I’m not very savvy when it comes to social media, but I do quite enjoy Twitter and as a big Tesla and Space X fan, I respect much of what Elon Musk has professionally accomplished. Here are my thoughts on Musk and Twitter, especially as it pertains to travel blogging.
Elon Musk, Twitter, And Travel Blogging
Musk is a visionary, the Howard Hughes of our day. Eccentric indeed, but the sort of dreamer that has great potential and has already done so much good (just ask Ukraine about Starlink). Now comes a test for Musk, though. Will he torpedo Twitter or make it a more robust marketplace of exchange?
I’m not going to wade directly into the political debate. I did see that United Airlines and others have pulled advertising from Twitter and I note the controversy behind the mass firing of so many employees, despite Twitter being unprofitable. I will not directly address the former President returning to Twitter.
Practically, though, I do hope some changes are implemented.
First, I am still wondering why my post was censored concerning the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Twitter’s deplorable ministry of information team never responded to my multiple inquiries seeking justification and explanation for my suspension. Ideas should be freely expressed, even if some deem them violent or offensive. In the marketplace of ideas, truth can be overshadowed by lies, but that is the risk we take that is far better than an oligarchy determining which viewpoints are valid.
Practically, one tool to avoid bots and other agents who auto-post on Twitter with malicious intent is to limit the number of tweets per hour, say anywhere from 5-10. That diminishes the ability of bots to post hundreds or even thousands of times per hour.
Second, I do welcome the proposed change on verifying accounts (the blue checkmark). Up until 2019, it was easy to verify your account with the submission of photo ID and other verifying credentials. I do not like the current arbitrary system of determining which accounts are “noteworthy” and not really offering clear metrics on which accounts are worthy of a checkmark. The blue checkmark should represent a “real” account, not just those that Twitter feels are worthy. It matters because blue checkmarks absolutely carry more credibility than a non-verified account (and I think that is less the case on Instagram or Facebook).
What are bloggers? They are not journalists (at least I do not claim to be one) and yet we are often newsmakers, with blogs breaking stories and mainstream outlets covering them later (sometimes giving us credit, but often not). Blogging serves an important niche and nicely encapsulates our new Information Age. While there are distinct drawbacks to everyone having a platform and folks being able to retreat to their corners of the internet for highly-filtered information, I will continue to use Twitter because I like the format and the premise of exchanging ideas in a pithy, concise manner.
I wish Elon Musk all the best at Twitter. He has a got a big job ahead of him and his draconian changes may well backfire and destroy much of the value of the platform. I hope that is not the case. Twitter, like other social media platforms, is a two-edged sword, with the potential for great good and great harm. I will not walk away because Twitter is a pathway to Live and Let’s Fly for many readers. But let’s hope that Twitter does not soon resemble to UK Daily Mail comments section…