Twitter: Quit, Elon! Quit!

OPINION: The people have spoken, leave Twitter in the hands of someone with a clue and go back to running the companies you know about: SpaceX and Tesla.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor
Elon Musk and faded Twitter logo in the middle of photo
Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Elon Musk, CEO of Twitter and a whole lot of other companies, literally asked Twitter's users, "Should I step down as head of Twitter?" And, following this, he declared, "I will abide by the results of this poll."

The results are in, and with 17.5-million votes, the people have spoken, and they've said, by a 57.5% to 42.5% vote, that he should quit.  

Let me pause for a moment to quote former Twitter Trust and Safety Council member, Lesley Podesta, "The idea that someone makes decisions on a company he bought for $44b by running a twitter poll is astonishing." Yes, it would be, except we're seeing there's nothing Musk won't say or do. 

Oh, and the Twitter Trust and Safety Council? Musk disbanded it

I would say something about how Musk should quit while he's ahead. Except, well, he's anything but ahead. For all his rah-rah social media blather about how much better Twitter is doing, there's no proof whatsoever of that. 

What we have seen is a drastic increase in right-wing rhetoric, hate speech, and tech glitches. We've also seen over half of Twitter's advertisers abandon ship. Even the World Cup couldn't help. Twitter's US ad revenue was running at 80% below expectations. Not being able to make money with the World Cup for Twitter is like Fox being unable to cash in on the 2023 Super Bowl: Inconceivable. 

Also: The persona illusion: Do you actually exist on social media?

Oh, and the new Twitter Blue? If you think that's going to make up for the ad dollar bleed out, I have a great bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. 

Make no mistake about it. Musk buying Twitter for $44-billion was always a financially foolish move. But, now, he's ruining what little value the company has left. 

Don't believe me? Look at the record. He fired over half of the company's staff the moment he set foot in its headquarters. Sure, fire the C-level people. But half of the staff? There went the people running the company's day-to-day operations, the developers, and the people selling the ads. Oh, and with a company based on open-source software, he got rid of literally all the open-source programmers. A software services company without developers is like trying to drive a Tesla without a battery. It may roll downhill for a while, but eventually, it stops.

In the last few days alone, Musk also fired still more staffers. And, not just any staffers. Right before the holidays, he fired people from the infrastructure crew who literally keep Twitter's lights on and Tweets tweeting. 

But, wait, there's more. Despite all his shouting for hardcore work, dumping working from home, and cutting back on sick and other leave days, he found time to fly to Qatar for the World Cup. What a guy!

Nevertheless, Musk found time to tweet alt-right memes and jokes. He followed that up by firing Twitter executives who suggested this might not be a good move. He's also banned journalists more or less on how peeved he was at any particular one of them at a given moment. 

Musk is running Twitter essentially by whim. This is no way to run any company, much less one that depends on people feeling that they're part of an online community. Chaos and communities don't mix. 

While all this is happening at Twitter, Tesla, Musk's real crown jewel, has lost more than 60% of its value this year. If Musk really wants success, he should step away from Twitter and go back to running a company he knows something about. What's happening at Twitter is an object lesson in how to foul a company up beyond all recognition. 

So, do what you said, Elon. Do yourself, Twitter, and everyone else a favor and do what you said you'd do: Quit. 

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