Tomyamaguchi’s Weblog

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To Tweet or Not to Tweet

I am among the people that are not happy with the news that Twitter is being bought by Elon Musk. For several days, I found myself too depressed to log on to my account. By the end of the week, I was slowly getting back onto the platform again. However, my relationship with Twitter has definitely changed. 

So what is different now, and what has stayed the same? When I created my account on Twitter, it was a privately held company and Donald Trump as already an active user. If Musk takes it back to private ownership and allows Trump back on, Twitter will just be back to the way it was when I first joined. 

However, some things have changed. When Twitter founder Jack Dorsey was the owner, I had no strong feelings about him one way or another. He was just another technologist who founded a successful company, like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook. My feelings about Musk have definitely changed. When I first started reading about him, he seemed like a good guy who wanted use capitalism to fight climate change. His businesses were into building electric cars, home solar systems, charging systems, and batteries. I supported his efforts. Then he started tweeting ridiculous ideas about how to solve our traffic problems. He expressed disdain for public transit. Instead, the solution, according to Musk, is digging numerous tunnels where Teslas can speed around underground in single file. That doesn’t look like a traffic solution to me or a climate solution.

Then, he let his anti-union feelings become apparent, especially when the workers of his Tesla plant started organizing a labor union. They alerted the public to unsafe conditions in the plant and the high rate of injuries to workers being forced to speed up production. Musk is more concerned about the profitability of his company than the health of his workers. That came to a head during the pandemic, when he opposed California’s decision to shut down the Tesla plant to stop the spread of COVID-19. In his effort to defy the state, Musk found an ally in Donald Trump. We read that the two of them are friends now. 

Which brings me to Trump, the man who was kicked off Twitter and now is expected to come back under a Musk ownership. When I joined Twitter in 2009, I did not think much of Trump. He seemed to be a buffoon with a big ego who liked to pick fights with celebrities, like Rosie O’Donnell. I regret not taking him seriously, especially when he started his presidential campaign. When he got the Republican nomination, I went into full panic mode. I published a series of blog posts on why it would be dangerous to allow this man in the White House. I actively campaigned for Hillary Clinton, and defended her “basket of deplorables” statement that was misunderstood by many. Unfortunately, Hillary and I were proven correct, and the following four years were a disaster under the presidency of Donald Trump. If his total bungling of the pandemic wasn’t bad enough, his attempts to steal the election from Joe Biden with a violent insurrection on January 6, 2021 gives us ample evidence that Donald Trump remains a serious threat to our democracy. Even though he lost the popular vote twice and was impeached twice, Trump still has a large following of people who believe he won the 2020 election and Joe Biden is an illegitimate president. I have no doubt that Donald Trump will run again in 2024. I am not going to make the mistake of not taking him seriously again.

So what now? Should I leave Twitter? Should I wait and see what happens with Trump? One thing I did do immediately after hearing the news was end my subscription to Twitter Blue. I joined the new service out of curiosity. For $2.99 per month, I had the chance to delay posting a tweet. I would be able to cancel the tweet if I discovered a typo right after pressing the send button. It is not the same as an edit function, but it is the best that Twitter offers at this time. The $2.99 also offered advertising-free content. I justified the expense as a way to support the platform in the same way I subscribe to some of newspapers I read on a daily basis or occasionally sending a donation to Wikipedia. $2.99 per month is not much. Elon Musk sure doesn’t need it, so why should I give it to him? I can use that money to support someone else.

I will stay on Twitter, even if Trump returns. I won’t follow him. I didn’t follow him before he got kicked off. I am sure I will see his tweets, anyway, just as I saw them before. There will be plenty of retweets that will succeed in getting my attention. I will continue to take his threat to our democracy seriously. I will continue to call out his lies, especially the big lie that the election was stolen. I will again encourage people to vote, not just in 2024, but this year, too. We can’t just give up and let the Trump-controlled Republican Party take over Congress. We have to fight back. Our democracy is still under attack. We need every tool available to respond to that attack. That includes Twitter.

May 1, 2022 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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