Twitter: a post-takeover poison pill

When a company is about to go through a hostile takeover, the stakeholders in the company have this strategy that’s available to them called a “poison pill”. The idea of the “poison pill” is that the shareholders, worried about the effects of the takeover on the long-term health of the company, will artificially depress the stock price of the company so as to make it unattractive for a takeover.

This is obvious *not* quite what’s taking place at Twitter right now.

@elonmusk‘s offer was so much over the realistic valuation of the company that the shareholders just saw $$$$ and went with it. However Twitter isn’t a traditional company. Twitter is a social network. Its technology stack is robust but it’s not particularly outstanding. It works, it doesn’t have a huge lot of features, but it can handle the traffic. Its real value is in the users and the connections it brings to the party. To remain at its baseline of “value” compared to before the takeover, it has to retain its userbase. If users leave, the site’s value is diminished. And this is something that @elonmusk
doesn’t grok.

While he doesn’t get it, users do get it. And their response to Musk’s “comedy of errors” tenure ever since he took over the site is to look elsewhere for a new social network to spend time on, because it’s become clear that Musk wants to take this site and turn it into his personal sandbox. I wouldn’t pay $44 billion for a sandbox, but then I don’t have the sort of detachment from reality that being the world’s richest man engenders.

However for a couple of weeks now we’ve had a look at what @elonmusk considers entertainment for himself, and we’re all pretty much horrified, from Nazi imagery to petty personal fighting to non-stop lying by Musk himself. And that’s why, sadly, now is the time to ditch this platform. Because remaining a part of it at this point is to risk immeasurable personal reputational damage. Think the repercussions in your life if it came out that you were a user of “stormfront” (or whatever KKK-affiliated web site exists out there). This is what Twitter will turn into in the hands of a spoilt man-child with highly questionable morals and a reputation as a con man who has no board to answer to and in time is growing more and more embittered that he can’t just buy a positive image for himself. Or friends.

And if that sounds like I’m describing Donald Trump, it’s not a coincidence; both Trump and Musk are trust fund babies whose lives are led by their malignant narcissism. 

So there’s an understandable urge to leave a platform that’s devolving into a giant cesspit of xenophobia in all its diseased forms, because users don’t want the taint of it.

It’s probably a bad idea to deactivate one’s account, however. All this will do is leave your handle open to a malignant actor taking it over and attempting impersonation. A much better approach is this: make sure you set multi-factor authentication on your account, and then log off. This way no one can use your handle, and you are protecting your reputation.

There are many alternate social networks out there that don’t belong to snake-oil-selling egomaniac billionaires, such as mastodon, and tribel. Check them out and give them your time and eyeballs instead of watching someone who should know better tank a platform to flatter his own malignant ego.

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