Thought Feeder social media photo for Episode 47. A blue bird sits perched over a background on fire. White text reads “Twitter is on Fire.”

Episode 47: Twitter is on Fire

Thought Feeder
Thought Feeder
Episode 47: Twitter is on Fire
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It’s Elon’s Twitter now. What does that mean for the rest of us? Especially those of us in Higher Ed?

Joel Goodman: So, uh, $20 J.S., $20.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Or make it eight. How about, how about eight? As Elon said to Stephen King. So if you’re just joining us, welcome to Thought Feeder. This is a very special podcast, episode, talking about the future of Twitter now that Elon Musk has purchased it and has efficiently gone through with it, and what universities and brands and individuals are gonna do. What’s our next move? Because things on Twitter seem kind of shaky right now. Musk has said that, it’s possible it’ll be $20 a month to maintain verification.

Joel Goodman: I can’t, I mean, I can’t, I was gonna say I can’t believe the hubris, but I can believe the hubris. But I think it’s, it’s almost funny, uh, if it weren’t so sad that Elon Musk thinks that celebrities with blue checks, especially like the ones that like, you know, actually have like huge, huge followings, care enough about Twitter.

Or think Twitter is more valuable to their brand than, you know, a decade or whatever of…

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Like the $20 per a month to Stephen King is, is nothing right?

Joel Goodman: It’s the principle of the thing.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Yeah, the principle of it, like the fact that people come to Twitter because the content is there and you’re charging somebody who’s making that content, uh, for that verification. He does not need that. He actually needs it so people don’t impersonate him, which is that the point of it.

And I, I, I honestly think, and I will say this, I am a proponent of, I, I, I believe verification is worth more than pe. Most people think it is. It’s not just a blue check mark next to your name. Uh, for, for universities and brands, it, it helps prevent, um, impersonation accounts, which I have run into many times from university perspective.

Uh, it also gets, you noticed, like you, you get a separate set of tools. If you have a verified account, you have a separate bar that says, verified it. Anybody who interacts with you that’s verified shows up in that panel. And as also as. Individual who is not verified but has a large following and gets a lot of followers pretty often and it’s no other way around saying that, like I can’t keep up with everybody that follows me to, to figure out who to follow back.

But when I get a follower that’s got a blue check mark next to my, their name, I sure as heck go check it ’em out and see who they are. So there’s value to having that blue check mark next to your name, but is it worth $20 a month? Nah,

Joel Goodman: Well, and, and that’s the, that’s the, the whole problem is that Twitter, Makes its advertising dollars off of the content that gets people to come onto the platform. And so if you’re gonna start charging anyone for, you know, for something like verification, like that’s, that’s not the right way to do it.

Like, I mean, this is a problem. Twitter is not, has never been a sustainable business and it won’t be a sustainable business. And it’s

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Verification aside, verification. It is clearly evident that Musk is making this up as he goes along.

Joel Goodman: Oh.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: like, he has no plan. He, he really didn’t wanna buy it. It’s, it’s just like a, a, a, a joke that went was, became real and. He doesn’t, I don’t think he’s got a plan, which makes it incredibly difficult for brands who use Twitter universities, who use Twitter to, to communicate with, with their stakeholders.

It makes it incredibly difficult to plan what’s next and, and, and how, how they should, should move forward with the platform, um, or if they should move forward with the platform. My recommendation to any higher ed social media managers that are listening right now is wait and.

Joel Goodman: Don’t pay $20

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Don’t. Well, I, I, If you lose, I, I, I think it’s valuable for schools to maintain their verification.

Like, wait, wait and see what happens and, and, and we’ll cross that bridge when that actually

Joel Goodman: Well, maybe that’s the whole strategy. It’s, it’s all these, all these people that have been forced into needing to maintain, that’s, they’re gonna get fleeced, you

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Well, and that’s the question too. I think universities need to look at their Twitter accounts. Because there’s no one universal answer. When I was at Texas State, that was a Twitter campus. It was very active. Um, students were on it constantly. Then when I moved to the University of Arkansas, Twitter was dead there.

You couldn’t pay students to get on Twitter. I think every, every university of social media manager needs to look at their Twitter account and go, Is this something we really need or not? Is this something that our students use? Is it something that they’re gonna continue to use? Um, I, I. and even those that are robust campuses, it might be time to start thinking about kind of quiet quitting until things smooth out a bit.

