Dear Elon Musk: You don’t know me, but I am one of the people in the marketing industry that has advised in favor of not using X as an advertising medium. Almost exactly a year ago today, you wrote publicly to advertisers about your Twitter take-ver. At that time, you had just taken the reigns of Twitter, and the market was very nervous. So you wrote a letter to address these concerns.
I wrote back to you on this very platform on Oct. 28, 2022.
We are now of course a year further into the future. Twitter is now X. And sadly, X has evolved into a hellscape, both in content as well as how it is run.
I am still in awe of the cars that you produce and am happy to own one. I am equally impressed by Space X’s approach that allows for failures to lead to what you call “approximation” -- i.e., proximity to the success destination. It is in equal measures spectacular (blowing up the largest rocket ever flown) and impressive (the first one exploded had a "rapid unscheduled disassembly" on ignition, the second one did the same, but 92 miles up from earth).
All of this points to a capacity to create and lead successful teams, singularly focused, spectacularly funded, empowered to iterate (and fail) and driven to success. Why then is this not happening at X? Why do you choose to almost forcefully aim for X’s "rapid unscheduled disassembly" of your own making?
At the one-year anniversary of your letter, I went and revisited it. It was actually a good letter, and I told you so in my response at the time. On page one you explain “that it is important for the future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence.” You go on to disparage the state of media who are “in pursuit of relentless clicks” and cater to “polarized extremes” to get said clicks for money while killing the opportunity for dialogue.
I was, and still am, fully on board with page one. You then continue by stating that you didn’t buy Twitter for the money but for your love of humanity. A year into your ownership, I think it is fair to say that you clearly succeeded at the “not making money” part, but I question that second part. In fact, the current state of X, and your actions to direct and govern it, are diametrically opposed to “debate in a healthy manner” without “polarized extremes” and without “resorting to violence.” X has not benefited humanity in any recognizable way and has certainly done very little for the love of humanity.
You also wrote that “Twitter aspires to be the most respected advertising platform in the world.” In my previous response, I explained that actions will speak louder than words, and that advertisers would look at what Twitter (then) and X (now) will do to demonstrate it offers a safe and perhaps even desirable place to be for their carefully crafted messages. Sadly, the list of strikes against X as an advertising platform is far, far longer than the list of elements in its favor.
In your 2022 letter you stated that “failure is a very real possibility." One year later, I think it is time to conclude that failure is here. X is no place for advertisers -- unless they sell pillows.