Shield your eyes from this latest Twitter development, especially if you are into politics.
Recently, Elon Musk polled his Twitter followers asking if they think President Trump should be reinstated on the social media platform.
Here’s where it all stands (you have to vote to see the results):
The poll ends in just a few hours from now. By the way, a little disclosure: I voted to see the results, but I don’t have any skin in the game. I maintain journalistic ethics on things like this where my personal views come into play and fight against that constantly. However, I rolled the dice and clicked “no” only because I wanted to see the results. I used another account to vote “yes” to compensate.
I can see how both sides of this reinstatement debate have valid points.
At the time of publication, the votes were clearly in favor of reinstatement (52% to 48%). To change the outcome, millions would have to vote “no” by tonight.
What surprises me is how many people are participating.
At last count, it’s almost 12 million votes. That means there’s some good statistical accuracy — as one “voter” noted — because that’s a good portion of Musk’s total follower count. I’ll post on my own feed when the “winner” is announced.
I’ll let you decide if this is related to Trump announcing his 2024 run. The voting certainly reveals a lot about what is happening on social media, though. Millions of people are voting because they want to be heard. They also want to influence outcomes. We’re all trying to break through the wall of digital noise, to emerge out of the sludge and raise a hand to make sure we have a voice in how the world works.
Twitter really shines when that happens. Facebook and Instagram don’t have a chance against Twitter when it comes to polling. Users who love to tweet are still hanging on by a thread to the differentiators that make the platform worth using. Besides polling, that list of unique features is starting to grow paper thin, but I do think Twitter has a better discovery engine for insightful comments and dialog. In theory, it should provide unfiltered access to the views of pundits and power brokers.
Some of the implications of the Trump poll? Musk himself noted how polling could become extremely useful at a major scale or even on a country-by-country basis. The real key here is that Twitter can reach a massive audience to gauge sentiment on issues, and that’s always been true. The downside is that there’s absolutely no way to ensure any validity to the polling. It just gives you a rough guide for how people are feeling, without any accountability to the polling system itself. (I’m not saying he’s doing it, but now that Musk is at the helm of Twitter, anything is possible.)
So far, most people have voted to reinstate Trump, even though the former President has stated that he prefers to stick with his own Truth Social network. Trump has a paltry five million followers on his own app, though. I doubt he will rest long knowing that there are millions waiting for him on Twitter. He had around 90 million followers before his account was suspended. Twitter called it a “permanent” suspension at the time, although in tech we know nothing is ever permanent.
What makes me curious about this new poll is whether it will have any influence on Musk reinstating the former commander-in-chief.
I doubt Trump will be on board, though. Moving back to Twitter means Trump will abandon the platform his company built for him.
We all can instantly recall how his ego would prevent that dramatic shift, but many of us can also instantly recall some of his more infamous tweets.
I’ll be curious, once the poll ends, if anything changes. We shall see.