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Extreme makeover: Twitter edition


WORLD Radio - Extreme makeover: Twitter edition

The changes at Twitter come during overall upheaval in the tech industry

The Twitter application is seen on a digital device Monday, April 25, 2022, in San Diego Associated Press Photo/Gregory Bull

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: Twitter.

The social media behemoth is getting an extreme makeover. Billionaire Elon Musk took over the company as owner and CEO a month ago. Since then, he’s fired top leaders, laid off half the employees, and restored numerous banned accounts—including the one belonging to former President Donald Trump.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Musk is also revamping Twitter’s verification system, those blue checkmarks on the profiles of top politicians, celebrities, and influencers. The changes come even as the tech industry overall seems to be in an upheaval.

Jerry Bowyer is president of Bowyer Research and is a contributor to WORLD Opinions. He joins us now to talk about the upsets in tech and Twitter.

REICHARD: Welcome, Jerry!

JERRY BOWYER, GUEST: A pleasure to be with you again, as always.

REICHARD: Jerry, you’ve been following Musk’s takeover of Twitter this year. What do you think is the most significant move he’s made to date?

BOWYER: Well, the most significant move he made to date is to play around on Twitter with the idea of floating the possibility of buying it, which set in motion—due to his own leadership style and crowds egging him on, etcetera, etcetera—set in motion the forces led to him being forced to buy the thing at well above market price when it has serious problems with its business model.

As a citizen, I was delighted to see him take over Twitter. I didn't like the usurious nature of Twitter. If it’s supposed to be some kind of soapbox, then soapboxes can be stood on by crazy people as well. And I didn’t like that Twitter was overly likely to ban people and in a politically and religiously biased way.

REICHARD: You’re always a straight shooter, Jerry, and I appreciate that. We know the marketplace of big social media platforms is not all that vast, but Twitter is also not the only player. Why do you think the changes at Twitter are capturing so much of the public’s attention?

BOWYER: Well, because it involves Elon Musk, who is the richest man in the world, who has an enormous talent for publicity, rivaled only by our former president. He’s just really good at getting attention and likes the attention. And there’s conflict. What does PT Barnum say? If you want to draw a crowd, start a fight. So, there was conflict. Also, these social media companies have much larger fame profiles than they do financial profiles. So, Twitter’s not really a very big company. It doesn’t have a very big balance sheet, it doesn’t have a very big income statement.

REICHARD: Well, what’s going on in the industry? Why is Big Tech having such a tough year?

BOWYER: Well, what’s going on in the industry of Big Tech overall is that it's highly dependent on easy money from the Central Bank. And this is kind of the little secret here, which is we saw that as the Central Bank, the Fed, stopped pouring money into markets and actually hiked rates somewhat, pulling money out of markets, who got hit the hardest? Stock markets got hit. Bond markets got hit. Everybody got hit, but who got hit the hardest was growth companies. And tech companies tend to be growth companies. So they were in bubble valuation territory. And the only thing that blows bubbles this big is the Central Bank, which is creating easy money. So the fact that when the Central Bank started to pop the bubble, we saw tech companies get hit harder than others, also tells us something by implication we may not have realized, which is the bubble was enabled by the easy money in the first place.

REICHARD: Back in April when Musk first offered to buy Twitter, you wrote a column for WORLD Opinions. And I’m going to quote what you wrote: “sometimes providence uses chaos to undermine systems of control.” What did you mean by that?

BOWYER: Yeah, what I meant is that Musk is a pretty chaotic person. I’ve written about Musk in the past. He’s got serious problems as a leader. He's a little unstable. He doesn't seem to understand the role of a CEO, which is to put shareholders first, etcetera. And he's a chaos producer. So one of the things that seems to happen providentially is when you get these top-down systems of social control, whether it's an Assyria, a Babylon, a tower of Babel, a Rome, or whatever, you also have these kinds of rebellions and uprisings and chaotic forces which counter them, which providentially kind of helps us and keeps freedom open.

REICHARD: Final question here, Jerry. We mentioned former President Donald Trump in the intro… Now, Twitter banned his account after the riot at the U.S. Capitol in January, and Musk reinstated it just over a week ago. So far, Trump hasn’t come back to Twitter. What, if any, do you think are the ramifications of Musk’s decision to bring him back?

BOWYER: Well, I think it might end up hurting Twitter financially because Trump is sort of the chief devil figure, in some ways, for the ruling class of America. And those people are often controlling advertising dollars, right? Public relations firms, etcetera. So I think Musk is going to get hit pretty hard in the advertising revenue department. That having been said, I think it's the right thing to bring Trump back, which is also to say, I think it was the wrong thing to ban him. That doesn't mean I think that Trump handled January 6th well. I think he handled January 6th very badly, at least until later in the day, he kind of was convinced to step forward and say, Wait a minute. The time leading up to those riots was not a great leadership moment for the President of the United States. But that's our decision to make whether we want to read his tweets or not. That's not Jack Dorsey's decision, or people in middle management in Twitter. So I don't think he should have been banned.

REICHARD: Jerry Bowyer, always a pleasure. Thanks for joining us.

BOWYER: My pleasure.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.


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