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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Elon Musk paid for our consideration, however the worth to maintain it’s getting larger

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I see Elon Musk has pivoted from pretending he’s going to physically fight Mark Zuckerberg to pretending he’s going to sue the Anti-Defamation League. Okay. There are individuals who nonetheless take Musk severely, and I want them properly on their journey. This weblog is for the remainder of us.

Clearly, there’s a stage of attention-seeking habits at play. A few of that is financially motivated: Musk is maybe an important influencer on the planet. His tweets move markets. And he faces the identical downside as different influencers. The hazard of being too famous is overexposure — folks get sick of you.

Why make this risk within the first place?

Musk’s public persona is a vital advertising software. Think about his appearance on Saturday Night Live: Tesla didn’t must run commercials as a result of Musk is so intently related to the model that your complete episode features as a automobile business. In the meantime, every other EV maker bought ad time. You possibly can consider Musk as the top state of being an influencer, wherein the human and promoting are utterly inseparable. He’s Kim Kardashian’s closing type.

So, the ADL factor: Musk has blamed the group for declining ad sales on Twitter and threatened to sue the group. If you’re questioning in regards to the deserves of such a swimsuit, Mike Masnick runs it down — however me, I’d like to speak in regards to the optics. Why make this risk within the first place?

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Nicely, for consideration. The risk generated headlines and put Musk within the information! Apart from that, blaming the ADL for Twitter’s advert woes lets Musk off the hook, which is the kind of factor he’s extremely motivated to desire. Musk is dancing with one thing we’ve seen already from Kanye West and former president Donald Trump: excessive language will get consideration. Persons are extremely motivated to sentence antisemitism, which paradoxically implies that Musk’s message gets spread further. That is the bait for a quote-tweet dunk writ massive.

Musk’s media technique of no advertisements ever means Musk has to do what each lowly influencer does: grab attention. It’s, after all, a lot simpler to seize consideration by summoning anger and outrage than it’s by sparking pleasure — not a new observation by any means. Neither is Musk the primary to tap into the so-called Culture Wars in order to achieve power, political or in any other case.

For an influencer like Musk, consideration features as golden handcuffs

I’ve lined Elon Musk for the higher a part of a decade now, and the a part of my mind that experiences feelings about him obtained fried someday round 2018. However what’s odd is that I now run into individuals who can’t cease telling me how sick they’re of Elon Musk. I don’t simply imply our commenters, after all (hello there!) — I imply precise people I meet in actual life. Folks used to ask me if I assumed Musk was actually a genius. Now they only groan.

That is referred to as overexposure. For an influencer like Musk, consideration features as golden handcuffs. If he have been to go full Howard Hughes and conceal away from the general public eye, Tesla must work out one other approach to get consideration. Proper now, it’s got a new product to launch. No matter psychic harm Musk takes by staying in each dialog could very properly additionally promote Cybertrucks. Apart from that, if he stops utilizing Twitter usually, that’s perhaps an issue for the platform he owns.

As for Musk’s forays into politics, there’s enterprise logic there, too. As a person with vital enterprise pursuits in Texas, he’s obtained an necessary constituency to maintain glad: Texas politicians. And whereas he might tell his stenographer that his drift proper is the results of private animosity towards certainly one of his kids, I’m skeptical about that — the donations began a lot earlier.

Regardless, Musk’s makes an attempt at kingmaking have fallen flat. The launch of Ron DeSantis’ campaign on Twitter was a bad joke, the type that will drive away any future candidate from doing one thing comparable on the platform. Trump is trouncing DeSantis anyway.

Musk has to proceed doing extra excessive stuff as a way to get consideration

There may be numerous causes for that, however there’s one huge one that’s usually famous in politics: Twitter isn’t actual life. The issues that seize consideration on social media, that drive dialog on on-line platforms — these issues aren’t essentially the issues folks truly care about. And as more people quit posting, Musk’s social media movie star could also be in peril.

Musk has to proceed doing extra excessive stuff as a way to get consideration — that’s simply how the treadmill of social media works, even when you personal the platform. I’ve puzzled for a very long time whether or not being overexposed issues in any significant manner. With so many individuals complaining about Musk’s habits, this looks as if a second to seek out out.

Twitter itself isn’t essentially one of the best check case. A part of that’s that Twitter was already in trouble earlier than Musk took over. His stewardship hasn’t helped, clearly: there are very real concerns for advertisers about brand safety. Issues that used to work are now busted; there are additionally some issues with the ad revenue sharing program. That is to say nothing of lighting Twitter’s brand on fire for X. I believe Musk is simply too hands-on in ruining Twitter to measure his oblique results.

SpaceX’s main clients are authorities businesses. It’s not an ideal check case, both.

Tesla, although, that’s attention-grabbing. Musk and Tesla are so closely associated as to be interchangeable. And Tesla’s obtained actual competitors now — one thing that wasn’t true for a few years. It’s needed to slice its prices in order to juice its revenues; that cuts into the revenue margin. The Cybertruck is scheduled to begin mass manufacturing subsequent 12 months. This isn’t a good time for Musk’s reputation to take a beating. 

The extra Musk seeks consideration with excessive habits, the much less reliable he seems. Musk’s fame was, for a really very long time, an intangible asset that benefitted his corporations. I ponder what occurs to Tesla if extra folks resolve they’re sick of Musk. He’s the explanation the corporate survived the 2008 monetary disaster and went on promoting vehicles. Will he even be the explanation folks cease shopping for them?

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