TLDR; Musk has probably killed Twitter, but out of the ruins may come unexpected benefits for brands.

The recent dramas around Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter been royal entertainment for many of us over the last couple of weeks. However, I believe that Elon has unwittingly released forces that will have far-reaching consequences over the coming months and years.

Until now, there has been an unspoken assumption that Twitter, Facebook, and the rest of the social media giants, are somehow unassailable due to their enormous user bases. At the same time, concern about their wider social and polical impact has grown. Despite the laudable efforts of the EU, there also has been a widespread feeling of powerlessness in the face of these companies, who have worldwide effects and no effective oversight.

However, Musk’s antics, much like Liz Truss’, have proved that a established, trusted brand can be rapidly destroyed by a sufficient level of hubris and stupidity. Twitter is now toxic to advertisers, influencers, and many general users. Mastondon and the Fediverse are the unexpected beneficiaries of this and are experiencing huge growth and mainstream media exposure.

Mastodon may or may not be the future of social media, but the important thing is that the spell has been broken, and I’m cautiously optimistic that the outcome will give us the benefits of social media without the seriously dangerous effects it’s had on society. Moreover, I think that the possibly, probably demise of Twitter will create a domino effect which may well affect other companies in the space.

All of this sounds slightly woke, Utopian, whatever, but it seems to me that the we are on the edge of the true decentralised Internet, not the Web3 of the big companies, but the genuine article, which will spawn a whole new constellation of new startups.

For example, large organisations, including commercial ones, are positively encouraged to create their own Mastodon instances, allowing them complete control of culture, content and policy, while allowing users to connect and interact with them without lock-in. I predict that now that Musk has inadvertantly given the Fediverse the critical mass it has been lacking, companies big and small will start to explore the new possibilities we have been given and rapidly generate a whole constellation of new startups.

The emperor may have been shown to have no clothes, but the rest of us have got a whole new wardrobe.