The bloggers, industry commentators and YouTubers have been harsh, mostly reporting on everything Elon has done as if it's a trashy soap opera.
I've been with Twitter for more years than I care to remember, I've gone through phases of consuming and posting more than I should, and on the flip side ignoring it for weeks on end. One thing I loved about the platform in its infancy was how it felt "open"...
Yes, I know it's a private company with its own financial goals but it had a very open API which allowed any competent developer to write a client, 5 or 6 years ago there was an abundance of Twitter clients much better than its own offering. Twitterific, TweetBot and the original TweetDeck pushed the innovation for social media interfaces and provided a much better experience and this is arguably what helped Twitter become such a big platform in a relatively short amount of time. Alas, thanks to Twitter deciding to massively restrict what the API could do, these apps either don't exist anymore or are so cut down that there's little point in using them.
Even the simple task of programmatically finding out how many people follow you can only be achieved with semi-complex programming... You can't even scrap the HTML to find this information. So to say that Twitter is no longer open feels like an understatement
For years it has felt that there has been very little in the way of development. Sure, the introduction of timeline algorithms and adverts has been really the only new "features". We have been told for years that it wasn't really possible to add the edit button that everyone wanted. This, despite having hundreds if not thousands of technical staff who surely could make it happen.
Fast forward to the current day, and how Elon has handled the takeover. Yes, he has come into the company with a gung-ho attitude but I really can't fault his principles.
One of the criticisms is how he has handled staff, within days of becoming CEO he sacked half the company and pushed conditions on others. I've already pointed out in another post that the quality of the developers there didn't seem to live up to the salaries that they are commanding so it must have been frustrating to go into the company you now own realising that the value you are getting from your staff feels negligible.
What is he commanding of his staff? He wants Hard work, time and commitment to make something great, a handful of committed developers and creatives are better than 100s of average staff just there to take a six-figure salary while having a simple life... He'd also like them to work from the office more like they used to and pay for their own lunches, after all, they are getting a San Fransisco salary, they should be able to afford it... I'd do the same if I was in his shoes, just maybe not as aggressive and public as he has, but that's the way he's always worked.
From an outsider's point of view, it feels like he's trying to pull back the vibe at Twitter HQ to one more akin to a start-up. An exciting time when people work hard and are invested (emotionally or financially) in the company they work for. I'm sure those that step up to the mark will be compensated heavily in relation to the work they put in because Elon seems that sort of manager... The big shots seem to stay at his companies, at least until they contradict him on the social media platform he owns 😏
Above everything else, his priority is to make money, but the guy is all about innovation also, just look at what he's achieved in the world of electronic payments with bankx.com, later to become Paypal and then there's disrupting the fledgling electric car industry with Tesla, even rushing headlong into space exploration... Elon is the epitome of innovation and that excites me about what he has in store for the future of Twitter. I'm not defecting to Mastadon any time soon 😊
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Date: 25 Nov 2022
Author: Craig Pickles (YorkshireTechy)