Musk is cannibalizing Twitter

Musk is cannibalizing Twitter

How will it be, but above all, what will become of Twitter? This is the question that has been bouncing frantically since October 28 in the info-sphere after the acquisition of Elon Musk, which raised $ 44 billion for the platform launched in 2006 by Jack Dorsey. A question that is animating apocalyptic predictions, starting from the possible limitations of freedom of speech, to end in the imminent mass migrations in favor of other social networks.

A vast and widespread debate that involves blue and fandoms without distinction. more or less millionaires, a vast audience that holds together a melting pot made up of celebrity stars, political leaders, influencers from different latitudes and thoughts, writers, managers, old employees and former CEOs, starting with Jack Dorsey, profiles with few hundreds of followers and, last but not least, a flock of parody accounts dressed as raiders ready to squeeze into the most engaging discussions.

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The finger and the moon

Yet, while almost everyone was quick to look at the finger, worried by the announcement of the monthly subscription for 8 dollars to receive and keep the blue check accompanying verified accounts, or alarmed by the way the stars and stripes tycoon torpedoed half of his new employees in a few days, there are still very few who look at the moon.

For the first time in the recent history of social networks, a strange and unusual bond has been established between a personal brand reputation, in this case that of Elon Musk, who with the acquisition of Twitter has also become one the CEO, and that of the platform. A reputational hybridization still to be explored, which is already changing in the hours in which it tries to take a recognizable shape and which from these very first effusions seems destined to be completely asymmetrical. For the exclusive benefit of Musk rather than Twitter.

This is the paradox still barely visible to most, which risks changing not only the social network, but the very ecology of the platforms as we have known, accepted and lived it in these first two decades. In voraciously devouring Twitter's reputation, driving the banner of his personal value proposition into the collective imagination, Musk produces two distinct but

complementary direct effects: he increases his personal reputation and, at the same time, modifies his DNA of the social network that no longer belongs, in philosophical terms, to the anarchy of the users who populate it, but is subordinated without exceptions to a hierarchical vision, to a rigid and unquestionable approach of the majority shareholder.

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Change of ownership

For many, the further modification in a few days of the biography that accompanies his 114 million follower account seemed like one of the many imaginative quirks typical of the character - being one is the founding condition of any personal brand - while when Musk writes “Twitter complaint hotline operator” is perhaps only the most obvious symptom of this takeover. “Twitter is no longer of the users, but it is essentially mine”, Musk seems to affirm without saying it, therefore feeling compelled to iconically undertake in the first person, as no one before him has done in the past, also to respond to users' complaints.

An effort that has absorbed Musk without saving and which is supported by the comparison of some data from his account before and after the definition of the purchase. First of all, the engagement: in the period from 1 to 25 October the percentage was 0.68%, while from 26 October to 7 November the engagement rate of Musk's account jumped to 3.4%. A participation that also increased the total reactions, which went from 18,333,933 in the first three weeks of October to 51,451,088 in the last ten days.

A significant and irrefutable increase that fully fits into the

reasoning of the hybridization of the two reputations. Still, to continue the examination of the performance of Elon Musk's account, it is also interesting to compare the dynamics of the fandom: in the first part of the monitoring, followers grew by 2.4%. In absolute terms, 2,565,149 users have chosen to follow the profile, while, since the day Musk showed up at the Twitter headquarters, bringing with him a nice sink, the new followers compared to the total have grown by double, or 4.3% for a total of 4,676,654. These are, in part, the numbers to which it is worth trying to give an interpretation, halfway between common sense and imagination, of the reasoning carried out so far on the thesis of an ongoing hybridization between two reputational universes, that which concerns the personal reputation that, at the moment, is eating that of the platform.

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