Looks like I’ll have to take back my initial guess that Elon was just screwing around or trying to move share prices. The Twitter board has given a final recommendation to proceed with the takeover, and Elon has been talking to the employees and tossing around some very smart ideas.
The best ideas:
Senders should be able to limit the range of their ‘broadcast’.
Receivers should be able to set up their own censorship and priorities.
Limiting range is not a new idea. Before the HTML web forced everyone to be global, most computer nets were ‘intranets’ within a company or university, or within a group of people who were signed up for a forum. Many forums still have intranet features, but Twitter only gives you a choice of email-like private messages or full global broadcast.
Controlling your own censorship is new and brilliant. Browsers have filter addons, but they’re crude. They just watch for a few verbatim keywords. If you could make your own settings of Twitter’s internal algorithm, you could take advantage of everything Twitter knows about the text and images. You could prioritize what YOU want, and ban what YOU don’t want.
For example: With control of the semantic sensors in the algorithm, I could implement the Fairness Doctrine on my newsfeed. Every negative mention of ‘Democrats’ or ‘Republicans’ or any individual partisan politician would simply be replaced by ‘politicians’. Then it would be true.
The Twitter algorithm, like FB and Google, insists on feeding you what Twitter wants you to see, and blinding you to what Twitter doesn’t want you to see. Your whole perceptual universe is under Twitter’s control.
These changes won’t affect me, since I never signed up for Twitter. I get to see about 5 items at a time before the SIGN UP OR LOG IN! banner covers the screen, which is a pretty good addiction-preventing filter.
Later: The real question is whether these changes would bring me in, not whether they would affect me as a continued non-user. Elon’s goal is old-style profit business, not new-style share-value ESG business. He wants to attract more paying customers, not reject and disgust ‘product’ customers. Answer: If I can see from the outside that the changes are real, then yes, they would bring me in and I would pay.