Twitter's last few months, in review

Originally published at: Twitter's last few months, in review | Boing Boing


That’s a generous take. Or maybe it’s that his toxicity is directly impacting the companies he weaseled his way into. Or maybe it’s that he forced the engineers to compromise safety to substantiate his “fully self-driving” lies. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s because this is all made up funny money that doesn’t exist in any tangible way except in the minds of Wall Street speculators.

Anyway, you love to see it.


Ah, a slow learner.


“I was writing C programs in the '90s,”

“Hello World”, followed by one that rescursively scrolled his name down the screen. That second one no doubt appealed to him so much he considered it the apex of his coding career.


All these anecdotes vividly paint the picture of a guy who doesn’t seem to be good at anything - not the technical side, not the organizational side, not the human interaction side. A guy who fundamentally doesn’t understand what Twitter is, nor does he have any real vision of what he thinks it should be.

All the talk of Musk and his advisors coming in to meet with people after taking over reminded me of stories of the transition to the Trump administration - a bunch of people showed up for briefings, were clearly bored and didn’t make an effort, were out of their depth and didn’t understand anything they were told, and generally represented a new regime that only accidentally ended up in power and really didn’t want to be there.

I was amused by my impression from the article that it sounds like a lot of the more right-wing Twitter workers who cheered Musk buying the company ended up getting laid off, which means the people who are left don’t really want to be there - the number of Musk fanboys is quite low among the workers, anyways. That just seems like yet another warning sign for the future of the company.

Given the rest of the article, I felt like that was said with a certain amount of… irony.


“I was writing C programs in the '90s,” he said dismissively. “I understand how ­computers work.”

This is so laughable. I used to build computers and sell computer components in the 90s. I was on top of all of the tech details. I knew more than the people selling me stuff from the distribution center. I knew which RAM was fastest, which CPU was the best value, which mother board to skip due to failure rates. Wanted a gaming machine? I knew which video cards to get.

There is no way in HELL I would know where to start if I built my own PC today. Sure sure, most of the components are similar, cards and chips into slots with wires and fans and CPUs. But I have no idea on the different form factors, types of RAM, what makes a good video card good today, fancy cooling systems and lights, etc etc. I’d have to basically re-learn everything because so much as changed.

His statement is basically admitting to the Dunning-Kruger effect.


He’s good at one thing (beyond being born into an affluent family). Quoting myself:

The problem for these types, if they’re incapable of genuine humility, is that they’re quickly exposed as frauds when they come into contact with experts who actually know what they’re talking about and who (unlike the true believers and fanbois) aren’t easily taken in by charisma. If those experts are mistreated they’re going to talk, and promoter’s talent hits a wall.

That’s the result of Musk’s stupid and impulsive decision to buy Twitter: his reputation as a genius has now been decimated as much as his net worth has.


Admitting to it? He was Dunning all kinds of Krugers back in the 90s. He understands how effects work.


At one point he said that Twitter should be an “super-app” that does everything, like WeChat in China. When an employee made the mistake of asking about that very clear vision of what Twitter should be, he dismissed it as if it wasn’t his idea in the first place.

As employees peppered him with questions, the billionaire free-associated, answering their concerns with smug dismissals and grandiose promises. What about his plan to turn Twitter from a mere social network into a super-app? “You’re not getting it, you’re not understanding,” he said, sounding frustrated. “I just used WeChat as an example. We can’t freakin’ clone WeChat; that would be absurd.”


In some ways, Musk was vindicated. Twitter was less stable now, but the platform survived and mostly functioned even with the majority of employees gone. He had promised to rightsize a bloated company, and now it operated on minimal head count.

But Musk appears unaware of what he’s actually broken: the company culture that built Twitter into one of the world’s most influential social networks, the policies that attempted to keep that platform safe, and the trust of users who populate it every day with their conversations, breaking news, and weird jokes — Twitter’s true value and contributions to the world.

It’s been some wild times, no doubt, and I wouldn’t suggest my point of view to be universally applicable, but it seems to me that Twitter’s not so different than it was a few months ago. Some of my favorite accounts have gone silent – I miss Foone, but not enough to wander over to Mastodon every day, or at least not yet. There’s still enough amusing content.

'Course, that may change.


… isn’t that illegal in 27 states? /sarcasm,silly


When Musk announced he was buying the company, one of the more active i-­dissenters was thrilled. “Elon’s my new boss and I’m stoked!” he wrote on Linked­In. “I decided to send him a slack message. I figured you miss 100% of the shots you don’t make :sweat_smile: :rocket: :full_moon:

This employee was cut during the first round of layoffs. Soon, all the prominent members of the #i-dissent Slack channel would be gone

Be careful what you wish for.

Also, don’t be a fawning idiot.

What I gathered from this article is a lot of what I already suspected: Elon was hyper focused on turning Twitter into some grandiose new super-Twitter overnight, believing that would quickly make it super-profitable. Except his “move fast, break things” attitude broke Twitter and destroyed its profitability and a lot of his personal wealth to boot.


It’s amazing that Musk has managed to avoid public contact with the kinds of experts who can expose him, long enough to build up this unwarranted mystique around himself. That just seems to have been luck more than anything.

I’m reminded of that Mitchell and Webb skit where someone is trying to explain what they want, saying, “it should be exactly that, only… not that.” Except it’s even worse, as someone was basically asking him for clarification on his stated vision for Twitter and all he could do was get upset with them for asking, essentially implying they’re all idiots for not understanding what he means. Because, clearly, he doesn’t know what he means.


Looks like there’s a reason afterall for why you take everything but the kitchen sink, because once you let that sink in you end up sinking the ship.

Thank you my job is done here. [Drops phone that has the mic]


Scientists announce cheap, repeatable, reliable absolute-0 temperatures: Elon Musk’s brain.

“There’s absolutely nothing going on in there,” an eminent researcher remarked. “Not a single atom moving or impulse firing. This will become an absolute boon for materials research.”


Yet very legal in the other 23! :exploding_head:

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I don’t think the problem is that Musk has been too busy with Twitter to run Tesla; if anything his absence is probably the best thing for the car company.

The problem is that the Twitter debacle showed the world what an incompetent ass Elon Musk is, thus shattering the “Elon Musk: World-Rocking Tech Genius” myth that was instrumental to Tesla becoming so overvalued in the first place.


My assumption is that most of the prominent members of that channel were low performers. Not because of technical skills of anything like that, but because their attitude and resistance to the Twitter corporate culture ensured that no one wanted to, or enjoyed, working with them. So when the new, Savage Kingdom period of twitter began anyone looking at their past performance would see that they did not accomplish much in the past and they were out

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But that assumes an objectivity which did not exist. Their article relates:

The botched code review did little to deter the Goons, who still needed to figure out which of Twitter’s 7,500 employees were needed to keep the site running — and who could be jettisoned. At ten that same night, they told managers they should “stack rank” their teams, a common but cold method of evaluation that forces managers to designate their lowest performers.

Amir Shevat, who managed Twitter’s developer platform and had led large teams at Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, was perplexed. Every company did stack ­ranking differently. Should they sort ­workers by seniority? Impact? Revenue generated? No one had an answer. “They said, ‘We don’t know. Elon wants a stack rank,’ ” Shevat says.


I guess I am suggesting that because there was no real criteria in place they may have been let go because their managers personally felt they were not good team players. They might have turned out to be exactly what was desired in the Savage Kingdom, but because the criteria were nonexistent they did not get retained due to their assholery. There are always people like that in companies and I could see managers taking advantage to get rid of people they felt were squeaky wheels. It doesn’t sound like the goons were making these decisions, it was existing Twitter managers.