Twitter is dying. Elon is trying to kill Twitter. I bet you’ve heard a million versions of this. Everyone is talking about Twitter on Twitter.
Elon officially bought Twitter on October 28th, and since then, the company and the platform have created a ton of chaos. Elon laid off thousands of employees, launched a new verification badge (Twitter Blue), fired employees who called him out on Twitter, and sent a ton of memes.
All the doom and gloom on Twitter is overplayed. It is hard to see many jobs cut, and to see everyone impacted, especially in this economy, isn’t easy. But Elon isn’t the only one laying off large amounts of staff. Amazon, Meta (Facebook), Uber, Airbnb, and dozens of other companies are laying off thousands of employees.
Right now, Twitter is in dire straights. The company was mulling laying off 25% of the workforce before Elon started this purchase. The company was losing $4m a day as a public company. The platform had a moderation and bot problem. The outside world is looking at the platform that has a major impact on speech and journalism. Everyone is wondering what Elon will do to it.
I think Elon will improve Twitter, but mostly, he will make it more fun. See the tweet as an example:
What will happen?
Twitter needs to make money. Elon needs to ensure he can pay the bills and keep everyone employed, and he cannot afford to keep losing millions of dollars each day. Turning to a subscription model makes sense.
Advertising is becoming increasingly hard on social media. If you are not doing brand marketing, you want conversions, and Apple’s iOS 15 privacy updates have significantly impacted tracking. Meta’s earnings show performative marketing isn’t working as effectively as before. This means advertisers are pulling back and looking to shift to other marketing methods they can measure. The only platform still able to track is Google, which can capture consumers’ intent. This is impacting Twitter which is the majority brand marketing, and with the impersonations and chaos, many brands are pulling back on ad spend.
I think Twitter will keep making mistakes over the next year. Elon is shaking up a platform that has been slow to move, criticized for not launching new features, and never consistent with its moderation policy. I don’t think it’s going to die. Look at Tumblr – everyone, from Verizon to Yahoo, tried to kill it. Now Automattic is the owner of the popular microblogging platform, which hopes to turn the platform around and breathe new life into the app. Elon is doing the same thing. He’s breathing new life into Twitter. He’s a power user and knows the platform. Many of the execs before didn’t tweet and didn’t use the app daily.
I am rooting for Elon. Everyone bet against him on Tesla and his other ventures, and I think betting against him isn’t the game plan here.