Red Banyan CEO Evan Nierman Discusses Musk’s Twitter Takeover in The Hill
When it comes to Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover, Red Banyan CEO Evan Nierman urges patience.
In an article in The Hill, Evan says Twitter users should wait to see what kind of changes Musk actually institutes before jumping ship.
Just days after the transaction closed, many users are already grousing loudly about Musk’s proposed subscription fees for verified accounts, even though the platform has been losing millions every year.
Evan believes Musk will have surprises for both Conservatives and Liberals, who are closing watching his every move.
In time, Musk is likely to revitalize and revamp Twitter, improve its technology and turn it into a well-run business, Evan notes. He believes users should give Musk a chance, noting that it is far too soon to say exactly how the takeover will ultimately shake out.
Twitter needs to change, so let’s give Musk a chance
BY EVAN NIERMAN, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR – 11/04/22 6:00 PM ET
Since billionaire Elon Musk acquired the popular social media platform, the list of big-name celebrities fleeing Twitter keeps growing. “Grey’s Anatomy” creator Shonda Rhimes, R&B star Toni Braxton, comic book artist Erik Larson, Showtime drama creator Brian Koppelman, and Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Sara Bareilles are some of the latest users to bail out.
But the rest of us shouldn’t jump ship just yet.
Instead, Twitter users should wait to see what kind of changes Musk actually institutes. Just days after the transaction closed, many users are already grousing loudly about Musk’s proposed subscription fees for verified accounts, even though the platform has been losing millions every year.
This preemptive flight of high-profile personalities spotlights the depth of the problems that are endemic to Twitter. User abandonment is just another indication that people continue to self-select their own news and social media platforms based solely on the premise that they want to be served a steady diet of content with which they already are predisposed to agree.
Conservatives largely hailed Musk’s takeover while many liberals quaked in their boots — but Musk will probably have surprises for both sides.
Already, he has disappointed some and energized others by refusing to immediately re-instate Twitter users whose accounts were banned, saying he needed a “clear process” to do so. His statement means suspended users — including former President Donald Trump — will likely not rejoin the site before the midterm elections.
Twitter users should actually give Musk some time to get his new house in order, rather than being so reactive and in a rush to flee. In his new job as Twitter boss, Musk must address a range of complicated and important questions — not least of which is how to get the platform to make money.
The financially challenged company reportedly lost $270 million in the quarter ending in June, and fell short of revenue expectations for the second quarter in a row. Musk’s purchase will require $1 billion in debt-service payments each year.
It’s a product with limitless potential and possibility that has been financially hampered by mismanagement. Which is why it’s the perfect acquisition for the wildly successful Musk. After all, he is an entrepreneur and business magnate who co-founded groundbreaking businesses including PayPal, Tesla and SpaceX. If anyone can bring a company with stunted financials but a jaw-droppingly huge global userbase back from the brink and translate it into business success, it’s Musk.
Based on Musk’s past success with other companies, I think we can safely expect that in short order, Twitter is going to be turned into a much more valuable product and much more effective company. It will likely become a profitable, well-run business.
Yet Musk must remain cognizant of the pervasively negative impact social media can have on our youth. Studies have consistently shown that social media can exacerbate mental health issues and expose users to criminal activity and unsafe content. It has also been weaponized to destroy the credibility and reputations of people across the political spectrum. And that’s never what social media was supposed to be about.
Ideally – and hopefully – the Musk era will mark a turning point in online dialogue in the realm of social media writ large. He is establishing a content moderation council and has vowed to reduce the number of fake Twitter profiles that have bedeviled the social media platform for years.
In time, Musk is likely to revitalize and revamp Twitter, improve its technology and turn it into a well-run business. But that’s just table stakes. Musk is someone who prefers to shoot for the moon — or Mars.
Seen through another lens, his takeover has the potential to fundamentally shift the tenor of talk on social media from something pervasively negative into something more akin to what it was originally envisioned to be — a place where people could exchange ideas and speak freely regardless of whether their views were popular or challenged mainstream mores.
A word to the wise who are considering fleeing the platform: give Musk a chance. It is far too soon to say exactly how the takeover will ultimately shake out.
The potential reward of a more authentic and less toxic social media town square is worth the risk.
Evan Nierman is CEO of crisis PR firm Red Banyan and author of “Crisis Averted: PR Strategies to Protect Your Reputation and the Bottom Line.”