Dear Elon...

Dear Elon…

You don’t know me, but I am a consumer of your products. I drive one of your cars, and I am a user of your newly acquired bullhorn Twitter. For Twitter, I am both a personal user as well as an advertiser.

I am responding to the letter you sent to me yesterday in my capacity as an advertiser. I was surprised to see that I agreed with much of what you said. Like when you stated that Twitter should not evolve into a “hellscape.” And that “advertising, when done right, can delight, entertain and inform you.”. And that Twitter, ultimately, “aspires to be the most respected advertising platform in the world that strengthens your brand and grows your enterprise.”

There are some serious ambitions in your letter --  ambitions that I, as an advertiser and as a user, wholeheartedly support. But let’s not mince words. The way you fulfill these ambitions will be judged by a few criteria that will be seen by the world.



Number one: Twitter’s leadership. A world-class advertising medium that will do the things you say good advertising can do, must have leadership in place that knows how to create the circumstances and context for that to happen. That means that toxic, unruly or otherwise revolting content must be managed and, as much as possible, eradicated. You should aim for the “kills 99.9% of harmful bacteria” claim that some kitchen cleaners advertise. Anything less won’t cut it.

Number two: brand impact. You rightfully point out that clicks ain’t it (speaking against “the relentless pursuit of clicks”). They ain’t it for advertisers for sure, although some of us still haven’t fully understood that.

It seems that some of Twitter’s (potential) users, however, very much think it might be “it” to pursue clicks, the more controversial, the better. I mean ,the lengths some will go to in that pursuit is frankly laughable. I recall a guy walking into a $44 billion office building with a sink. Or launching a $60,000 car into space with a dummy sitting in it. Click-bait much?

Controversial, hateful, divisive, trolling--  none of that makes for a great advertising environment (unless you sell pillows, apparently).

Brand impact cuts two ways: if you want the Twitter brand to stand for those lofty goals you articulated, it means you will need to manage and cultivate your own brand very, very carefully (both Twitter and you, yourself). Every action has consequences, including the actions from those you allow to use (abuse?) your brand. Building brands takes time. Destroying them takes far less time. A well-regarded brand will pretty much sell itself (see Tesla). A tainted brand is unsellable.

You also want your brand associated with other well-managed brands and content. It is all about the company you keep, right? If I see the kind of company I want to be seen with, I will gladly buy my way in (to your advertising platform). If it turns into a hellscape, the number of brands that will do so will be limited (to pillows?).

I hope these few suggestions make sense to you. Given your letter, I think I am preaching to the converted. This fills me with hope. But actions will speak louder than words. Good luck!

7 comments about "Dear Elon...".
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  1. Marion Murphy from MZM Productions, Inc., October 28, 2022 at 1:01 p.m.

    BRAVO !

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, October 28, 2022 at 3:16 p.m.

    Well said, Maarten.

  3. Maarten Albarda from Flock Associates (USA), October 28, 2022 at 4:42 p.m.

    Thank you Marion and Ed. One can only hope...

  4. Marion Murphy from MZM Productions, Inc., October 28, 2022 at 5:17 p.m.

    Apparently IQ45 just announced he will be back on Twitter on Monday.  Sounds like it is time to sign-off of Twitter permanently. It's not as if Elon needs the money, so he won't care.  See you all on TikTok?

  5. Ben B from Retired, October 28, 2022 at 11:52 p.m.

    I think Elon makes Twitter great and doesn't censors anyone since censorship is wrong I'm not on Twitter anymore as I was banned for life I didn't break the rules. It was largely because I didn't want to give my phone number I didn't give it to them they banned me for life. For those that don't like Donald Trump then just block him if you don't like the guy then don't leave Twitter forever if you don't like a person in my opinion.

  6. Dan Ciccone from STACKED Entertainment, October 31, 2022 at 8:52 a.m.

    Everything the guy touches turns into gold.  The amount of obsessing over what Elon "might" do is fun to watch.  So much concern and advice of how to implement best practices.

    Electric cars, a sattelite system, rockets that can land back on earth and be re-used...yeah, I think it's in Elon's wheelhouse to figure out how to work a few algorithms and no matter how much he improves Twitter, there will be those who still complain.


  7. George Parker from Parker Consultants, November 3, 2022 at 1:47 p.m.

    Musk has gone on record to say that he doesn't believe in advertising, which is why he's never spent a penny on it! What changed his mind? A billion here, a billion there?

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