‘Overleveraging Attention’

Jim Ray, on his Flicker Fusion blog:

John Gruber asks:

I’m curious what else you think has surprised Musk about Twitter thus far. Not what you think Musk is wrong about, per se, but what he is already surprised about.

I think Musk is genuniely surprised he hasn’t been able (so far) to bluster his way through this.

I mean this sincerely. In an economy driven by attention, Musk uses bluster like a CDO, it’s how he became the world’s richest man and how he managed to just about single-handedly turn a public company private and rule by fiat.

I think it’s surprising because Musk’s bluster not only generates the attention he needs but acts as an ace up his sleeve, a way to guarantee a win. Musk leveraged, and then weaponized, the absolute worst tendencies of the social-era internet — fandom, brigading, the financialization of everything, the final merge of politics and identity. And Twitter was his weapon of choice.

I think Ray is exactly right here. I also think Musk believes his bluster will soon win out. (And as Ray alludes to near the end, if you want a one-word answer to the question “How the fuck did Donald Trump get elected?” it’d be hard to do much better than “Bluster.”)

Wednesday, 23 November 2022