25 July 2023
I added the exclamation point above to conceal my bad mood, because Elon Musk messed up the FutureX logo. You’ve probably heard that he renamed Twitter “X,” trashing 16 years of brand equity and online history. And he killed the blue bird. In the aftermath, people will lose their jobs, and a place to post online, and my X in the FutureX logo looks … pretty bad. I don’t want people to look at my X and think of a right-wing, disinformation machine stuffed with ads and bad locker room humor.
There was a smart IP lawyer I consulted when I was starting FutureX who suggested that I go with FutureY, or even FutureWHY. I am wondering WHY myself a lot right about now, as in WHY was Musk smart enough to develop the market for electric cars in America, spurring other, slower car companies to catch up with him, and WHY did he have the foresight to develop a battery business to power those cars, and a solar power business to charge the batteries, and a space exploration business (SpaceX! — another x!) that is a U.S. Government contractor, and with all that apparently clever stuff, WHY has he destroyed Twitter and shot down a cute bird?
Let’s face it, Twitter wasn’t exactly great to begin with, but it was entertaining. I, like so many others, sunk many hours into maintaining a presence there. At one time I had tens of thousands of followers and lots of commentary on my posts. WHY did I do that? (There’s that WHY again.) Vanity. Ego. A false belief that my posts were somehow a record of something, somehow permanent, aggregating into some kind of historical … something.
That’s the illusion, isn’t it? Anything you post to social media is a short-term play. Since any platform is a commodity for the owner, not a means of expression as it is for us, the platform can be sold and turned inside out.
So the lesson for me has been to post at will and have fun, but not expect any kind of an archive. If I want one of those, that’s up to me to maintain, and not trust some billionaire’s platform.
WHY is Elon Musk taking Twitter down? Theories abound. Among them: He always had a dream of creating X, which is supposed to be a universal app that does “everything.” Or he realized he made a mistake by buying Twitter and decided to bankrupt it and walk away with minimal impact to his personal fortune. Or he just has too much money. I’m going with the last one. There is no sense to this. On the horizon: Ten years after buying it, Jeff Bezos is starting to pay attention to what goes on at the Washington Post. Red flag. You want your billionaires paying attention to things that don’t matter.
Joshua Benton has the final word on logo changes and it will make you laugh.
In today’s episode, you’ll meet Karen Gershowitz, author of Travel Mania: Stories of Wanderlust.
In pursuit of a passion for travel, Karen has lost and gained friends and made a radical career change. She has visited remote areas of Indonesia on her own, and became a translator, though only fluent in English. We’ll hear about some of her memories with people she met around the world.
When Karen started promoting her book, she had a few hundred Facebook friends and about 500 LinkedIn connections. Now, those numbers are in the thousands. She’ll tell us how she developed her online audience and sustains it. And we’ll also learn about her next book and how she plans to promote it online.
Thanks for reading and listening, and I’ll see you here in the next issue.
(c) Lee Schneider 2023. Take care of each other. Subscribe.