Like I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t plan out any sort of Twitter campaign that, that, that’s reliant on Twitter right now.

Joel Goodman: I mean the aver, they don’t have a very robust advertising infrastructure anyway, and so the advertisers they do have are probably gonna jump ship. Here’s a question though, now that verification is, is pay to play. What stops any old person from impersonating you if they pay the $20 to get a blue check mark?

Jon-Stephen Stansel: And, and that comes back to the wait and see, cuz we, we don’t know what that’s gonna look like yet. From, from, from what it looks like. To me. It sounds like it’s $20 to maintain.

Joel Goodman: Oh, so it’s probably like 1500 to register

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Right. Or, or who knows? It might be like it’s, I, I, it almost feels like you ever get your name in one of those, like who’s who?

Directories, like you’re listed in the who’s who of top, top students and, and the United States. Please pay us $300 to get your secure copy of the, the book. You know, That’s what it feels like to me. Like, Oh, you’ll get verifi. But it also comes with a bill. Uh, again, wait and see if we, I, I don’t know what it’s gonna look like.

I don’t know how much it’s gonna cost, but, um, I just think it’s a bad idea for a revenue stream. And, and I think verification has, there’s a, there’s a lot wrong with Twitter verification right now, and who gets verified and who doesn’t. And I also think Twitter needs to go through their verified list and like your, your verification should be up for review every year.

but charging people for it is just not it.

Joel Goodman: Yeah. One of the things I’m struggling with in general is I don’t want to give Elon Musk any money, like from an ethical perspective.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: know, I, I, you know, for a long time, like before Musk kind of went off the deep end, I was like, Man, I’d love to have a Tesla. I wanna vote with my dollars and, and, and put money towards electric cars. And, and, and that is an innovation. And now I’m like, even if I could afford one, I wouldn’t buy one.

Joel Goodman: I wouldn’t buy a Tesla.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: So why would I give money to Twitter for the same reason?

Joel Goodman: I don’t agree with, I don’t agree with his politics. I don’t agree with, uh, his like, personal code of ethics and the way he treats women and the way he treats men and the way he treats any other human, honestly, and the way that he handled firings, uh, of, of the staff at Twitter. Like I, and so, like, you know, I’m, I’m a Twitter blue subscriber, which I think you are too.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Mm-hmm.

Joel Goodman: I don’t really want that $3 or whatever it

Jon-Stephen Stansel: It’s not worth it, like

Joel Goodman: at this point because I, I don’t want that cash going into, into his coffers. And like I, and, and I, and I like personally, I think they’re, that’s one of those things that we’re thinking about at Bravery Media is, uh, Kevin are a, Carl, our producer, uh, here on this show.

He and I were talking about this and trying to figure out what to do, and we still have some deliberation to do, but like, , how can a, a university or an organization that, uh, subscribes to a certain, uh, you know, ethical position or, or, or morality like reasonably make the decision to like continue with this platform when the money is going to someone that is, uh, I, I think actually kind of evil in the world.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: But like, we struggle with that. I mean, meta like

Joel Goodman: It’s.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Zuckerberg is, I, I, I would, I would honestly say worse in many, many, many ways.

Joel Goodman: I think they’re probably about the same. They have very similar, uh, destabilizing of democracy bets, uh, in the way that they operate. But yeah, it’s just now mu, Now Musk actually has a social platform to execute on or, or destroy what we’ll see happens.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: but also as a utility, like throw marketing for your university aside. Not even think about that. Think of it as a, as a, a communications tool for not just students like public. It, it, it is incredibly valuable, you know, and, and you need to maintain it somehow. So you kinda have to balance that of, like, we’ve always talked about this as said about social media.

You’re, you’re building your house on borrowed land, but the land is so valuable, you need to be in that space somehow. I don’t have a solution of, like, I keep

Joel Goodman: it’s a hard.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: it’s like, let’s see what happens, Evaluate. You know, where your school stands and how much you need Twitter, what other options you have?

Do you have, are, are your students active on other networks? Um, you know, a lot of people are pointing towards Discord and I, I think Discord opens up a whole other heap of problems and, and it doesn’t provide the same, There’s a unique utility that Twitter has that no other social platform does.

