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To tweet or to not tweet, now that Elon Musk is Twitter’s boss

My plan was to dither. I discover that if I plan to dither, the possibilities are excessive I’ll comply with by.

Final week, whereas the World’s Richest Man, Elon Musk, now Twitter’s proprietor and overlord, was mendacity in wait to grab the corporate, the query earlier than a loud swath of the platform’s 400 million customers had turn out to be: Ought to I keep or ought to I’m going?

That’s the place the dithering got here in. I couldn’t resolve, so I made a decision to not resolve.

Musk had dithered too. Like a klutzy pickup artist, he courted Twitter after which snubbed it after which proposed marriage, all whereas proclaiming his contempt for all it stands for.

When he lastly did shut the deal for $44 billion Thursday, he immediately fired a number of key executives and acted like Twitter was his future. However for months there was no telling if he’d actually shut.

There’s nonetheless no telling if he’ll keep it up, if it’ll maintain his scattered consideration.

Will he really comply with by on his reckless fantasies of firing as much as 75% of the employees, dropping content material moderation, opening up the platform to election and COVID and Holocaust deniers, and reinstating Donald Trump, who was banned from Twitter on Jan. 6, 2021, for inciting violence?

What a brief, unusual journey it’s been. Simply 5 months in the past, on April 5, a securities submitting revealed that Musk had turn out to be Twitter’s largest shareholder. That very day, Twitter’s then-Chief Govt, Parag Agrawal, requested Musk to hitch the board.

On Wednesday, he christened himself Chief Twit, and on Thursday the deal was achieved.

At the same time as I’ve weighed the professionals and cons of my very own Twitter participation, I determine the secret is scanning the horizon for a vibe change.

If the right-wing bellowers fill the Twitter halls with hyena laughter, if the door is opened to 4chan-caliber filth, if black mildew chokes the place, it’s arduous to think about staying round.

Musk tweeted “the chicken is freed” on Thursday to rejoice his buy — or maybe to cowl his purchaser’s regret. I had already downloaded my tweet historical past, packed my go-bag. Later within the day, I wasn’t the one tweeter questioning: What subsequent?

Some are proposing a return to nature. (As if!) Others counsel Instagram. Neither, I’ve to confess, is suited to my Twitter objective, which has been — sentimentally sufficient — to study. I’m with the Yale historian Joanne Freeman who tweeted Thursday: “I might be unhappy to not have this venue for discussing historical past and politics!”

For now, lots of people look like heading for the Twitter exits even with no strong various. And even earlier than Musk took over.

Final week, Reuters acquired an inside analysis doc from Twitter known as “The place Did the Tweeters Go?” which revealed that, because the begin of the pandemic, energy customers, who generate half of world income and 90% of all tweets, have been in “absolute decline.”

Massive accounts — @justinbieber, @ladygaga — now submit sometimes and in a professional forma type. And tweets that push cryptocurrency and porn are the platform’s fastest-growing matters amongst heavy customers on English-language Twitter.

I issued a Twitter ballot final month. When Musk arrives, I requested, will you (a) go away (b) keep (c) dither (d) pretend go away? With some 450 replies, “go away” got here in second and “dither” got here in first.

It’s the one means. Till the vibe shift is obvious, I’m giving in to my Conflict-like confusion: If I’m going there shall be hassle. And if I keep will probably be double.

Virginia Heffernan is a columnist for Wired journal and the writer of “Magic and Loss: The Web as Artwork.” ©2022 Los Angeles Occasions. Distributed by Tribune Content material Company.

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