The Once and Future Twitter Queen
Can the man who builds cars and rockets make amends for Jack Dorsey’s betrayal of the Silicon Valley spirit and keep Twitter alive? Here’s how Elon can do it.
The Big Tech trust crisis
Silicon Valley’s lore is inventing stuff that gives individuals more power. From engraving a CPU on a chip to putting a computer on your desk, then in your backpack, to connecting everyone and everything over the Internet, and then putting the Internet in your pocket — Power to the people is our legacy. It is no coincidence that this self-liberating innovation was born out of the same cultural vibe that hosted the Summer of Love, ignited the Berkeley Free Speech Movement, pioneered psychedelics, and thrived on a heavy dose of blues-inspired rock ’n’ roll.
Tragically, a recent Gallup poll shows that trust in ‘Technology Companies’ has plummeted to 29 percent. A recent Pew survey found that 79 percent of adults are concerned about how companies use their data. There is a vast chasm between what social media companies do with our data and what most Americans think is cool. If entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley have learned anything, it is that customers always get what they want in the end. Today people want their power and privacy back, and the next multi-trillion-dollar megatrend will be driven by delivering on that need.
Overnight, the Bay Area has gone from a peace and love-fueled liberator to Grand Inquisitor. Silicon Valley’s image problems boil down to the ill behavior and lack of imagination of three companies: Google, Facebook, and Twitter. The first two have been so busted for a string of nefarious acts they are trying to hide behind new brand names that no one in the Valley will ever utter. The ‘Do No Evil’ twins that founded Google quit the team and went running for the hills in 2019 just as the Feds antitrust scrutiny started to heat up.
The sad part is most of us in the Valley are not like them. Even the curmudgeonly ‘I want everyone back in the office three days a week,’ Apple chief Tim Cook has lambasted the ongoing abusive behavior of the Unholy Trinity. “We could make a ton of money trading our customers’ personal data, but all people have a fundamental right to privacy. The American people demand it, the Constitution demands it, and morality demands it,’ Cook proclaimed back in 2015.
The customer should be in control of their information and not sold as a product. People no longer want to see the online giants make billions trading their personal data like a commodity on the attention economy exchanges. Consumers are repelled by ad tracking and dopamine-driven engagement tactics. Yet, today, in return for ‘free’ services, your email, search history, and even family photos are data-mined and sold to the highest bidder. “Someday, customers will see this for what it is,” warned Cook, the CEO of the world’s most valuable company.
‘Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,’ Elon said in a statement after the announcement.
Dear Elon — Well done, and congratulations!
As you well know, Twitter has two very BIG problems — it sells its customer for a living and acts like a drunken despot in the First Amendment department. It is a desperate situation—Twitter’s stock price was trading below its IPO price of almost 10 years ago until the buyout rumors started spreading on April Fools Day. It is the dawn of the ‘trusted network’ era where people will own the content they create, and Twitter is still playing ball like it’s the 00s. Twitter was on the verge of becoming obsolete. In the same Verge Tech Survey for 2021 noted above, a mere 28 percent of Twitter’s users said they would be disappointed if the company disappeared, down from 33 percent in 2020. By definition, Twitter is a failed enterprise. The good news is if you bring the bird back, you got a hell of a deal even if, by our estimates, you overpaid by $4.20 per share.
Follows are some observations, analyses, and ideas to throw in the pot as you go forward to deliver on Twitter’s original noble cause.
Kill the fake trolls and the real bots
You’ve already been talking about the need to verify members to assure they are ‘all real humans.’ If properly designed, Twitter’s registration can serve as a proof-of-identity system, much as most crypto wallets like Coinbase and MetaMask require. Under this decentralized design, every member has private/public crypto key access and control over all their data, including the power to delete, share, download, and verify that no outside party has tampered with their data. Members can also communicate and transact with each other on a fully-encrypted, transparent, peer-to-peer basis. Additional data security can be achieved by building a distributed storage network, which has the secondary benefit of slashing Twitter’s central data administration costs.
Twitter’s member ethic should be: If you wish to have a profile, tweet, gain followers, and own and control all your data, you need to verify you are who you say you are. Building trust is a two-way enterprise.
Another huge benefit to crypto key registration is it allows ALL members to earn their Twitter blue check badge upon registration. The current check system, reserved for the Justin Biebers and Kim Kardashians, only amplifies Twitter’s false sense of self-importance, snobbery, and constant pandering to the cultural elite.
