There is Nero in Elon Musk. In the year 64, the Roman emperor admired the burning of Rome – the origin of which legend attributes to it – by declaiming verses. Today, the boss of Tesla and SpaceX tweets frantically on the social network which he has owned for less than a month, and which is undoubtedly experiencing the biggest crisis of its existence (the social network has existed since 2006). At the risk of seeing Twitter disappear? This Friday, November 18, 2022, users of the micro-blogging site placed the hashtag #RIPTwitter as the trend of the day, and discussions are going well on the chronicle of a death announced for the blue bird.
One “Revolutionary Twitter 2.0”
Everything has been racing since Elon Musk decided to practice ultimatum management. In an email reported by the washington post then relayed by Reuters, the multi-billionaire asked his salaries to decide between two options. Either work for the social network during “long hours at high intensity” ; or leave, with severance pay equivalent to three months’ salary. And to choose, you had to click or not on the link “you want to be part of the new Twitter” !
Musk’s goal: to build a “Revolutionary Twitter 2.0” and “succeed in an increasingly competitive world”which according to him will only work by being “extremely hardcore”. “It will mean long hours at high intensity. Only exceptional performance will be a criteria for passing.” At the end of this ultimatum, hundreds of people have chosen to resign, reports this Friday, November 18, 2022 the American press. But about half of the company’s 7,500 employees had already been fired by Musk last week. Is the blue bird in danger of becoming a headless duck? Deprived of its gray matter, can Twitter continue to function? Rebellious, Musk wanted to respond to these concerns with this tweet: “And…we just hit a new peak in Twitter usage, lol”.
And … we just hit another all-time high in Twitter usage lol
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 18, 2022
“The best stay, so I don’t worry too much”
Elon Musk seems to want to put engineers from Tesla at the helm of Twitter. Called to testify before a court in the State of Delaware (to defend himself from accusations that his annual objectives at Tesla, justifying a remuneration of 56 billion dollars, were too simple to achieve), he also indicated that he wanted to provide his social network of a new leader, explaining according to Reuters : “There was a burst of activity in the wake of the acquisition (of Twitter) in order to reorganize the group, (…) but I expect to spend less time at Twitter.” But the engineers are not interchangeable, Musk seems well acquired in the fact that there are, at Twitter, “key people” of which the company cannot deprive itself: the New York Times reports that meetings were held with these employees to convince them to stay with the company. In a message with quite Muskian subtlety, the new boss also explained that “the best stay, so I don’t worry too much”.
Moral of the story ? Will users migrate to Mastodon? It is too early to tell. One thing is certain: the success of social networks is based on an attention economy. In this respect, the acquisition of Twitter by Musk is a success, since we will never have talked so much about the network. Besides, the main subject of conversations on Twitter is Twitter.