Elon Musk is one of the most talked about people in the world, the richest person in the world ($266 billion), and the man behind Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink and now Twitter (as reported in Jeff Bezos’s Washington Post† His seemingly spontaneous and unfiltered tweets (including calling a cave explorer who rescued incarcerated children in Thailand a “pedo man” and challenging Vladimir Putin to a “fight”) led to both The Economist and The New York Times calling him as Silicon Valley’s Donald Trump. Whatever Musk plans to take over Twitter, it’s clear that unlike Trump, he won’t be banned from it now.
Shortly after purchasing Twitter, Musk noted that “a social media platform’s policy is good when the most extreme 10% of left and right are equally unhappy.” While there is no reliable data to measure what the current baseline is on Twitter, Musk’s statement is a promise to uncensor Twitter from any ideological police control and embrace an uncensored expression in its users, reminiscent of its own tweet habits.
The question is how the remaining 80% of users feel: Will Musk’s Twitter be? anti-woke up? Will it stop banning nudity, violence and porn, which are still a significant part of Twitter content, users and bots? After all, Musk has described himself as a “free speech absolutist,” so perhaps we’ll also see a spike in hate speech, trolling, cyberbullying, and all the antisocial behaviors that, despite his best efforts, have already been ubiquitous on Twitter since 2016. to curb.
Given Musk’s unpredictability, it’s safest not to make any predictions about the future of Twitter and what its fundamental impact on the social platform will be. An interesting question, however, is whether he can transform Twitter to make its users more open-minded, as there is broad consensus (including over 10% of the far right and left) that the combination of tribalism, algorithmic news feeds, and the digital filter bubble or echo chamber could create a rational and sane kind into a radical and obnoxious creature.
For example, Twitter’s algorithms could be tweaked to force people out of their digital cocoon. Imagine if your news feed was modified not to optimize your confirmation preference, telling you more about what you do want to to hear, but more of what you are not to belong. You might expect this to be a bit tortuous at first, but it can eventually help people understand the perspectives of others (and let’s face it, the ratio between real and fake news is probably evenly split on both sides of the political spectrum. ). Experiments have shown fairly high success rates of achieving this when they temporarily force people to pop their filter bubbles. Twitter could be scaling this to a whole new level.
Being more open-minded requires you to be less self-centered, which is generally more difficult if you have a narcissistic personality. In the absence of reliable psychometric evidence about Elon Musk, it is best not to estimate his score. But his public personality meets most textbook requirements for a high-functioning narcissist: attention-seeking, self-important, overconfident, unempathetic, and megalomaniac — even if he has the talents to support himself.
It’s not hard to imagine Musk’s ideal version of Twitter paying more attention to him than anything else. Might be a good excuse to make some users who are more open-minded is to persuade those who dislike him to value him more, or at least pay attention to him. According to Scott Galloway, Musk is much less popular (and less popular) among Twitter users than non-users. There’s certainly a good chance of winning hearts and minds (unless Musk’s haters are simply replaced by fanbots, which apparently already account for a quarter of Tesla’s favorable tweets.)
Perhaps the greatest challenge to open-mindedness — not so much for Musk, but for a good chunk of Twitter users — would be to re-admit Donald Trump to the social media platform. Although Trump has already stated that he will not returning to Twitter, even if invited, would be a real success story for Musk to make Trump change his mind, and in the process get Twitter users to embrace the absolutism of free speech. Psychologically, this might be a greater achievement than going to Mars, self-driving cars and even flying cars. Instead, we can keep getting 140 characters.
Finally, if we wanted real innovation, something Musk undoubtedly excels at, we could envision an extreme approach to freedom of speech and open-mindedness that doesn’t even depend on people’s intent or self-presentation. Maybe connect Twitter to Neuralink so that all our thoughts are continuously and automatically reported on Twitter, no matter how dark, smart or stupid. While this doesn’t necessarily lead to producing completely different content than what we see on the platform today, it would at least be more efficient.
This post Elon Musk’s Twitter Could Make Users More Open-minded was original published at “https://www.fastcompany.com/90746020/this-is-elon-musks-opportunity-to-make-twitter-users-more-open-minded?partner=rss&utm_source=rss&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=rss+fastcompany&utm_content=rss”