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By Kathleen J. Anderson for The Political Insider
After he purchased 9.2% of the company’s shares, Twitter announced that Elon Musk would join the Twitter Board of Directors.
Twitter CEO Parag Arawal tweeted the following regarding the decision:
He’s both a passionate believer and intense critic of the service which is exactly what we need on @Twitter, and in the boardroom, to make us stronger in the long-term. Welcome Elon!
— Parag Agrawal (@paraga) April 5, 2022
Interestingly, it isn’t a secret that the two don’t see eye-to-eye when it comes to the role of the social media site and free speech.
Speculations on why Elon purchased Twitter and what he will do in the future have ranged from making the algorithm public, reinstating President Trump’s account, and firing the CEO.
Shortly after Babylon Bee was suspended for naming Rachel Levine ‘Man of the Year,’ Twitter received criticism from Elon. So he did what he does best when engaging with his over 80 million followers: he polled the audience.
The consequences of this poll will be important. Please vote carefully.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 25, 2022
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An Odd Bird
Everyone agrees that Elon Musk is not your typical man, let alone your typical billionaire. Instead, he is a man with a penchant for cyber punk-pop music, sharing perhaps too much about his gastrointestinal tract, and engaging in Meme Wars. He certainly doesn’t strike everyone’s fancy.
The part I find fascinating about Musk is that he’s a man ahead of his time. Easily a member of the same crew as Leonardo DaVinci, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, and the Wright Brothers, Elon Musk’s commitment to his vision and inability to comprehend most businessmen’s typical throttle-back mentality is what makes him enthralling.
Elon Musk only knows how to think big. All his ventures surround his dream to save the planet and make mankind an interplanetary species. Among the eclectic topics one would find him musing about or recommending people read more about include robots, solar energy, cryptocurrency, brain-computer implants, anti-asteroid planetary defense, building a base on the Moon, and sending people to Mars.
Then COVID Hit
These days, just about any story will have a COVID chapter to include – and Elon’s is, I think, how we came to this week’s events.
When the country was facing government-imposed lockdowns, Elon quickly criticized how willing we were to sacrifice our freedoms.
Tesla is restarting production today against Alameda County rules. I will be on the line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 11, 2020
If you scare people enough, they will demand removal of freedom. This is the path to tyranny.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 27, 2022
This began Elon’s outspokenness regarding our freedom which then evolved into his criticisms of Twitter’s adherence – or lack thereof – to ensuring freedom of speech on the platform.
Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy.
What should be done? https://t.co/aPS9ycji37
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 26, 2022
Suppose you are even a passive follower of Elon Musk’s strategy when communicating on Twitter or any other forum.
In that case, he generally says what he means and believes, regardless of possible fallout considerations. So, one might assume that he will use his recent power to move Twitter back towards an open, free speech forum where people can exchange ideas and opinions.
Iron Man or Dr. Doom?
It is natural for people to want to categorize larger-than-life people as either all good or all bad. Not to be too People Magazine about it, they really are just like the rest of us: a little of both.
Elon Musk has, what I believe to be, good intentions and a fantastic vision for the future. I think he sometimes progresses toward those goals in tunnel-visioned ways and, at least according to some reports, at the expense of his employee’s sanity, but I’m not the futuristic genius.
In a society where the in-vogue thing is constantly looking for ways to be offended, I don’t think it’s terrible to have men like Elon Musk who seem always to be looking for ways to be inspired. We could all have bigger thinking, lofty goals, and less petty arguments and knee-jerk naysayers.
Last year, Elon Musk referred to himself as someone with Asperger’s while hosting an episode of SNL.
“Look, I know I sometimes say or post strange things, but that’s just how my brain works,” Musk said previously. “To anyone who’s been offended, I just want to say I reinvented electric cars, and I’m sending people to Mars in a rocket ship. Did you think I was also going to be a chill, normal dude?”
The billionaire business magnate is a ‘strange’ guy. He says and does some odd things, and so I think he wants to make sure that we can all be our little flavor of strange without fear of canceling or censorship.
So while some in the liberal mainstream media and perhaps some employed at Twitter are nervous or upset at this recent development, I am looking forward to the future of Twitter. If you believe in freedom of speech and expression and have a rock star work ethic, you should be fine.
And nobody at Twitter is against freedom of speech and hard work… right?