I was greatly disappointed to learn that former President Donald Trump has petitioned a federal judge in Florida to force Twitter to restore his account.
According to the filing, “Twitter exercises a degree of power and control over political discourse in this country that is immeasurable, historically unprecedented, and profoundly dangerous to open democratic debate.” That is probably true, but so is the fact that there exists one person in the entire United States who could fix that. That would be you, Mr. President. Doing so would not only be of great value to your supporters, and indeed the entire nation, but it could well create a lasting legacy that would eclipse anything you accomplished as President.
Instead, here you are paying lawyers to make sure that Jack Dorsey remains the King of Public Discourse.
I have a suggestion: To Hell with Jack Dorsey. And please hear me out.
There are several groups of people out there who have put Serious Capital at risk trying to create an alternative to Twitter that will not shadow ban every user who disagrees with Jack Dorsey’s politics. None of them ever get anywhere because of network effects: Nobody goes there because nobody else goes there.
You went to Wharton. You know what a focal point is. For the readers who don’t, it’s a kind of icon that everyone knows, and that people will move toward in the absence of any direction from others. If the executor of your long-lost grandfather’s estate sent you a message that he has a million-dollar check for you which he will hand you in New York City at noon next Tuesday, where in New York City would you go to meet him? Most people would say “Grand Central Terminal,” and in particular under the big clock in Grand Central Terminal. That’s a focal point.
Mr. President, you are a focal point. The day you join any one of these Twitter alternatives, upwards of 25 million people will join with you. Yes, it will crash the platform. There will be chaos and broken bits everywhere for a month or more. But when that month is up, Jack Dorsey will have lost tens of millions of eyeballs that he can no longer sell, and somebody else — one of our friends for a change — will have them… and with them a floor under revenues that will make sure they stay around for a long time.
Wait. It gets better. Remember when the MLB decided to move the all-star game out of Georgia because they got all wokified and wanted to strike a pose for Social Justice? That would all come to a screeching halt if these guys had to worry about a social media platform that could light up tens of millions of their customers to slap them around if they did stuff like that. We don’t have a tool like that now. We need one. And you, sir, could make that happen.
I am not going to recommend that you join this or that alternative platform. I don’t know enough about who is behind them or how trustworthy they are or whether they are even smart enough to ride the tiger you would be bringing them. You have staff that knows how to figure those things out. You might even want to drive the liberals really crazy by taking a stake in whichever one you favor.
But please favor one. This is about you, but it is also about the rest of us. Let me share with you what Twitter is like for those of us who are not big-time celebrities. I worked for months — I spent hours on it — building up a “following” of just over 2,500 people on Twitter. I’d send something out, and after two days the analytics would tell me that three people had seen it. I get better reach on Parler. Why? Because their algorithm doesn’t have me on a list of people who need to be shut up.
Please do this. There will be a rocky start for certain. But what lies on the other side will be of immeasurable benefit to tens of millions of Americans who share your vision. It’s a tool they’ll be able to use to advance that vision long after you and I are gone.
By the way, Larry Ellison is out there trying to build a cloud computing platform to compete with Amazon, Google, Microsoft, etc. He could use a new client that was about to go ballistic, needing vast amounts of new capacity in a hurry.