Elon Musk, the richest man on Earth and maybe in space, has gotten the okay to buy Twitter, one of the most influential social media platforms in the universe. Not a bad idea if you want to make sure you have the last word on any press you get and have $44 billion to spare. Reports this morning say he sold $4B of his Tesla stock just this week—I guess it’s the usual 10% down with 90% financing. Sounds like a first-time homeowner program for billionaires.
This should be interesting to watch. There’s already been some blowback from people fearing that Musk—a self-proclaimed defender of free speech—won’t be able to rein in misinformation. Some celebrities have quit the platform out of fear it will become the Wild West. Meanwhile, conservative media personalities including Tucker Carlson and Mark Levin have announced they’re coming back.
Regardless of who stays and who goes, the acquisition is another sign of how tech entrepreneurs are playing an ever-greater role in what our daily lives look like. Musk has said he opposes permanent bans on users. That could have major implications, given some of the bans in place now, including the one on former President Trump.
Will Twitter step into line with other social media platforms that are actively looking for ways to root out hate speech and the like? That remains to be seen. But the public, thanks to two years of living life digitally, is now more informed than ever about tech and its impacts, and is likely to pay close attention to whatever Musk allows or doesn’t allow—and to tweet about anything they don’t like.
As a CEO, I do understand the fascination of billionaires like Musk and Jeff Bezos, who owns the Washington Post, with owning media companies. They want to either control or significantly influence the medium, if not the message, and they’re willing to put a stake in the ground and say what they think. In Musk’s case, he could burn the $44B and still have another $200B or so left, so it’s not about the money.
This blog started as an experiment, but almost ten years into it, I find there is nothing like it when it comes to sharing what’s on my mind with clients and associates. I’ve gotten to know many of you through the responses that arrive in my inbox, and I truly appreciate every message I receive, even when you disagree with me or take me to task.
Marcum is an active participant in all of the major social media channels. We have no axe to grind. It’s just another way to keep in touch with our friends—both current and future. I hope you’ll connect with us on your platforms of choice, too.
On another note, Monday marks the ending of Ramadan. To those of you who observe, Eid Mubarak.