Count me as one who will be sorry to see Twitter ruined

Elon Musk has begun fucking around with Twitter in serious ways:

Members of billionaire Elon Musk’s inner circle huddled with Twitter’s remaining senior executives throughout the weekend, conducting detailed discussions regarding the site’s approach to content moderation and spam, as well as plans to lay off 25 percent of the workforce to start.

Alex Spiro, a well-known celebrity lawyer who has represented Musk for several years, led those conversations. Spiro is taking an active role in managing several teams at Twitter, including legal, government relations, policy and marketing, according to four people familiar with the discussions who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe them, as well as tweets from some of the people involved.

Longtime Musk associates David Sacks and Jason Calacanis appeared in a company directory over the weekend, according to photos obtained by The Washington Post. Both had official company emails and their titles were “staff software engineer.” Musk’s title in the directory was CEO, although that position has not been publicly announced. He refers to himself as “Chief Twit.”

Twenty-five percent of a 7,000-person workforce is a lot of people in a company so heavily dependent on highly skilled humans. Reports are that there is much dead wood at Twitter in certain departments, but these cuts are said to be across-the-board.

Aside from his inability to keep his mouth shut and his totally erroneous belief that he is much better at everything than he is, I am presuming at this point that Musk’s drive to cut to the bone will be just one more way that he will ruin Twitter.

I should note that I do not hate Twitter. To the contrary.

I hesitate to bail on Twitter because I’m one of those people who finds Twitter, as it is currently constituted, to be highly useful.

How do I find it useful despite the many ways it drives me nuts on day-to-day basis?

New York Times writer David Carr’s words from way back in 2010 (!!) still ring true to me:

“The history of the Internet suggests that there have been cool Web sites that go in and out of fashion and then there have been open standards that become plumbing,” said Steven Johnson, the author and technology observer who wrote a seminal piece about Twitter for Time last June. “Twitter is looking more and more like plumbing, and plumbing is eternal.”

Really? What could anyone possibly find useful in this cacophony of short-burst communication?

Well, that depends on whom you ask, but more importantly whom you follow. On Twitter, anyone may follow anyone, but there is very little expectation of reciprocity. By carefully curating the people you follow, Twitter becomes an always-on data stream from really bright people in their respective fields, whose tweets are often full of links to incredibly vital, timely information.

After you learn how to use Twitter, if you are serious about using it to learn from reliable sources things you did not know before, nothing else really compares to it. Because smart people use Twitter to share links, not pictures of their food. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) And if you follow enough smart people, they will lead you to interesting articles and books on a regular basis.

Alas, I fear it will all change soon, and I will be following the exodus out the door. I even managed to download my account history last weekend. Just in case.

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