How About Nothing -- Is Nothing Good Enough For You?

I updated my wallpaper on X this week (see above) for the first time in a long time, though I don't expect to be on the platform much longer if Elon Musk actually goes through with his plan requiring all users to pay for the right to be on it.

Frankly, I never got much value out of Twitter, and I've gotten increasingly less value out of X, but have stuck around mainly because I have to cover this stuff.

I also find the notion that X plans to charge me for the right to monetize me an absurd model for anyone who understands the economics of social media, and underscores the what a poor job X's management has done monetizing what should be a precious asset: my identity, intent signals, and value to the brands trying to reach me.

Oh, that's right, most major brands have stopped doing that on X. And for good reasons. It's a shit show. Beginning at the very top.



I long ago lost interest in most of the users X has been pushing through my feed, and frankly no longer learn anything new from the platform, so I find it ironic when Musk periodically posts that authentic journalism is "yesterday's news."

In fact, @elonmusk is one of the few users I actively follow, and it's mainly because I have to cover the business implications of whatever he knee-jerks next.

And while I often wrestle with his motives for promoting so much BS -- is he just doing it for shits and giggles?, is he genuinely trying to gaslight us?, is he working on behalf of hostile forces hoping to undermine civilized society, or is he just a douchebag? -- but I've concluded the answer is all of the above.

So as I wait for X to kick me off the platform, I figured I'd weigh in on NewsGuard's well-time analysis of the major culprits using the platform to spread false narratives about the war between Israel and Hamas.

The analysis, which you've probably already seen by now, leverages NewsGuard's proprietary database for tracking major false or unsubstantiated narratives circulating on digital news and information sites. It found that three-quarters of them are emanating from X's blue check "verified" accounts -- the ones anyone who pays $8 a month to the platform can use to amplify anything they want, and get a share of ad revenues to boot.

If you want to learn more about how the economics of X encourage that, read my last "Red, White & Blog" post here, but the bottom line is that it works. And NewsGuard's analysis is just empirical proof of that.

In an apparent attempt to get out in front of NewsGuard's news, @elonmusk reposted a user's rant about a "plot" between Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales and NewsGuard to get governments to "bankrupt alternative news."

Put aside what the notion of "alternative news" actually means (but think about it), Musk commented, "This is crazy!" in his re-post.

To which I replied, "It is crazy. So why are you amplifying it?"

So far, he hasn't answered me.

1 comment about "How About Nothing -- Is Nothing Good Enough For You?".
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  1. Scott Kauffman from ALS Association, October 20, 2023 at 10:31 a.m.

    You had me at "all of the above." Bravo!

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