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Why has Elon Musk bought Twitter?

Diane Hall


Twitter logo in a cube

As someone who was once quite active on Twitter, but who now barely uses the social media platform, I’m curious what Elon Musk sees in what I deem to be a past trend.

The only thing I use Twitter for today is gauging popular opinion and reactions to events as they happen or looking to see if the country road I take to get to one of my jobs has flooded whenever there’s a heavy bout of rain.

Whenever I do log on, Twitter just seems to house a load of supposed grown-ups arguing the toss over something or other; it seems to have become a very nasty place that doesn’t respect any opinion but the ‘right’ one.

I used to promote my business on Twitter and have decent conversations with a few people in my network on there, but, as a user, I spend my downtime on TikTok nowadays. I have much less time spare than I used to, to create content—if I do have anything to post, it goes on Facebook.

I realise that this only describes my social media interaction; however, I don’t know of many people around me who use Twitter in the same way as they did five years (or more) ago. It puzzles me, therefore, why billionaire Elon Musk, after increasing his stake in Twitter to 9% has now put in a bid to buy the whole organisation. The board has, apparently, accepted his bid of $44bn.

Twitter on phone with a mug full of marshmellows

Twitter on phone with a mug full of marshmellows

Musk is an avid user of the site; with more than 80 million followers, he clearly doesn’t believe Twitter has had its day. According to experts, Musk’s move is to ensure the platform upholds free speech. Being very vocal and opiniated about lots of subjects on there, it’s unlikely he would be ‘shut down’ or thrown off the platform in response to anything he posts, as the owner. Other experts believe Musk’s bid is more to do with his plans to launch an alternative social media site, and that buying out Twitter is easier than being its rival.

For the last couple of years, it’s been TikTok that’s taken the mantle as the ‘coolest’ social media platform, particularly with the younger generation, though it’s not the one with the most UK users. Facebook continues to hold this title, being popular with all age groups, especially the over forties. Boasting 73% of the audience share, it’s the most widely used platform in the UK, with Instagram enjoying 56%, and Twitter, 45%. TikTok, as of the third quarter of 2021, only attracts 31% of users in this country.

In worldwide rankings, Twitter is named as the 17thmost popular social platform, which suggests it has more competition for users’ attention and fewer visitors than it did in its heyday, which was between 2007-2010.

Musk gets a lot of publicity from his frequent tweets; some of his most outlandish Twitter posts saw his Tesla stock price rise, which perhaps gives us an insight into why he sees value in the platform that has practically become his own digital megaphone. Maybe it’s cheaper than taking out newspaper ads…

Twitter’s share prices rose by 50% with the news of Musk’s investment. It seems no one is losing out from this deal—for the moment, anyway.

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