Not my first rodeo

Aren’t we all sick of talking about the bird app and its piss-baby spoiled brat owner? Last night, he posted this:

“I’ll take “The Least Self-Aware People in History” for $200, Ken.”

One of my listeners is trying to get me to go back to the bird app. My listener says “Musk may be stepping back.”

Yeah, sure, because the banks and his other investors — including the always patient and gentle Saudi Arabian royal family — are worried that Elmo is pouring $44 billion down the drain, along with a substantial part of Tesla.

If and when Elmo steps down as Twitter’s CEO, one of the leading candidates to replace him is Jason Calacanis. Calacanis is a close friend of Musk’s, as well as other Silicon Valley tech-bro billionaires.

His name is one of those in Jeffrey Epstein’s little black book and he’s admitted to being friends with Ghislaine Maxwell. He also helped fund the recall election that replaced San Francisco’s district attorney. I suspect Calacanis leans libertarian and he would do exactly the same things at Twitter that Musk has done — just with less drama.

I could be wrong, but it sounds like a case of different clown, same circus.

Although I don’t have a big Twitter following, I really like the people who followed me. (If I didn’t, I felt free to block them.) Nevertheless, after seven years of posting on a daily basis — usually several times a day — I had about 700 followers.

For all of that content, I don’t think I picked up any listeners to my show or any donors to either radio station where my show is heard.

So what was the point?

Next question: Do I really want to spend the next seven years on Mastodon or Post, writing free content for 700 followers, knowing full well that either service may get sold to a whacko or simply shut down?

This is not my first time at the rodeo. I’ve been on the Internet for a long time now. Long enough to have been there when the Web was barely a twinkle in Tim Berners-Lee’s eyes. I cut my teeth using dial-up modems and posting on Usenet groups and bulletin-boards in 1992 and 1993.

I remember having a free email account from Lycos (remember Lycos?) that I was using to collect my notes while writing a book. I took a break for a few months, logged back into the Lycos email … and all of my messages were gone.

I emailed the help address in a panic. “We changed the terms of service,” they said. “You have to log in every 90 days now, or else we delete all of the messages to save space.” Could I get my messages back? Ha-ha, uh, no.

Things haven’t really changed much since then. All of these social media apps exist at the whims of giant corporations or, in Twitter’s case, a cranky middle-aged billionaire with a bunch of axes to grind.

Twitter had a good run, and I frankly think that inertia will keep it alive for a long time — Lycos still technically exists as a search portal — but I think in terms of the community that people had built there, it’s mortally wounded. Once you break trust with your customers, it’s damned hard to get them back.

And I think a big question for anyone who wants to simply re-create Twitter or Facebook is, why bother?

Facebook and Twitter were products that came onto the market in the right place (smartphones) and the right time (when they first became affordable, in the mid-2000s). Both companies are mature businesses now, in more ways than one — young people, by and large, are not using them. (If you’re an advertiser trying to reach people under 45, the demographics on Facebook, in particular, are terrible.)

If I want to simply write free content and amuse myself and my friends, I can do that here, in a controlled space. Based on the number of views my Facebook and Twitter posts get, I’m not sure that my audience and reach are going to be that much smaller than either app was providing.

I’ll continue to play with Mastodon and Post, for now, for as long as they continue to amuse me, but I can’t see investing any serious energy in social media again without some way of being rewarded beyond the dopamine rush of getting a “like” or a “retweet.”

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