TWEETSTORM is an occasional feature on where we share threads , mostly from Twitter, that we think deserve a wider audience, some are informative, some educational, some amusing and others yet are controversial...we dig these out for you so you don't have to!

Today, we feature a thread on the hot topic of the time, the future of Twitter, and we will follow up with two further tweetstorms later in the week. Where does DT stand on the debate...ask again on Saturday (part 3).

Prof Paul Bernal@PaulbernalUK

Anyway, my tuppence worth on Musk and Twitter.

He’s in for a rocky ride, and the question for me is whether his ego is going to make him destroy Twitter.

Right now, what’s pretty clear is that he doesn’t understand what makes Twitter work. 1/10

Prof Paul Bernal@PaulbernalUK

There are three things he doesn’t seem to grasp.

Firstly, he seems to think he’s bought a tech company (‘not enough coders, too many managers’) when what he’s really bought is a community of users. 2/10

Prof Paul Bernal@PaulbernalUK

What makes Twitter work, what makes it potentially valuable, isn’t the tech (which isn’t that special) but the community that uses it - that, in particular, it’s become the medium of choice of journalists and politicians. 3/10

Prof Paul Bernal@PaulbernalUK

That’s the value, right there.

Every journalist worth their salt uses Twitter - and most use it a lot.

Ditto pretty much every politician.

They’re the user base he should care about, not the right-wing-nut-job community.

But he doesn’t even understand *them* 4/10

Prof Paul Bernal@PaulbernalUK

Right-wing-nut-jobs don’t just want a place where they can rant, abuse and say whatever words they want.

If they did, they’d be quite content with Gab, Parler, Truth Social, some bits of 4Chan, Reddit etc.

See, they’ve got plenty of spaces. 5/10

Prof Paul Bernal@PaulbernalUK

No, what they want is a place where they can rant *at the libs*, at the MSM, at the people they hate.

If those people aren’t there (and they aren’t on Gab, Parler, Truth Social etc), the ranting isn’t nearly as fun.

So if Musk manages to drive the libs away, that’s ruined. 6/10

Prof Paul Bernal@PaulbernalUK

If the libs are driven off, the right-wing will be jubilant for a while, but then bored.

And then Twitter dies.

So Musk has to keep the libs on board.

Oh, and the advertisers too, because they’ll run like hell if Twitter’s just a hate-speech hell-site. 7/10

Prof Paul Bernal@PaulbernalUK

And that means moderation.

It means keeping the Nazis off the site.

It means keeping control of abuse and hate speech.

It means cutting down the misinformation.

All things Musk doesn’t want to do.

If he turns Twitter into a hell-site, he kills it. 8/10

Prof Paul Bernal@PaulbernalUK

So what can he do? It’s not easy.

There’s no simple solution, no magic wand.

Free speech is bloody difficult.

I’d suggest he read Habermas, but of course he won’t.

So it’ll be messy, and I suspect he’ll just get bored eventually, but who knows? 9/10

Prof Paul Bernal@PaulbernalUK

That’s the thing. Handing over Twitter to a massive-ego, massive-wealth, unpredictable billionaire is kind of a metaphor for the whole way we’ve dealt with the internet.

It’s a mess.

We just have to do what we can. 10/10

Prof Paul Bernal@PaulbernalUK

P.S. I realise I didn’t say what the three things are.

1) That it’s the community that matters, not the tech

2) Where the value is in that community

3) What the right-wing-nut-jobs want.

Prof Paul Bernal (@PaulbernalUK)
P.S. I realise I didn’t say what the three things are. 1) That it’s the community that matters, not the tech2) Where the value is in that community3) What the right-wing-nut-jobs want. 😃

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