The marketing gurus have been roused and riled by this sudden leap into the unknown
The day Twitter became a billionaire’s plaything its future became unpredictable. $44 billion — a sum greater than the GDP of several small nations on the world atlas — is not small change — not even for one of the world’s richest men. However, what Mr Elon Musk intends to do with the social network, instantly recognisable in the new culture for its blue and white bird logos, is his own business, except that several thousand Tweeps have lost their jobs already.
What damage Mr. Musk, a lover of X, the 24th letter of the Latin alphabet, with its mystique and all, may wreak to X.com, after bidding goodbye to the birds that adorned a social network that even came to be used as a verb, as in “Are you part of the Tweeple tribe and do you tweet, retweet?”, is an unknown X now. The marketing gurus have been roused and riled by this sudden leap into the unknown as Mr Musk merges the social networking platform into a prospective everything app, including banking and shipping. But it is not as if the new economy does not already have a plethora of apps.
When all the eccentric changes that Mr. Musk made in his ‘toy’, including charging a fee for badges or coloured ticks, led to much churning and a competitor was born in Threads, it was believed a duopoly in the ‘brevity is the soul of wit’ space would be good for netizens. That is far less certain now as a ‘filthy rich’ man mocks the brand value built into the blue bird logo in the last decade and a half that captured the imagination of the new pop culture and became a phenomenon changing the way people read the news and responded or reacted.
Mr Musk might need reminding that while his vast fortune was built in upending the physical world of internal combustion engine transportation with his futuristic electric Tesla, his dabbling in the world of the social media might only be an ominous descent into failure, along with the Twitter baggage dating back to founder Jack Dorsey days that he is trying to get rid of now. If the super rich fail, they are likely to generate schadenfreude rather more than sympathy.