[Editor’s note: Steve Burgess is an accredited spin doctor with a PhD in Centrifugal Rhetoric from the University of SASE, situated on the lovely campus of PO Box 7650, Cayman Islands. In this space he dispenses PR advice to politicians, the rich and famous, the troubled and well-heeled, the wealthy and gullible.]
Dear Dr. Steve,
Last week, Meta, parent company of Facebook, launched a new social media service called Threads that appears designed to compete directly with Twitter. Should we switch?
First, let us pause to pay tribute to Elon Musk. He bought Twitter for more than the GNP of Zimbabwe and promptly set about turning the little blue bird into a dodo. Musk is on track to become a truly totemic figure — a human Hindenburg. His is the name that will forever be invoked as shorthand for epic screw-ups. People will wonder how business failure was referenced before the phrase “musking it up” was coined.
Twitter was a titan before Musk started his monkeying. He took a social media channel that had become almost an essential public service and transformed it into a $44-billion game of Jenga. Keep tinkering, piling stupid upon stupid, until the collapse. Elon won't rest until Twitter is running down children on the street. He will not be satisfied until sending a tweet causes your garage door to malfunction and your pacemaker to speed up.
But don’t worry friends. Our saviour has arrived! Riding over the hill, getting closer, it’s the hero we've prayed for, it’s... Mark Zuckerberg. Mark Zuckerberg. Swell. We live in a timeline where we are rescued from Hannibal Lector by Thanos. Hooray. Wendy’s here to save us from the Burger King.
Zuckerberg's new Twitter clone is called Threads. Nice of the Facebook mogul to take time out from trying to stab Canadian media to death to launch this venture. Unlike many SpaceX launches, this one did not explode on the pad. Threads added over 100 million users in five days. But then, Threads has the benefit of an established link to Meta’s Instagram, which gives IG users a running start on building a Threads following. It was like launching from orbit.
So now Musk has Twitter, Zuckerberg has Threads, and Donald Trump has Truth Social. This might cause a revision of psychology textbooks. Early signs of psychopathy will henceforth include lack of empathy, cruelty to animals and owning a social messaging network. (Interesting to note that the official medical designation for what we lay people refer to as psychopathy is Anti-Social Personality Disorder. Indicated, perhaps, by possession of a social network.)
Say what you like about Zuckerberg, but in the world of social media messaging CEOs he is beginning to look like a very stable genius. And speaking of saying what you like about Zuckerberg, Musk has been doing just that.
Those of you who cling to the idea that Musk is a genius mastermind might want to stop reading now. On Sunday Musk posted two tweets aimed at his rival. The first read: “Zuck is a cuck.” The second: “I propose a literal dick measuring contest."
Dr. Steve would like to pause here to register a complaint. How can a satirist do his job when the satirical targets begin self-catering? How does the small, independent parodist earn a living when the likes of Musk insist on doing the job themselves? As of now, a parody version of Musk would resemble a mature, sensible adult. Where's the fun in that?
Musk had earlier challenged Zuckerberg to a cage match (although the coward waited for Tina Turner to die first). Now he's pulling his pants down in public. If Musk had started Twitter, you shudder to think what the logo would have been.
Twitter users who are still around (Dr. Steve among them) are betting Musk will self-destruct before the app does and Twitter will revive under new management. It’s still an important and useful service, despite the tycoon-child’s shit-flinging antics.
Perhaps Musk will move on to new toys. Although that too is a scary thought. He has long expressed interest in Mars. Which raises the question: Is it possible to fuck up Mars? What else could you do to it? Watch out, undiscovered Martian microbes. Someone is coming to musk you up.