Elon Musk is a digital citizen

What if one of the world’s most important tools for information was to own an extraordinary billionaire who could do whatever he wanted with it?

Yes, I’m talking about Elon Musk’s proposal to buy Twitter for himself, which he revealed on Thursday. His offer comes in at more than $ 43 billion, which is a lot of money, though for Musk, the chief executive of Tesla and the owner of SpaceX. (Musk’s letter to Twitter to buy stated that his purchase condition would be to seek help with acquisition payments. It was not stated where the money would come from.)

Will Musk actually have the cash and attention to implement his proposed acquisition, and would Twitter say? Who knows? The word “unexpected” doesn’t do it right at the moment. We’re already in week 2 of Musk and Twitter’s very public and rocky romance, and it could be more wonderful to be there.

But imagine that Musk eventually buys Twitter from the stockholders who own it today. The closest competition could be that of 19th-century newspapers such as William Randolph Hearst, Joseph Pulitzer and the legendary Charles Foster Kane, who used their papers to advance their personal agendas, sensationalize world events, and persecute their enemies. Did.

We don’t really have the digital age Citizen, but Musk can be it. And the global impact of Twitter is reasonably large and more powerful than any Hearst newspaper of its day.

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“He is going to return to the press barn ‘Citizen Kinney’ by using newspaper articles to promote his favorite causes,” Eric Gordon, a professor at the University of Michigan’s Business School, told me.

Musk’s favorite idea is to use Twitter as a way that he uses Twitter: No interruptions. He imagines a social network, by him, in a paradigm of expression without ideological boundaries.

This is basically the same pitch that former President Donald Trump has for his app, True Social. Many other social media sites also promise to create Internet meetings without the need for arbitrary rules applied by companies Twitter, Google and Facebook. But these sites are relatively small and unimportant compared to Twitter.

Musk’s suggested Twitter purchase, then, is the equivalent of a real-world experience in a parallel social media app, without restrictions on what people can do or say. I have no idea what this will look like when applied.

True society does not allow absolute free expression. Few people want their social media feeds to be flooded with spam ads – cryptocurrency, terrorist planet Earth or harassing children. No one is sure what a twitter is that is unresponsive but just like a smile. (An interesting question: Will Mr Trump’s Twitter account be restored?)

I’m also wondering what Musk really wants For the owner of Twitter. It’s fun to imagine what you would do if you were a Twitter boss, but it’s not so fun to actually be a Twitter boss. See Mark Zuckerberg running Facebook. This guy doesn’t seem to be having fun.

“My guess is that Musk is capable of singing to Twitter about what to do and what he really doesn’t care about,” Bloomberg opinion writer Matt Lewin said in a superb column on Tuesday.

If Twitter was just a matter of ownership, it would not have to worry about stock prices or shareholder demand, as Zuckerberg does. But that does not mean that the musk is free from irritation.

When you own a powerful internet site, you may receive threats from the Russian government that your employees should be imprisoned on posts they do not like or that a family member may ask for a stalker. Allowing them to be persecuted in private messages. Musk might not want to deal with the ugly details of owning a global influence tool, but he would have no choice if he was the sole owner of Twitter.

I wish we could save a small pity for the Twitter staff and directors. They are in an impossible situation. (The company says its board will “carefully review” Musk’s proposal and decide what it believes is in the best interests of Twitter and its stockholders.)

Twitter’s Board of Directors may be pleased with Musk’s offer, and he may decide not to make the most of his money, time, and energy by buying cash to buy Twitter and turning it into an imagined free speech space. Is the Then, Twitter will have a weird acquisition offer, the company’s share price will most likely tank, and angry stockholders will probably make a case across the board.

The board of Twitter can’t put a smile on the theory that the company has a long-term plan that will make it more valuable that Musk is offering. In this case, Musk said, he might sell billions of dollars in Twitter shares that he recently bought. Twitter stock prices will most likely tank, and angry stockholders may sue across the board.

Parag Aggarwal, the relatively new chief executive of Twitter, may prefer to nail his toes instead of dealing with the week’s nasty drama at Musk. Maybe it’s not good for Musk, either, or continuing to indulge in the dark drama on Twitter – though … well, that’s what he does in his spare time.

What if he gets the musket he thinks he wants? I won’t spoil the movie “Citizen Kane” if you haven’t, but here’s the short version: Kane achieved his wildest dreams, and he was miserable.

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