Social media platforms offer avenues for people to express themselves and be heard. They serve as a stage for anyone who has something to share to the world. Depends on your time, preference, and orientation, one may have to prioritize which social media to focus on.
In my case, I only have three social media accounts — FB, Twitter and Instagram. FB is largely for social networking and Twitter on the professional side. I am inactive on Instagram because aside from the lack of time, I am not just into it.
Data shows that Twitter has 206 million daily active users. In the US, Twitter has 37 million. It is way behind market leader Facebook, which has more than 2.89 billion monthly active users. FB currently also owns four of the biggest social media platforms, all with over one billion monthly active users each: Facebook (core platform), WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram.
But for professionals, Twitter spells the difference. In my case, it helps me a lot in my work. With the fast paced journalism world, it is easy to get real time direct and concise news. World political figures, big business people, celebrities, are there. Even the Pope is on Twitter.
As the name implies, a tweet is short. But Twitter decided to allow longer tweets now to 280 characters from the original limit of 140, so that tweeters will not cram their thoughts in 140 characters. There is no edit button in Twitter, you can delete though. In Twitter, you say “tweet” not “post” as when you do in other social media.
Although Twitter is not exempt from the encroachment of fake news, it is more of a good platform for idea sharing. If you want to share, float an idea, crowd source something, Twitter is the platform. It is less toxic and can drive home your point.
Just like Facebook, Twitter also allows us to connect with friends and families, but it’s so much more on Twitter. Once you open your Twitter account, you are instantly presented with all sorts of news, tweets from different people you do not know. You are connected to everyone on the platform.
Whereas on Facebook, you can only connect if both parties agree to be “friends”. Thus, there are “FB friends”, but not “Twitter friends”. You just follow certain people freely, no request for acceptance.
I don’t have many followers on any social media, but I follow certain people, news sources, organizations, one of them is Elon Musk.
I don’t follow Elon because he is the richest man on earth with a mind boggling $264 billion net worth, but because, to me, he makes a lot of sense. The visionary businessman-scientist from South Africa manages three major very impactful business empires – Tesla, SpaceX, The Boring Company.
Thus, when news of Twitter being bought by Elon for $44 billion, it sends mixed signals.
What will happen now to Twitter that Elon is onboard the micro blogging platform. Elon is going to take the publicly-listed Twitter private.
At present, Twitter also implements its own rules and policies to ensure accountability and a safe environment.
Twitter’s purpose is to serve the public conversation. It says that violence, harassment and other similar types of behavior discourage people from expressing themselves, and ultimately diminish the value of global public conversation. Its rules are to ensure all people can participate in the public conversation freely and safely.
Twitter has strong rules on safety, privacy, and authenticity. The platform prohibits the glorification of violence. You cannot publish or post other people’s private information or incentivizing others to do so.
Although unsuccessful, the platform does not condone manipulation and spam. Thus, the rules of moderation and this is what I also like in this platform.
So, what is it for Elon, aside from his penchant for tweeting that attracted him to invest in a media platform?
Perhaps, Elon could make Twitter more inclusive. Heighten its role as a forum for idea sharing and molding, rather than a platform for tweeties, gossips, intrigues.
I have observed that some big businessmen also own media empires for security and protection, and yes, prestige, too. But the eccentric Elon could be beyond that.
Elon is more for impact and a strong advocate of freedom. Elon has the power to reshape discourse on a social network used by more than 200 million people every day. Remember during the early days of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine? Some world leaders, not Ukrainian, have been requesting Starlink – the satellite internet division of Musk-owned SpaceX – to block Russian news sources. Elon refused to do so.
“We will not do so unless at gunpoint. Sorry to be a free speech absolutist,” Elon tweeted his reply.
So, one thing is certain that one of his major Twitter policies is to loosen up content rules in the name of free speech. He criticized what he believes as excessive moderation on online platforms.
In buying Twitter, Elon was quoted as saying, “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.”
Musk has a point, but democracy without restraint is not good. Freedom is not absolute. In everything we do, even in tweeting, moderation is the best policy.