The Drama Goes Up to 11

Musk’s takeover of Twitter has certainly been something to watch. Within his first few days as owner, he was spreading conspiracy theories. On October 28th, Musk tweeted:

Twitter will be forming a content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints. No major content decisions or account reinstatements will happen before that council convenes.

Tweet dated October 28th, 2022 1:18pm CST

I’m not able to find any evidence this council has been convened and Musk has not tweeted about it since November 1st, where he referred to it in the future tense (“Twitter’s content moderation council will include…”). And yet, just two days ago he tweeted a poll stating simply “Reinstate President Trump” with Yes and No options. After two days of this highly unscientific poll, the Yeses had it and Musk declared Trump’s Twitter account would be reinstated. So much for that content moderation council, eh, Musky? By the way, when I say the poll was highly unscientific, that’s because it wasn’t sent to all Twitter users, it was tweeted from Musk’s personal account and shared across twitter via retweets. Media reports earlier in the year report his percentage of fake (aka bot) followers in the range of 1/4 to 1/2 and currently audience analytics site SparkToro reports his fake followers at 70.2%. Who know how many votes were from bot accounts and how much they spread the poll to those with certain ideologies?

Screen shot showing Elon Musk's fake follower account is 70.2% or 81,423,809 followers.
Musk’s fake follower count is 70.2%, over 81 million followers. Retrieved on November 20th from SparkToro.

At first I thought he was destroying Twitter either through ignorance or spite, but a new picture is starting to come into focus. It looks like he’s trying to stir up drama and controversy to drive more engagement on the platform. People (myself included) love to share and complain about things that we don’t like, which means many of us are complaining about Musk on Twitter, and will now be complaining about (and probably sharing awful tweets from) Trump. Advertisers which had been shying may start to salivate over the numbers. We know corporations generally have little (to no) moral compass and make most decisions based on the bottom line. If they feel the ad exposures outweigh the possible negative consequences of having their content juxtaposed with racism, homophobia, misogyny and misinformation, they’ll jump right back on that bandwagon.

So I’m not to the point of abandoning or boycotting Twitter, I’m limiting my use and I’m going to try to resist the urge to share or dogpile the stupid shit I see on there. You may notice this blog post contains no links to Twitter Dot Com and that’s intentional. I encourage like-minded folks to resist taking the bait. You don’t have to abandon the platform altogether, but don’t give Musk the rage-engagement and senseless arguments he seems to want. And as an evergreen reminder, don’t feed the trolls.


And Then There Was One

Trump holding up hands with tiny fingers
Photo credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Someone pinch me, I think I’m dreaming! It can’t really be that Donald Trump is the Republican nominee for president, can it?

Ted Cruz “suspended his campaign” (the term generally used for dropping out) last night, after losing the Indiana primary to Trump by a large margin. Last night one of John Kasich’s senior staff (I forget which, will update if I find it) was saying he would stay in, but today the reports are that Kasich will suspend his campaign, leaving Trump as the last man standing from a previously enormous Republican field and the GOP nominee.

OK, I should say “presumptive” nominee. I guess there could still be some shenanigans during the convention. And the Donald could also announce that he was just fucking with us this whole time, and that we’re a bunch of morons and drop the mic. Wouldn’t that turn some people’s world upside down?

Ladies and gentlemen, all this time I have been playing a character. A loud-mouthed, lying, racist, misogynist with no real qualifications for the job, to be exact. I never thought it would get this far, but Americans are more stupid than I would have ever believed! As my character would say, ‘What a bunch of losers!’ I suggest all the Trump 2016 supporters take some time to reflect on what they were really supporting, and who they are. And our leaders, especially those in the Republican party, should think long and hard about how they helped create an environment in which Donald Trump the character could come so far. Let this serve as a wake-up call.

With that, I am suspending my campaign to be the Republican nominee for president. Good luck, and God bless America.

Oh, I wish!

Some day there will be books written with various opinions on how exactly we got here, but for now we need to just focus on how to avert disaster.

Still digesting all this. You can expect more blogging on the election to come.