Member authentication will eliminate over 99 percent of the trolling and unseemly content. But this also means you will certainly lose a ton of ‘members’ with this approach. To keep traffic flowing, you can offer a membership level with fewer identity requirements for the voyeur class who only want to follow and read tweets but have no desire to be visible or searchable within the network.
If you make the above moves, the Twitter brand will shine on the modern edge, and the company will instantly win back at least half of its members’ trust.
One of the best-known passages in modern literature, The Grand Inquisitor, is a story within a story in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s 1880 novel The Brothers Karamazov. In the tale, Christ returns to Earth in Seville, Spain, at the time of the Inquisition. After wandering the streets, healing the sick, and ministering to the people, an influential Catholic cardinal (the Grand Inquisitor) arrests Jesus. The Inquisitor tells Jesus He has misjudged human nature because humankind is too fragile and weak to handle the freedom of choice He offers. By giving humans the freedom to choose, the Inquisitor argued, Jesus dooms humanity to a life of suffering. The Inquisitor informs Jesus that the Church has now undertaken to correct His mistake by taking away the freedom of choice and replacing it with security. ‘It is better if everyone lives and dies happily in ignorance,’ the Inquisitor professed.
Freedom to express ideas and opinions
Steve Jobs once explained that the price of admission to the Apple product team is the willingness to risk that another member might call one of your ideas stupid. ‘Brutal honesty is a critical component of our creative process. It’s not personal; it’s not about you; it’s about creating insanely great products that delight the user,’ explained one of the greatest inventors of our time. In other words, there is no room for ego and political correctness at the innovation table.
Why is it any different for Twitter? Isn’t the whole purpose of Twitter to give the world a forum to share experiences and debate ideas?
Millions joined Twitter in good faith that Jack would live up to his initially stated ideals of ‘democratizing information’ and inspiring ‘citizen journalism.’ After making spectacular strides towards these ideals, it’s like Twitter woke up one morning (excuse the pun ;) and joined one of the most sweeping censorship campaigns in U.S. history.
Be not afraid
Let’s be honest, what triggered Twitter’s Orwellian tantrum was fear of Trump, fear of Covid, and fear in general. This fear set off a manic wave of random drive-by member homicides and wanton censorship. Twitter and its cohorts in Big Tech and corporate media hid behind passive-aggressive phrases like ‘harm reduction,’ protecting us from ‘unverified content,’ and creating a ‘safe space’ from all the bullies in the world. Ironically (and quite humorously), this groupthink campaign entirely backfired and drove Twitter’s, and corporate media’s customer trust rate into the gutter.
An obvious case in point was Twitter’s attempt to censor the well-investigated New York Post story about Hunter Biden peddling the Big Guy’s influence for Big Money to China, Ukraine, and elsewhere, which only amped up the story a thousand-fold. At least the Washington Post, New York Times, and even CNN apologized for not reporting that emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop are authentic — albeit only months after their boy Biden was sitting comfortably in the Oval office. It’s time for Twitter (and MSNBC) to make the same apology if you all want to begin to get back on the legitimacy track.
In an MIT and Yale study, researchers found that 7.7 percent of users suspended by Twitter identified as Democrats compared to 35.6 percent that identified as Republicans.
For the record, I did not vote for Trump or Biden, and I certainly understand why they both make a wide swath of people nervous. Furthermore, I do not believe Trump is the right candidate for 2024, given his aversion to tokenizing the U.S. dollar and proclaiming ‘Bitcoin is a fraud.’ Furthermore, Trump (nor any politician) shows a clue of understanding the true impact of the Web3/dApp/A.I./metaverse boom in front of us. Why is this important? Because this innovation will drive most of the new jobs and wealth creation over the next 20 years.
For his part, Biden shows all the signs of being so cognitively compromised (another media elite/Twitter cover-up attempt that no one believes) that he should call it quits NOW. The poor man walks around the White House, bumping into walls and trying to shake the hands of people who do not exist. Raise your hands if you would trust leaving your 10-year-old twins with Grampa Joe for the weekend? They would have to take of him. The whole world sees the absurdity of the U.S. electing such a diminished person as our President and is breathless with anxiety.
