Will Elon Musk’s ultimatum price him Twitter?

Elon Musk (R) And Jared KushnerGetty Images

Elon Musk’s ballot, asking whether or not he ought to stand down because the boss of Twitter, appeared hours after he was photographed on the World Cup ultimate in Qatar.

That photograph tells us two issues: firstly, Musk was standing beside Jared Kushner – the son-in-law of Donald Trump, the previous US President whom Musk has tried, and failed, to entice again to the social community he now owns.

Musk is aware of {that a} bombastic Trump tweet would probably present a controversial, however ‘jackpot’ second for Twitter – and convey enormous audiences to the platform.

Trump is aware of this too, in fact, and has his personal agenda – particularly his personal social community, Truth Social, to which he has to this point remained loyal.

Pardon the pun however Musk’s trump card stays unplayed.

The second level concerning the photograph? It proves Musk was geographically within the neighborhood of Saudi Arabia – home to Twitter’s greatest buyers. Did he drop in, and did they – together with tens of millions of people that use Twitter every single day – pose some severe questions on his management in the course of the previous couple of months?

And then there’s the matter of the ballot itself. How we view the outcomes – 57% of the 17.5m votes forged had been in favour of Musk standing down as Twitter CEO – will depend on what we expect he wished to achieve by it.

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The ballot has both spectacularly backfired – if Musk was in search of an ego-boost – or it has been an enormous success in getting him off the fairly giant hook he has discovered himself caught on since his buy of Twitter was, principally, pressured by way of.

Let’s not overlook that the Tesla founder spent months making an attempt to get out of shopping for this firm.

As I write, Musk’s Twitter feed is uncharacteristically silent.

That will not be the case for lengthy, undoubtedly. He has a monitor file for listening to polls. After all, he put to the vote whether or not or not he should purchase Twitter within the first place, when this whole circus started.

In the previous, he has additionally requested Twitter customers to assist him resolve whether or not to promote beneficial Tesla inventory.

It’s an unorthodox means of doing huge enterprise, to say the least. But with Elon Musk, now we have grown to count on the sudden.

The subsequent CEO

So… if he does what he is been informed by the folks and quits – who takes over?

He’s been a one-man band since his arrival on the social media firm. There’s been no common point out of a deputy, or somebody with whom he has labored intently. Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg had Sheryl Sandberg, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos had Andy Jassy (now CEO). Musk has no apparent Twitter wingman.

Even these senior figures he initially noticed as allies, like Head of Trust and Integrity Yoel Roth, have since left the enterprise and criticised Musk’s management.

But earlier than you mud off your CV, take into account for a second the job description of Twitter CEO. You have the world’s most demanding boss; you inherit a demoralised workforce – half of it just lately laid off and the rest beneath instruction to work lengthy hours. The funds are bleak in keeping with Musk: he says Twitter is working at a lack of $4m per day.

And then there may be the legacy of chaotic decision-making which has outlined current months at Twitter. Musk’s approach to moderation was decidedly private. The “digital town square” he claimed he wished to create was quickly starting to really feel extra such as you had walked into his home and had been making an attempt to not knock over the ornaments.

Policies got here and went seemingly on a whim.

Any future chief additionally faces the problem of making an attempt to take care of the security of some 300 million Twitter customers, posting in actual time – together with content material which may be abusive, offensive and, generally, unlawful.

Throw into that blend the unpredictability of Musk himself – and the continuing danger that his subsequent tweet might trigger untold reputational harm and/or regulatory scrutiny. After all, he was banned from tweeting about Tesla after inflicting the share value to fall when he mentioned it was over-valued.

Then once more, you may say that the one means is up.

A brand new CEO who’s much less intent on relentless revolution may calm buyers and enhance worker morale. Currently each second tweet in my timeline is folks threatening to depart Twitter or complaining about it. A social community obsessive about itself is arguably not fulfilling its potential.

Space fanatic Elon Musk thought Twitter wanted a little bit of rocket gas and he is definitely offered that.

But maybe he is now studying the arduous means that social media, and the individuals who carry it to life, should not machines. Perhaps the way forward for this troubled agency lies not within the stars, however with toes firmly on strong floor. If he’ll enable it.

You can comply with Zoe Kleinman on Twitter @zsk.