Elon Musk Reinstated Donald Trump On Twitter. Now The Real Drama Begins
Everything you know about technology is about to change.
Donald Trump was reinstated on Twitter late yesterday, something that looked like a sure bet when Elon Musk ran a controversial poll.
The former President “rocked the vote” and was a significant favorite among Twitter users, most of whom voted because they follow Musk.
This is a monumental shift in more ways than one.
Reinstating Trump will have a major impact on the next political season. It could seriously change the social media landscape, altering Twitter into something none of us recognize. It’s also a major technological shift, one that could have ripple effects beyond social media and create division across more and more apps.
Here’s why this is a serious issue. A major Silicon Valley firm that once employed thousands was right at the center of innovation — it’s probably housed on your smartphone even if you don’t use it — and impacted not only elections but wars, debates, revenue, click traffic, and much more for the last decade. Say what you will about Twitter and any lost relevance, it’s still a major icon of technology.
We’ve heard all about the rocky start to Elon Musk’s tenure running this beleaguered social app, right down to the hints of bankruptcy and mass firings. It’s a dumpster fire, and some of us are watching as Musk throws more logs into the inferno.
That’s one small part of what is happening.
We need to start viewing this for what it really is.
For starters, Twitter won’t ever be the same. It doesn't matter if Trump bothers to tweet (although I think he will). Instead, allowing Trump back on Twitter is a fissure of things to come. You can feel the rumblings already.
Twitter is about to become more like an open source app, one that is not sustainable as a legitimate Silicon Valley company or an icon of innovation. My prediction is that Twitter 2.0 will divide us in the tech market, creating a further polarization on all apps and how we view technology as a whole. I’m not saying it will lose impact and maybe Twitter 2.0 will be viable, but Trump on Twitter means even more division.
We’ve seen this before. Parler has 20 million users, but it’s obviously meant for one side of the aisle. A minor app like Mastodon with one million users might gain some traction, but it has a long way to go. I hope some of these new apps make an impact, and I’ll keep tracking how they are doing, but they are minor blips.
Twitter is as mainstream as it gets in technology, notched right below Facebook. Everyone knows about it. With this shift, we’re seeing a divide between world views, political stances, and cultural understanding.
If Twitter only appeals to a certain crowd, watch out — we could be dealing with this problem for the next decade, even outside of social media.
I’d like to suggest that it could take just one tweet. If Trump decides to start using Twitter again, that will be the final straw for an entire segment of the population. Forget about Truth Social. Don’t bother comparing Twitter to other social media apps. If your neighbor sees you in the driveaway, he or she might talk about Trump joining Twitter again. I doubt you’ll hear much about Parler or Mastodon.
I hope I’m wrong. I hope Twitter 2.0 doesn’t divide us. In fact, I hope it unites us.
Down here in the trenches, also known as “reality” — it doesn’t look good.