Due to his diminished capacity, Biden has escalated domestic confusion and world tensions with his incoherent and flippant remarks. A recent example was when he stated that Russian President Putin ‘cannot remain in power’ during a major speech about the Ukraine conflict in Warsaw. Why don’t the actions of a dazed and confused President ever set off some kind of red alert bell over at Twitter? Isn’t unnecessarily provoking a potential nuclear war a threat to our security? Everyone can see the hypocrisy and double standard at play here.
Whether you like Biden or Trump, the U.S. President is the leader of the free world, and our citizens ALWAYS have the right to know what our Presidents are thinking and doing. If not for any other reason, Presidents walk around with a suitcase full of nuclear buttons. People just might appreciate the inside scoop on whether it might be a good idea to get out of Dodge to seek a ‘safe space’ in another country for a while.
Even Twitter’s real boy, socialist Senator Bernie Sanders, supported his nemesis’s right to free speech on Twitter. ‘I don’t feel comfortable with a handful of high tech people making their own distinctions between free speech and dangerous rhetoric,’ said the Bern Man. ‘Today, you ban Donald Trump; tomorrow, it could be somebody else who has a very different point of view.’
Transforming a neurotic brand to an aspirational one
The math says only 29 percent of Twitter users trust the brand, and only 28 percent care if Twitter disappears. Like all first-generation social networks, Twitter has been aimless and entropic — devolving into chaos and mistrust. Twitter’s street image is that of a company run by over-educated, self-loathing narcissists who think they know what’s better for the rest of us than we know ourselves. It’s like the company gave the keys to the kids who sucked up to the teachers and snitched on the other kids on the playground all their way to the Ivy Leagues.
A clinical and forensic psychologist friend diagnosed the whole Twitter brand vibe as falling somewhere between Borderline Personality Disorder (BDP) and Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD). People with these disorders often appear charming at the start of a relationship. They talk dramatically and take on the personality, interests, and dress of the people they want to be around. Still, they constantly seek attention, are addicted to drama, project rapidly changing emotions, and can turn dark quickly. They use their social skills to manipulate and steal the spotlight. They associate achievements like attending ‘top schools’ or titles (think Meegan and Harry Sussex) with the illusion they’re born with an innate moral authority to save the world. Invariably, they get knocked off their thrones, and if this (or micro-dosing) doesn’t shock them back to reality, they take on a victim persona where everyone else is to blame for their woes.
Under the guise of ‘diversity,’ Twitter was demanding conformity. The company tried (very lamely) to trick its customers into believing that what Twitter deems as acceptable and ‘inclusive’ language is supreme to the abstracted ideals and original intent of our First Amendment. History repeatedly shows that whenever a centralized power starts acting like the new incarnation of society’s ideals, the state inevitably degenerates into a biblical Egypt with all its tyranny.
It’s great that Twitter managers have made a life-long commitment to personal therapy, stigma-reducing language, and victim culture enablement. But frankly, most people see this behavior as hopelessly neurotic. Normal people like to think for themselves, accept the rough and tumble of the real world, and just don’t let other people’s tweets ruin their day. The fears and judgments of the people at the top of places like Twitter represent a very teeny, weeny, minuscule percentage of the population. It just seems bigger because the rest of the world is polite and minds their own business. The Twitter neurotic vibe is simply killing the brand.
Foster people who want to openly share, teach and learn
Great brands show trust and faith in their customers — they don’t try to control them. Any social network that prevents people from trying out new ideas and jokes or expressing their true feelings cripples our culture and economy. Members need to feel free to be authentic, honest, and even brutal about their opinions. Twitter’s mantra should be fostering people who want to openly share, teach and learn. Creating a nanny culture of spying, coercing, and canceling members is not the path to becoming a trusted brand.
We like your idea of open-sourcing any filter algorithms to build trust. You can also encourage community policing by adding additional community ratings and features so members can red-flag heinous content they might feel might not be protected by the First Amendment.
Twitter should feel like a mega version of the Steve Jobs product team. By nature, most people want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Just drop the Gestapo tactics and the puritanical behavior. If you are lucky, this attitude adjustment will transmit into the Twitter brand, and you can win back your members’ trust and loyalty.
Make money by legitimizing the Dogecoin
We all know you are more than a bit of a troll yourself, Elon, and nothing dramatizes your adolescent antics more than the Dogecoin. There are no tokenomics behind the cryptocurrency you named after your dog, and playing it up only hurts earnest entrepreneurs pursuing noble crypto projects. At least you had the cojones to admit so on Saturday Night Live a year ago. We can correct your stunt by converting the Dogecoin into the reward and payment token for Twitter members and providing the company with a much more prosperous revenue model.
