How Fragile Is Twitter?

August 25, 2022

The question is, “How fragile is Twitter?” I am not a tweeter. I think we have a script which posts items from this blog, but I am not sure. Twitter is more of a left and right coast thing. Those who love it find that it can deliver “followers” and one hopes personal satisfaction, fame, and fortune.

The datasphere is rippling with Twitter news. I glanced at Techmeme today (August 25, 2022 at about 6 30 am) and spotted many, many Twitter stories.

There was the former DARPA technology security wizard. This individual offered assertions about Twitter’s management and technology ineptitude. The Washington Post is excited about the individual’s forthcoming testimony before the adepts on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Mark your calendar and warm up the TV. The event takes place on September 13, 2022. For the breathless explanation of how a critique of the tweeter thing becomes a Senate hearing in a few short weeks, read “Twitter Whistleblower To Testify In Congress About Security Failures.”

Twitter’s senior manager takes a different position. The tweeter is up to snuff.

Elon Musk is excited because the to and fro about Twitter may be helpful to his brilliant business maneuvering to bring the Musky scent of excellence to short messages mostly unrestrained by someone with a sense of propriety. “Twitter Lied To Elon Musk About Bots – Peiter Zatko, Ex Security Chief” explains

Following the publication of Zatko’s revelations on different news outlets, Tesla CEO, Elon Musk took to his Twitter profile to comment about the issue. Musk tweeted a screenshot of The Washington Post covering the whistleblower’s revelation, accompanied by another tweet of an image, with the phrase “give a little whistle”.

My reaction to the Twitter thing has two parts. The first part is the craziness that Twitter has engendered in its service, its management trajectory, and its PR magnetism. Twitter has zero impact on me personally or professionally, and it is remarkable that so much weirdness surrounds a text messaging service in which the content is publicly available.

The second part of my reaction is the sense that some of the journalists, pundits, and wizards who have achieved Twitter fame may be in for some life realignment. These people will either surge even higher in the Twitter Hall of Fame or end up hoping their TikTok videos deliver what has been lost.

As I reflect on the coterie of Twitter addicts users and the fascinating management history of the company, I come back to the question, “How fragile is Twitter?”

One can argue that it survived with a part time boss, technical failures which involved a very happy beluga icon, and appearing at the bottom of high-tech social media company revenue disappointments. Thus, Twitter is robust, a survivor, a resilient digital creature.

On the other hand, Twitter is engaged in a legal spat with the mercurial Mr. Musk. Twitter is in the news because it loses executives who allege silly technical policies. Twitter is getting love from the tweeters who depend on the service for fame and sales leads. The internal cohesion of a wild and crazy high tech outfit like Google makes Twitter look like a stack of objects stacked by inebriated college students.

I don’t have a dog’s musk gland in the Twitter fight. What I can say is, “Twitter. Interesting.”

Stephen E Arnold, August 25, 2022


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