Ye will do nothing for Parler

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CNBC

Ye (the rapper, formerly called Kanye West) is buying Parler, the conservative social network. I know, it sounds like a hoax, but it’s true.

With Elon Musk acquiring Twitter, you have to ask, are these moves going to help the social networks?

Will Ye help Parler

No.

Ye has no demonstrated business acumen or strategic sense in running a tech company or a large media company. All he has is money.

Any social network that’s not huge has a strategic problem. How will it differentiate from its competitors? How will it efficiently maintain itself? How will it keep up with new technologies and government regulation? How will it attract advertisers? How will it grow, rather than getting stale and fading away?

The list of failed social networks is endless. Vine. MySpace. Google+. Ping. Eons. Snapchat continues to lose money. It ain’t easy, friends.

If you’d asked me if Parler could make a go of it last week, focusing only on MAGAworld and competing with Trump’s Truth Social, I’d have said no, probably not. Ye doesn’t help.

Parler is developing a second business by creating alternate internet infrastructure that can’t be deplatformed, so pariah platforms and apps will have the tools to go on without risk of being “cancelled.” This might be a niche worth pursuing. It certainly doesn’t sound like a project that Ye has any skills to help, though.

Ye is bipolar. I’m sympathetic to people suffering from mental illness, but that’s not the same as suggesting that they’re the best choice to be in charge of organizations with challenges. There are, I’m sure, plenty of mentally ill people running companies, but I don’t think that a bipolar individual with an existing celebrity business to run is what Parler needs to stabilize.

Ye made this announcement after being deplatformed by Twitter and Instagram because he made antisemitic posts. Buying a new platform after you’ve been kicked off another is a petulant act, not a logical and analytical one. As Donald Trump found out, platforms where pariahs are welcome aren’t particularly good for reaching a mass audience.

This week, with the Ye purchase coming on, I’d say the chances of Parler succeeding are worse, not better. He solves none of its problems. He could keep pumping money into it to prop it up, but that’s not success.

Parler may have needed a savior. But this is a short-term fix.

Will Elon Musk help Twitter?

I’ve written about Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter. Among the problems he will have:

  • Musk’s desire to make Twitter a bastion of “free speech” will increase the amount of poisonous trolling and cause ordinary people to ditch it.
  • His ambition to make it the basis of a superapp “X,” based on China’s WeChat, is doomed. WeChat works for everything from social interaction to purchases in China because it’s trusted by Chinese people and vendors, and since it is beholden to the government that likes big organizations it can control. Such an app here would require everyone on Twitter to have a verified identity (because it’s used widely for purchases). That would destroy one of Twitter’s only points of differentiation with Facebook.
  • Twitter’s engineers who don’t want to be managed by a tyrant may jump ship. Tesla retains people in a cutthroat environment with enormous growth prospects. Most engineers won’t sit around and wait to see if Musk can create a similar miracle with Twitter.

With that all said, Elon Musk is not Ye. He is an innovative businessman and entrepreneur and he understands technology. It’s not clear that his vision for Twitter will work, but at least it has a chance.

The most likely outcome of Elon Musk buying Twitter is that Twitter gets worse. But we’ll see.

The most likely outcome of Ye buying Parler is that Parler continues to fail. Unlike Musk and Twitter, success here would be completely astounding.

The most likely outcome of both, together, is that they fade and Meta/Facebook/Instagram becomes even more dominant.

Ugh.

One response to “Ye will do nothing for Parler

  1. Social media is a cancer on society. It’s a place where the unscrupulous go to manipulate the gullible. When you aren’t being fed ads, fake news, and inflammatory memes, any interaction you have with actual people will be shallow. People you know in real life won’t leave more than a thumbs up on your posts unless they want to argue with you. It’s an awful way to stay in touch.

    If you have an account on any social media network, delete it. There are much better ways to spend your time on the internet.

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