Elon Musk Is Not The Victim Of Twitter Deceit. All Of Us Are – IGWIIKI

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Elon Musk is a master of making sure we all pay attention to him, which is ironically a good match for Twitter and all social media channels these days. We all have our little micro-megaphones, blaring out our opinions for a few hundred followers to read.

Musk just happens to have a megaphone that is much louder. He’s been complaining lately about how Twitter is not what it was purported to be. Twitter execs have been complaining about how Musk should be obligated to complete the acquisition. A whistleblower has been complaining about how Twitter made false claims and misled the public.

The famous tech billionaire is currently trying to change the narrative, even making a Cyberwhistle to call attention to the problems he would face as the new owner (sadly, the product is currently out of stock).

With any major news arc, we tend to want to find the victims and the perpetrators. Things are just easier that way. You might be pro-Elon, or pro-Twitter, or even capable of seeing both sides of the issue. At the end of the day, none of the major players with this Twitter take-over drama are being victimized from a technology standpoint.

The real victim is the user.

Here’s the core issue. As one blogger noted recently, we really need to deal with the monetization of users. We’ve been defining it all wrong. We think it’s a human, as opposed to the spambots and other automated systems out there that can act “almost human” at times. And defining it as the users who are active on the platform doesn’t work, either. The business model with social media, such as it is, depends on something much more crucial. It’s when users actually see advertising and click on ads, then purchase the products. In other words, to be a real user on social media, you can’t just be human, or active on the platform, or even aware of ads.

You have to be a paying customer. You have to buy something.

That really changes everything, doesn’t it? We’re not talking about merely trying to get eyeballs on content. We’re not talking about an effort to grow follower counts, or to convince investors that people like a social media platform. We’re also not talking about anything related to free speech, or having the ability to post honest and unfiltered content. None of those “users” matter, and we already know that. The only users that matter are those that click and purchase.

Okay, if that’s really true, then we’ve really changed what it means to be a user at all.

The core problem here is not about Elon Musk, or Twitter, or whistleblowers. It’s about the attention economy (e.g., a business model based on our attention) and how the only real social media users are the ones that click and purchase.

I remember the days when the concept of a “user” was not necessarily a paying customer or even an engaged customer. In computer technology, a user was someone who used the product. Period. These days, we like to think the platforms are trying to be innovative and attract attention. It’s easy to forget that the monetization of users means social media companies are targeting people who do more than click. They pay the bills for the tech companies. That’s it. That’s all it ever was.

Now the real question is what to do about that.

We’re focused on spambots, on Elon Musk, on all of the drama. What we should be focused on is how monetization and consumerization in technology often do not create anything good. I’ve been to Las Vegas. It’s not pretty.

My view is that social media can only really survive if it is decentralized, if it moves away from mega-corporations changing how we define users as mere dollar signs and returns to making incredible products that meet our needs.

It can only work if we move back to the model where a user is someone who benefits and enjoys a product. That’s the only way the user wins.

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