To be successful, Twitter needs to create an economic alignment with its members. This can be achieved by quantifying and rewarding members for their contribution to the community with Dogecoin. Members could then use their Dogecoins to reward and subscribe to other members, purchase discounted products and services, or buy and trade them on exchanges for cash or other cryptocurrencies.
There is a waterfall of valuable expert knowledge and perspective on Twitter with no reward to the creators. Twitter could create a marketplace where smart people can share their intellectual capital and allow direct message access and other value for Dogecoins. Think of it as the ‘OnlyFans for everyone else.’ I’m sure you could create a similar program so members can enjoy premium subscription benefits from their favorite entertainers and sports figures. In one of your tweets, you’ve recognized that most celebrities have gone much quieter in recent years and moved to the less politically-infused Instagram and TikTok.
Historically, the greatest value found in most social networks has been within interest-niche forums and groups. Twitter could sell the ability for members to create DAO (decentralized autonomous organizations)-governed branded tribes where members could subscribe to and gain more value. As Reed’s Law underscores, as the number of tribes multiplies, the economic value and network effects of Twitter will grow exponentially. And the more the network effects drive enterprise value, the more the Dogecoin shoots up in value. If executed properly, Dogecoin’s value will represent the perceived value of being a member of Twitter.
Members could also reward dogecoins for recruiting quality new members to the community and earn NFT badges representing membership status and credentials for specific achievements within the network. Combined, these forms of compensation and recognition will provide Twitter members with a long-term, karma-like stake in the network’s success.
Twitter makes its ‘gas money’ by earning a commission on every Dogecoin transaction within the network and by driving up its value by boosting its purchasing power over time. At the start, upwards of 30 percent of available Dogecoins should be reserved as a company asset. If you do an excellent job managing the Dogecoin price and need some spending money, you can always sell some of your Dogecoin stash for cash, and even pay off your $25 billion in loans.
Because Twitter will be a decentralized platform, only the buyer and the seller (and the Dogecoin rewarder and the rewarded) will have visibility into their individually encrypted transactions. A fully decentralized, peer-to-peer e-commerce platform will also reduce Twitter’s risks and liability. Under this blockchain-based, decentralized design, Twitter’s economic interests and security, and those of its members, are completely aligned.
‘As a thought experiment, imagine there was a base metal as scarce as gold but with the following properties: boring grey in colour, not a good conductor of electricity, not particularly strong [..], not useful for any practical or ornamental purpose .. and one special, magical property: can be transported over a communications channel.’ —Excerpt from Satoshi Nakamoto’s published Bitcoin’s white paper
It was good to hear that you plan to take the company private in recent reports. It would be no fun and a great distraction to destroy 100 percent of Twitter’s revenues and reboot the Dogecoin as your economic engine in public view. Combining Twitter members + Dogecoin holders, + Elon antics + the strategy above is very BIG. Do this, and you will leave Bezos’s net worth in the dust forever. If you want to go to the moon and create economic alignment with Twitter members, you should update the Dogecoin protocol and put a cap on the supply. Bitcoin’s innovation was creating the first scarce digital object and its working. This move makes business sense, and it will show people you are earnestly committed to the long-term value appreciation of the Dogecoin.
Hot tip for readers: Pile into Dogecoin NOW — trading today @ $.14 going To The Moon!!
Will work for Dogecoins
This is obviously a much bigger and more complex discussion, and I’m cool to rally a couple of other crypto geeks I know and greaseboard this with you. We know what we are talking about because our team is executing on this exact model with our soon-to-be-launched Cryptonite network— only more focused on the global innovation entrepreneurs and risk investor market.
The bottom line is, to gain back trust, Twitter must crack the ‘customer-as-a-product’ mentality, give asylum to all of the company’s previous political prisoners (including Donald Trump), and position Dogecoin as your new revenue engine.
To show my commitment to the dream, you can pay me in Dogecoins. For imparting my brilliance above, you can send the first slug of Dogecoins in my ETH wallet here: 0x6f5ACF376E7865D03aa754335C66B64498D908Da See how it works? Trading meta intelligence on the blockchain. It’s a truly beautiful thing. I’m looking forward to the day Twitter returns to its original noble cause, and the Dogecoin goes legitimate and zooms by the moon and lands on Mars.
We are here for you. LFG!
New flashes since orgiinal post!
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