This article from Trish Regan originally appeared in American Consequences.
In the summer of 2005, a group of young techies tried to “take over the world”…
Their goal was to revolutionize audio storytelling using new podcast technology.
At that time, most of us had never heard of social media… but the group believed in the innovation and launched Odeo…
This startup had seed money, a few employees, and a clear goal: to make podcasting easy, accessible, and universal.
But then… that fall… Apple beat them to it.
Finish the story after this video:
The tech giant launched its iTunes podcasting platform, plugged it into every Apple smartphone… and quickly rendered Odeo obsolete.
Many entrepreneurs might have wallowed in this setback… but not these guys.
By then, Odeo had grown to 14 full-time employees… And while it couldn’t compete with the likes of Apple, its founders had ambition.
They had become obsessed with their colleague Jack Dorsey’s idea of “microblogging” one’s “status” and location in quick bursts…
That idea expanded and Odeo evolved into the company we now know as Twitter.
Launched in March 2006, Twitter has become a hugely influential social media platform… used by heads of state, megacorporations, news personalities, and Hollywood stars.
This week, less than two decades after Twitter came on the scene, executives agreed to sell the company to the world’s richest man for $44 billion.
This is a big move, and it offers some lessons… on the importance of flexibility (and innovation) in business… (How many times have you been told to cut your losses when investing?)
But this isn’t a story about the seven habits of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs…
Instead, we need to talk about the massive changes that are about to flood the tech industry.
As investors, we’ll soon be able to capitalize on huge tech advances and growth in the social media and virtual-reality sectors.
Led by a true tech visionary, we’re headed straight…
To the Moon! And We’re Not Looking Back
Elon Musk struck that deal with the one-time podcasting startup earlier this week… and he’s not looking back either.
Assuming the deal closes in about six months, this social media platform is in for some big changes.
Those shifts will reshape the entire industry, affecting every social media company from Google’s YouTube, to Facebook, to LinkedIn… and even lesser-known platforms like Truth Social, GETTR, and Rumble.
Already, Musk has promised to ensure greater transparency in what he calls the “digital town square.”
Some of his key changes to Twitter will include:
Revealing the source code of the algorithms that “decide” what news can be tweeted.
Providing an “authentication” of every user on the platform. (Translation? No more bots or so-called “sock puppet” accounts created by troll farms.)
Minimizing censorship… even, or perhaps especially, when it comes to the content Musk disagrees with.
Providing open-source algorithms is the biggest move because it provides a new level of transparency… and reduces creators’ political biases.
That might prevent the types of punitive Twitter debacles we’ve seen in recent years.
Take the former New York Times reporter who was banned for life in August 2021. He tweeted that COVID-19 vaccines wouldn’t offer 100% protection against the virus. (One wasn’t supposed to say that.)
Or take The Babylon Bee whose account was locked for 12 hours several weeks ago… Apparently, Twitter’s algorithms didn’t appreciate the site’s conservative humor. (The Bee is a bit like The Onion – also a satirical publication but with a liberal slant.)
And then there’s the elephant in the room: the ban of a U.S. president… while he was still president!
As a reminder, the Taliban – a global terrorist organization – was not banned. Even Vladimir Putin – who’s responsible for daily atrocities in Ukraine – still has a Twitter account.
Whether you love, hate, or are indifferent to Trump, one thing is quite clear… Twitter has amassed and wielded a ton of power.
But that was all before Musk entered the picture…
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