Sunday, December 18, 2022

Twitter Management

"No one wants the job who can actually keep Twitter alive. There is no successor."

Everything Elon has done is what I would do if I weren't aware of the lord/peasant distinction and believed in free speech. Twitter would run as well under me as under Musk, if not somewhat better. (I understand his principles better than he does, ref: ideological turing test.)

So yeah, you're right: I don't want the job.

The first problem is Twitter has to be subsidized. It is not a profitable company. He who pays the piper: if you have the government pay for Twitter, then you're not going to be allowed to make anti-government tweets, duh. (They could save a lot of money by subsidizing it openly and thus not having to do this weird scandalous runaround backdoor system for persecuting lese majeste. Just nationalize the joint.)

To change Twitter into a profitable product, you have to make radical changes.

1. A sleazy den of crime and villainy. Every other account is a porn account and the rest are scams or malware vectors. Grey market. The kind of ads you get for "free" streaming services and videogame cheat sites. It is not some weird coincidence that 4chan is a unpleasant place to visit.

2. Fuck free speech; paid speech. You have a tweet account and every tweet costs money, to pay for hosting and development. Imagine having to use Patreon revenue to bootstrap a Twitter account. 

Patreon is an obvious example because the other major option is personal patronage. If you're a real genius you could work out how to revive the art patronage system as applied to specifically Twitter, to allow it to remain a money-pit. 

I suppose that's the thing. "Okay, Twitter has to be paid. Tweets are not products, they are costs. If you want a public square then you need to find rich people willing to sponsor regular voters' accounts. Who's rich and likes free speech?" Of course, with individuality comes responsibility, and with responsibility comes discipline. The spam and "hate" speech issues will solve themselves organically. Anonymity can be up to individual sponsors. 

Hah, like there's "insurance" which now replaces doctors working pro bono, perhaps there would be speech "insurance" allowing poor voters to tweet. 

For emphasis: "free" speech is not a thing the same way a free lunch is not a thing. Style guide: always say subsidized speech. If you want subsidized speech, then step 1 is to figure out who you plan to get subsidies from.


The second problem is that the true obvious solution is to give Twitter back to the government. Doing anything else is an assassination risk. Why would anyone competent choose to accept an assassination risk as the cost of attempting to square a circle? 

Absent the assassination risk I would 100% be on board with running Twitter as a challenge run. Elon sleeps there? You can only afford to pay me room/board/utilities? Works for me. Insist on egalitarian free-speech policies as a hiring condition? I can do that. The cost is that I would explicitly publish the restrictions my run labours under. (Just because my blog is never diplomatic doesn't mean I can't be diplomatic.) When I'm not allowed to do the obvious thing because it's inegalitarian or e.g. disprivileges false speech, I'm going to publicly note as such.

The third problem is that, of course, I'm an outsider. Lots of folk could run Twitter, but Elon thinks we're too icky to even consider. Haha, oops. Kind of the core problem. America has made it illegal to hire for competence. If it exists it has to stealth in through the back door.
And what self-respecting lord is going to submit to that?

No comments: