My Top 10 Funniest Moments of Elon Musk’s Twitter (so far)

My Top 10 Funniest Moments of Elon Musk’s Twitter (so far)

It’s been less than two months since Elon Musk took over Twitter (let that sink in!), but it feels like a lifetime.

Ridiculous decision after ridiculous decision and row-back upon row-back, it’s dizzying trying to keep track of it all.

Here are my Top 10 moments (so far) in somewhat of a chronological order.

1. Verification badge shambles

Twitter’s verification badge serves an important purpose, making sure that public figures, companies, and journalists etc. are who they say they are. But in a desperate attempt to monetize the platform, Elon considered this fair game to turn into a straight-up cash transaction.

Cue a massive backlash from currently verified users and trolls taking the piss pretending to be billion dollar companies and getting them to say crazy shit causing said companies’ stock to take a hit. If that’s not a way to piss off valuable potential advertisers, I don’t know what is. Extra bonus giggles for Elon haggling with Stephen King over a price point.

2. Elon Musk: Patron of Comedy

In his first week at the helm, Musk proudly proclaimed that “comedy is now legal on Twitter”.

It seems that mantra did not apply to any comedy that was aimed at him though. After half of Twitter started relentlessly ripping the piss out of him, Musk swiftly brought in a policy that threatened to ban users making fun of anyone else without clearly marking their Tweets as a parody. 

Ironically, the Twittersphere’s reaction became one of the funniest moments I can ever remember on the platform, unintentionally fulfilling Musk’s promise.

3. Re-banning Kanye West

Under his new “free speech” manifesto, Elon reinstated a host of accounts that had been banned under the previous management. After making a particularly big deal of welcoming back Kanye West, Ye immediately went on a series of Jew-bashing rants that would see him swiftly re-banned, taking some hefty digs at Elon on the way out. Sometimes people are banned for a reason, guy. Who knew?

4. Firing half the company

Making staffing cuts is a classic way for a new owner to try and make a company leaner and set them on the right path. Firing half the company seemingly at random within a couple of weeks of taking over is a new one though.

Having to grovel to some of those that had lost their jobs asking them to come back because they were necessary to certain projects was a fitting upshot. Ditto being hit by potential legal ramifications in countries that don’t just let companies fire employees at a moment’s notice without cause.

5. Going “extremely hardcore”

Now with a streamlined workforce, Elon gave an ultimatum to the remaining staff. Unless they agreed to an “extremely hardcore” way of working going forward that would include working nights and weekends, they would be fired too.

Cue most of the staff not agreeing to the ultimatum by the deadline (up to 80% of them by some estimates), creating mass confusion over who still had a job and who didn’t, and what departments might cease to function if all those who didn’t relent were actually fired. Of course Elon had to quickly row back on this bullshit too.

6. Saying the company could go bankrupt

After firing half the company and trying in vain to get the remaining half to sign up to a life of servitude, Elon was sad. 

Speaking at a company meeting he went so far as to say that the company might go out of business. In fairness, how can you be expected to run a profitable company if you can’t exploit your workforce? Way to boost morale and increase market confidence in the company Elon.

7. Throwing a hissy fit at advertisers

Twitter derives around 90% of its revenue from advertisers, so this is definitely a cohort that Elon should be eager to please if he’s looking at turning the company around. But, shock horror, advertisers don’t seem to be overjoyed at the platform turning into an even bigger dumpster fire than it was previously and began walking away in droves. Elon didn’t like that, and let it be known.

I guess free speech doesn’t extend to whatever platforms independent companies are allowed to advertise on then.

8. Requesting engineers to print off their code

Such little faith Elon had in Twitter’s current engineering team that he brought in a bunch of software engineers from Tesla to sit over their shoulders and critique their code. According to internal Slack messages, he went so far as to ask Twitter engineers to print out the last 30 to 60 days of the code they created for review. This was, of course, extremely inefficient, not to mention a big security risk, and engineers were soon asked to shred whatever they had printed.

9. Banning promotion of other social media channels

With Twitter users setting up accounts on competing platforms like Mastadon in droves, the company spun up some hasty policy to try and stem the exodus. So much for “free speech”.

While a lot of Elon’s statements and policies over the last few weeks were quickly rolled-back, this batshit crazy one took the record, lasting less than a day before being abandoned.

10. Poll to Stay on as CEO

Elon has really taken to polls as a way of making decisions. Like Batman’s nemesis Two Face obsessively flipping a coin to tell him what to do, it seems like he can barely make a decision these days without them. In what turned out to be an extraordinary self-own, Musk put out a poll to see how many people wanted him to step down as head of Twitter and said that he would abide by it. I’m sure he’s clearing out his desk as we speak.

Elon Musk is not a stupid guy. But he sure as hell is making himself look like one. Now let that sink in!

Posted by Rob in Twitter

Target tests iBeacons, Absolut Vodka goes IoT, Facebook ‘LIVE’ & Twitter News

Target experiments with Beacons in 50 of it’s stores

Beacons have been bubbling under the surface for the last couple of years now but any real mainstream adoption has yet to materialize. Lots of brands we have come into contact with recently have expressed interest in the technology, but the issue remains that, to utilize Beacons, they already have to have a mobile application that their customers use. It’s really an add-on to an already operational and successful mobile experience and not a standalone technology. Brands can’t simply decide to ‘do’ Beacons without already having a mobile strategy in place.

Another hurdle is the fact that for Beacons to work at all, your customers need to have downloaded your app, have Bluetooth switched on, and have opted-in to receiving push notifications from you. There’s a lot of friction in the way of adoption. In short, your customers really need to want you to target them with Beacons for it to work at all.

US mega-retailer Target is confident though, and is rolling out Beacons in 50 of it’s stores this year, with more scheduled to follow. They will use Beacons to inform customers of personalized deals, something that bargain-hunting loyal Target shoppers would presumably find value in and be incentivized to avail of. Beacons are yet to really take off in retail but if anyone can do it, it should be these huge retailers.

Absolut Vodka wants to get in on the ‘Internet of Things’ action

Relatively speaking,  we are still at a very early stage of the Internet of Things revolution. While there is some crazy potential yet to be realised for connected devices, it’s unclear how many consumer brands might take advantage of this. Here, Markus Wulff, digital creative business developer at Absolut Vodka, discusses how the brand intends to get involved in connected packaging and how other FMCG brands like Heineken have used this in the past. Some of the examples given are a bit gimmicky but it’s food for thought nonetheless.

Facebook launches ‘Live’ video streaming feature

This week Facebook showed their hand in the suddenly overcrowded live social video streaming space. It’s only open to celebrities for the moment but will no doubt be rolled out to the masses over the next few months as users become more familiar with it.

One thing that makes it stand out slightly from the likes of Periscope and Meerkat is the fact that once the video stream has finished, the video then appears on the user’s timeline, ready to view again for those that missed it first time around. This is one of the most frustrating aspects I’ve found of the other platforms. The amount of times I’ve seen “LIVE on #Periscope” links and clicked through only to find that it’s finished. So annoying, and such a barrier to actually experiencing and familiarising yourself with a new service.

Twitter experiments with a ‘News’ tab

During the week Twitter started rolling out a ‘News’ tab in their app to some users in the US, breaking down trending stories into bite-sized chunks and putting them at the centre of the experience. It’s part of the effort to make its best content easier to find and helps new users get more involved with what’s happening. News is at the heart of what Twitter does, so essentially padding out the discovery section so that each topic has a deeper context will only make the experience more valuable for everyone. A great tweak to their mobile experience in my opinion.

Posted by Rob in Beacons, Facebook, Internet of Things, Links of the Week, Twitter

What does Twitter’s new mute feature mean for brands?

Twitter announced this week that they are launching a new ‘mute’ feature so that users can block incoming Tweets from an account that they follow without actually unfollowing them. While this might be a handy feature for users (there are some serious serial Tweeters out there), what does it mean for brands?

A lot has been spoken recently about the fact that brands are continually being marginalised on Facebook by an algorithm that basically forces them to pay to reach their own followers. But could this new feature from Twitter be just as harmful?

While Facebook take it upon themselves to filter out companies’ marketing messages as they see fit, Twitter’s new feature is more of a user-orientated approach. Instead of a faceless algorithm, it is the customer themselves opting out of hearing from you.

The key take-away here is that you need to actually provide value to your followers / customers via social media. They are unlikely to unfollow you if you’re saying something meaningful and not just posting meme’s and ‘inspirational’ quotes, so brands beware. All this feature really does is make it slightly easier for followers to actively ignore you.

twitter mute

Image courtesy of Mashable

Posted by Rob in Facebook, Social Media, Twitter

The convergence of The Big Four tech giants continues

With leaked reports this week suggesting that Amazon are readying a smartphone to launch in the Autumn, it marked yet another example in the recent trend of the big four tech companies, Google, Apple, Facebook & Amazon, continuing to move in on each other’s turf. It seems that Amazon want a piece of the smartphone pie and feel like they have something to offer in this space in the hope of emulating Apple’s model of users being able to use an Apple device to buy Apple products via an Apple payment system (iTunes). This isn’t a new trend but definitely one that seems to have sped up over the last few months with Computer World highlighting the number of recent moves that have made these companies “a lot less like themselves and a lot more like their competitors”.

Even Twitter are getting in on the action. Just last week the company rolled out a new profile page to some users, giving images more prominence, displaying posts based on their level of interaction and generally continuing the ‘Facebook-ification’ of the platform. All this in addition to reports last month that the company was preparing to get rid of the hashtag and @reply features that have been such symbols of the platform up to this point.

In a similar vein, it seems that Facebook is hoping to diversify from social like Google has managed to diversify from search with the company recently engaged in some very Google-like ‘moonshot’ ventures like investing in virtual reality and drone hardware manufacturers that have nothing from the outside to do with their core business. It has also been reported this week that the company is currently testing out an e-money system in Ireland which, if it were to prove a success, could possibly muscle in on Amazon’s online retail business or the potential of Apple’s iTunes in the micro-payments space.

So it looks as though these companies will continue to diversify from their original core business and borrow elements from each other, all with the aim of trying to expand their customer base and keep users within their ecosystem. But are all these measures diluting the elements that made users love them in the first place, and what are the implications for us, the users, of having our lives and our habits influenced and monitored by such a small group of companies?

Amazon Smartphone

Image courtesy of Mashable

Posted by Rob in Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Twitter

Is this the end for the hashtag?

It might seem unthinkable, but if the rumblings that have come out of Twitter over the last few days are anything to go by, it looks like the company is intent on getting rid of the famous Hashtag and ‘@’ reply handles that have become so synonymous with the platform.

Twitter’s Head Of News, Vivian Schiller, recently described hashtags and @ replies as “arcane” and hinted that they would be ‘streamlined’ to help new users better understand the concept of Twitter. Removing the ‘scaffolding’ of the service as they call it, making it more like Facebook, who already use this approach re: mentions in posts.

Reaction has been somewhat negative so far among users and online commentators but my bet is that it will be the same as usual when there is a fundamental change on a social media platform, at the beginning there will be a few grumbles, but users will get used to it, get over it, and ultimately forget what it was like before hand.


Posted by Rob in Facebook, Social Media, Twitter