Musk buys Twitter: Science fiction meets reality

Categories: Salford Business School

Dr Gordon Fletcher, technology and retail expert at the University of Salford Business School comments as Elon Musk buys Twitter.

Dr Fletcher said: “Science fiction does a good job of predicting the future and sometimes science fiction inspires the future. Elon Musk buying Twitter could be torn from the pages of one of these stories. The suggestion that this $44 billion decision was to remove the account that tracks his own private airplane after the owner refused an offer $50,000 appears to be somewhat implausible.

“Where Twitter heads with Musk is already emerging. His desire to add an 'edit' button may sound commendable but this addition will change the core of Twitter's value. Being able to edit a tweet destabilises Twitter so that it is no longer the social media of record. Each tweet becomes unstable and can be altered at any point and unpredictably. Traditional media outlets will be less inclined to embed the tweet in their own online stories (as is currently common practice) and will seek other competing sources more willingly.

“Journalists and academics will be less inclined to cite Twitter as there could be no future evidence of this primary data. The impact is significant, and Musk will need to carve a new purpose for Twitter if this change does go ahead. Musk is a new era for Twitter but like all good science fiction stories it will be a disturbing mix of utopia and dystopia.

“Three years ago Musk tweeted that "My Twitter is pretty much complete nonsense at this point". Two years ago one tweet from Musk managed to slice significant value off his own Tesla company. More recent tweets have boosted individual cryptocurrencies and revealed Musk's sometimes chaotic political viewpoint as well as an obsession with space travel.” 

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