Since Elon Musks’ buyout of the Twitter, the micro-blogging and social media service the world’s richest man has wasted no time in making changes. Within hours of his $44billion purchase on the 28th of October, Mr Musk called a meeting of various Twitter human resource executives in the company’s San Francisco office and advised all concerned to read the various facets of the company for widespread redundancies. It is understood Elon Musk had said the workforce must be slashed immediately, and further that those who were no longer needed would not receive bonuses due to be paid on Nov. 1.
It is understood that Mr Musk was warned of the risk it posed to violating employment laws and that workers were at risk of having their contracts breached. The executives warned the billionaire of the risks of employee lawsuits that could arise. In reply, Mr Musk’s team reassured the executives that Musk was not worried about the risks and was used to going to court and paying any penalties due.
It was clear change was happening immediately within the structure of Twitter, possibly against the advice of Twitter’s own executives who then set work to action Mr Musks’ plan. But within days Musk had come to his senses in regard to the financial implications of costly lawsuits and hefty fines that would follow his actions. During this time Twitter’s managers struggled to keep up with the pace of dismissals and the required procedures. This prompted Musk to hold off the redundancy process until after the 1st of November.
The process started by Musk has been painful for some of Twitter’s retained employees, and in some cases devastating for those whose employment was terminated. During this time Musk publicly announced that Twitter was in poor financial condition. The New York Times reported that he had said “There’s a massive negative cash flow, and bankruptcy is not out of the question,”
With a view to fixing Twitter’s issues, Mr Musk then put a team of his own advisors and executives in place within Twitter. However, some Twitter employees felt they were being mistreated and many found the process to be emotionally painful to endure. With such radical changes to a workforce being so quickly put into place, questions are being raised as to how the remaining employees will pick up the pieces and how successful Twitter will be as a result in the future.
The new business model introduced by Musk brings in a $8 a month charge to either receive or retain the coveted blue tick verification mark on their profiles. Its introduction did not get off to a smooth start and was paused shortly afterwards when some Twitter users took to impersonating big brands on the platform and then sending misleading or disruptive tweets.
The announcement by musk that a moderation council would be formed to vet tweets for suitability did not stop many big brand clients that used Twitter for marketing to pause their advertising on the platform.
Other revenue generation has been discussed by Musk’s team including the possible addition of paid direct messaging which would permit users to send private messages to high-profile Twitter users.
It is clear that Musk views these changes at Twitter to be critical to the long-term viability of the platform, but with major advertisers’ spending paused it may not be a straightforward task to restore the viability of Twitter marketing campaigns to their marketing teams.
Whatever you use Twitter for, whether it’s to keep updated with the news, to check sports scores or even to search for new trustly casinos, the platform is facing a real threat of extinction. This threat is compounded as some of the platform’s users search for other social media platforms that could replace Twitter for their micro-blogging needs.
One rival platform has seen more media coverage than the other hopefuls, Mastodon, the social media platform running on open-source software and a decentralised model, has seen a marked upturn in new users. But in reality, Mastodon and the other alternative possibilities are small in comparison with Twitter. Mastodon has just over a million accounts, whereas twitter holds almost 400 million accounts.
It is very early days to assess the fallout for Musk’s takeover in the number of account holders, Twitter is a well-established platform and it would take an exodus of huge proportions to change that, so the future of Twitter may be a far more financially governed risk than one of simple popularity.
The Future Prospects for Twitter
Twitter has been described as the town square of the world, its view of a social media platform for the people of the world to thrash their differences out and gauge public opinion. But other models for social media are snapping at Twitter’s heels. TiKTok has become so popular in recent years, but it has a completely different ethos behind it. TikTok has not been without controversy, the platform is accused of wilfully helping the Chinese government spy on its population. They are not the first Chinese company to be called into question in this way. Hawaii, the Chinese communication giant is currently banned to trade with the US.
This differing approach to their business models highlights a split that appears to be forming within social media. In one fork, Twitter would like to be a sounding board for the world, with the ability to empower its citizens to influence governments in their decisions. The other possibly more focused on permitting a government to monitor and control its population.
Of course, Twitter has to prove itself financially viable first, something TikTok is extremely good at with monetisation at the heart of the app. Social media is always something that is fast-paced and you never know when the latest platform will come and take over – Mark Zuckerberg will be hoping it will be the Metaverse whilst many will assume Twitter will stay just as popular – we’ll just have to wait and see.
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- This article does not endorse or express the views of Qrius and/or any of its staff.
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