I wouldn’t be surprised if one day in the not-so-distant future, we all tap on the Twitter icon, and the app fails to load. Ever since Elon Musk took over the company, he has experienced a series of farcical face plants that demonstrate that he knows next to nothing about the workings of the company he bought for an astronomical $44 billion. Every large organization has dark corners and hidden institutional knowledge that outsiders may never fully grasp. That’s not what is driving the chaos of Musk’s leadership at Twitter. As evidenced by his demand that engineers boost his tweets, being among the most popular posters on the site seems to be one of Musk’s goals. There is a huge amount of personal ego riding on this for Musk, and this playing out on the app and translating into high levels of engagement seems to be vitally important to him. He has gotten into it with former employees on the site and even mocked a disability and named it as a good reason for a firing. The employment lawyers likely got into his ear, and Musk apologized. These and other incidents have produced months of upheaval and drama and demonstrated the Twitter CEO’s lack of discipline and self-control. This all leaves me wondering: Is Elon Musk OK?
I don’t think he is because each of his ego-induced paroxysms at Twitter exposes him as a spectacular bungler — a huge blow to his massively inflated ego. I won’t lie and say some of the mess hasn’t been entertaining at times, but it’s mostly just embarrassing now. Take the company’s recent announcement about its verification process: “On April 1st, we will begin winding down our legacy verified program and removing legacy verified checkmarks. To keep your blue checkmark on Twitter, individuals can sign up for Twitter Blue.” Twitter’s verification program was introduced to prevent impersonation and to allow users to easily identify sources that had undergone some measure of vetting. With Twitter Blue, any Tom, Dick or Harry can be “verified.” When Twitter Blue was first introduced, an account impersonating pharmaceutical giant Eli Lily a announced that the company would be making insulin free. The breach drove down the share price of the company and other pharmaceutical stocks. Smart Twitter users predicted a corporate impersonator would cause trouble. Musk and his team, on the other hand, didn’t think the scenario through.