fee, everyone would be able to get the famous blue check. Here too the reason is almost certainly economic: according to the most recent estimates, Twitter has about 400,000 verified users. If they each shelled out $8 a month, the company would make over $38 million a year. Finally, in the last weeks of November files were released on twitter according to which twitter has always censored some posts over the years, even those concerning twitter's own rules. Musk would like to almost completely eliminate the censorship of posts, thus allowing greater freedom of thought (obviously, however, always believing that verbal violence and threats constitute a crime)