Joel Goodman: Yeah, and that’s, I think that’s the only reason why it’s stuck around, like considering the Web 2.0 social networks that have stuck around. and, and haven’t changed that much like Twitter had longevity. I mean, I think that’s why I’m so like, kind of heartbroken, . I don’t know. That’s probably an exaggeration.

Maybe it’s why I’m so pissed off that Elon Musk bought. It was because it’s been, it’s the platform that I’ve been on the longest, you know, when, when the MySpace and, and Fensters of the world all, all went away.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: If anyone else had purchased Twitter, it would’ve been very different. Cuz I would say like, okay, even if, if Zuckerberg bought it, I’d be like, you know what? At the end of the day they’re, they’re, they’re gonna want to keep it from, they’re not gonna wanna lose their investment, right? Um, they may do things to try and make money or whatnot, but at the end of the day, they’re gonna try.

Those users there with Musk, he’s such a wild card. Like the guy could drop $44 billion to still be okay. So like to him, he could just play around with it, which is totally evil because people’s livelihoods depend on Twitter. There’s, it’s a whole company of people who worked very hard and are very talented and, um, he.

He could just, you know, he bought it as a joke. He could shut it down as a joke. Like, it, it, he, he, he’s the meme ceo. Like I, I’m very nervous about it. I love Twitter. It is my home on the web. Um, but I’m looking at other platforms. I’m spending more time on LinkedIn, which I don’t like as much as Twitter.

Cause I don’t like, I, you know, Twitter, I can, I can talk about social media marketing one tweet and then talk. Comic books or make a dumb joke the next, I can’t really do that on LinkedIn and I don’t wanna be on camera on, on TikTok every day. So like, there’s something special about Twitter as it’s like the one remaining network where you can just put words, , you know, just text and, and, and, and if, if they’re good enough, you can grow.

Maybe another place on the web will develop. You know, people are, every time something like this happens, people are like, Oh, I’m going over to Mastodon.

Joel Goodman: Doesn’t, It’s not stick, it’s not sticky. It’s a clone. It’s just not a very good clone and. And there’s no one there. So,

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Yeah. No, no real actual advice other than like, all, all you can do too is, is, is wait. You have to have to ride out the, the Elon Storm, Tropical Storm, Elon.

Joel Goodman: but, you know, do explore other platforms and make sure that you’ve got, uh, strategies in place for if there is an eventuality where Twitter just implodes and gets shut down. Cause you know, We want to be more proactive than reactive, as much as we can.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: May start, start looking at those Facebook pages again.

Joel Goodman: Oh no. Oh, see, and this, this is Microsoft’s chance to open up LinkedIn and make it something that’s actually useful for people that aren’t just college graduates.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: know, if, if I, if I were Zuckerberg right now, I would open up my algorithm to, to brands. Like every post you, you’d think organic, reach out the Wazu, you post a photo on Instagram, everybody’s seeing that photo, just, just. Just say, Hey, you don’t like Twitter anymore. Come over here for a little bit. The water’s fine.

Here, here, here you go. And people would flood outta Twitter.

Joel Goodman: It’s true.

Jon-Stephen Stansel: That’s why I should be CEO of Facebook, right?

Joel Goodman: That is exactly what you wouldn’t want that job,

Jon-Stephen Stansel: No, I would not. I’d like the money, but, so, uh, yeah. I wish I had better advice for our listeners that I, I, I think one, don’t panic. It feels like, like you should, like, don’t, don’t just shut down your Twitter in, in protest right now.

Just I step back from it for a little bit, see what happens and then, then go from there. Uh, I mean, that’s all we can do. I’d, I’d love to like say, Oh yeah, just, just quit and protest and leave, but, There’s still utility there and, um, we get, we gotta gotta wait it out,

Joel Goodman: Well, thanks for listening. Uh, this was a special edition special short edition

Jon-Stephen Stansel: and I just hit 25,000 followers on Twitter

Joel Goodman: Uh, well done JS just in time

Jon-Stephen Stansel: just in time for it to collapse.

Joel Goodman: Uh, if you like the show, you can find us on Apple Podcasts and Spotify and Stitcher and Amazon and Google and everywhere else. So, uh, we would love a review, uh, share it with a friend if you think they would like it.

And you can visit thought feeder pod.com. And you know, if you really wanna follow us on Twitter in these dark, dark days, we are at Thought Feed Pod. Js, good to see

Jon-Stephen Stansel: Good seeing you as well.