The madness of Musk and double-edged Twitter

Discussion in 'Tesla' started by Domenick, Dec 15, 2017.

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  1. As we have seen, Twitter can be both a force for good -- getting your message out there and presenting a positive image to the masses at large -- and a force for, um, not so good -- flame wars, etc.

    In the case of Elon Musk, there's a bit of both going on. He can entertain and promote as evidenced by many of his recent Boring hat escapades, or, he can call someone an idiot, then clarify by calling them a sanctimonious idiot, as we saw this morning.

    For most professionals, name calling on Twitter is career suicide. For Musk, who, with his brother and friends controls a majority of shares at Tesla, it's not. At least, I don't think it is.

    I decided to start a thread on this because I was discussing the issue with some colleagues and they think these sorts of mean tweets will see Musk ousted eventually. I think as long as there can be some justification for unvarnished straightforwardness -- in this case, the gentleman published a mischaracterization of Musk and used it to promote his book.

    Musk Twitter.jpg
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  3. WadeTyhon

    WadeTyhon Well-Known Member

    Even at his worst, Musk is typical (dare I say, far more polite) than the average person on social media.

    The reason many public figures on social media might seem more subdued and polite is because they're usually managed by marketing/PR departments not by the actual "owner" of the account. My career is in marketing for instance (although I'm on the graphic design side of it). So I always try to consider "how will this come across to others", "am I contradicting myself" and "does the evidence point to the contrary" before I type anything.

    Personally, I find social media to be so toxic that I have dropped off it. I'm no longer on twitter or facebook. Haven't been for 3 years now and it was like a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders!

    It's a pretty rare thing for a person in their 20s to check out of social media. But I just couldn't stand it anymore. Good people act like complete jerks on the internet.

    I find I like people better when I don't have 24/7 access to their 'hot takes' on world events. Even people who I respect, generally agree with, or enjoy talking to in person.
  4. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    I wrote a long(er) post but deleted it, because there are so many worms in this can of worms that it's impossible to cover all of them in detail, without writing a book on the subject. Besides, I think WadeTyhon really cut to the heart of the matter. The real problem isn't any one post to Twitter or FaceBook or an e-mail discussion group, or any public forum where people can post anonymously or semi-anonymously. The problem is that our social norms have not caught up to what our technology has enabled. Most people would not dream of being as rude or uncivil as they are in many social media posts, if they were in the presence of the person they were talking about, or even if they could hear the voices of those involved in the discussion.

    Social media -- including what you are doing right now in reading my post, gentle reader -- is not a medium of actual human social interaction; it only presents an easy, cheap, and inadequate substitute for real contact with other people. The social cues and group behavioral restraints which keep us civil, which keep us from attacking each other when we can hear the other person's voice and look him in the eye, are missing when it's just writing text messages to be "posted" on the modern equivalent of the community signpost. Despite the label of "social media", it's not really a social gathering; it's more like a bunch of people writing Post-it notes and handing them around to each other at random. It's very unfortunate that social media satisfies our human craving for associating with other humans, without actually providing real human contact. It's like eating junk food all the time, when our human need is balanced meals. The junk food may satisfy our hunger, but exist on a steady diet of it for long and it will ruin your health.

    I don't see that happening, period. Musk has mastered the art of using Tweets to promote his companies, and is doing so successfully. Who is going to demote him or fire him so long as his Twitter PR campaigns continue to successfully promote his companies? We can decry the general lack of civility in social media, but Musk firing back at those who go out of their way to mischaracterise what he said** -- as occurred in the specific instance Domenick cited -- is just part of how certain people get to be celebrities. They don't do so by avoiding controversy or by playing nice all the time. Please note I'm not excusing lack of civility in social media exchanges. I think we all ought to strive hard to adhere to the ideal of "We can disagree without being disagreeable." (And I certainly make no claims to being a paragon of virtue in this regard, by any means! "Do as I say, not as I do!" ;) )

    **Actually I agree with what his blog post (not his Tweet) says. Elon's "The Boring Co." concept is a super-rich man's VIP fantasy, in which the price for using the system would be so high that the unwashed masses would not be able to participate. It's interesting that the guy attacking Musk actually did not mention either Elon Musk or The Boring Co. by name in his blog post. Unfortunately, in his tweet he chose to paraphrase Elon in a biased manner, in order to dishonestly promote his blog post. I agree with what he wrote in his blog; it serves as a good indictment of The Boring Co. concept even if he doesn't single that out. But that doesn't alter the fact that he's also dishonest in twisting what Elon said in order to use Elon's popularity to gain undeserved attention.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2017
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  5. terminaltrip421

    terminaltrip421 New Member

    I don't think saying that musk fits into his definition of "elite projection" is a mischaracterization one iota. see: virtually everything the guy says about the future of transport, the future of tech like AI.

    and someone who believes 'we live in the matrix' or that AI would be capable of ending human life without its own as though humankind has become inextricably dependent on the technology that's lasted a mere moment in the existence of even just our current variant of species calling someone else an idiot is blackest of pots...

    as far as I'm concerned he and donald trump are two different sides of the same coin. much like obama was. rocket men, just like that guy in north asia.
  6. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Elon Musk is a visionary, a builder, and a remarkably successful entrepreneur; a self-made billionaire. "The Donald" is a hate-monger, a bully, and a destroyer who is not only completely lacking in morals or ethics, he actually brags about that lack. He is also a predatory businessman who got rich only by cheating others; a con man of historic proportions (remember "Trump University"?) and a remarkably bad business manager (five Trump casino bankruptcies!). Obama is a visionary of great intelligence and great integrity... qualities very noticeably lacking in The Donald.

    Trying to equate these very, very markedly different people shows partisan political thinking that isn't merely wearing blinders; it's wearing a blindfold.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2017
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  8. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    I tried to make a very clear separation between what the guy wrote in his blog, which I agree was an accurate refutation of Musk's rich man's fantasy, "The Boring Co." concept, vs. what the guy wrote on twitter, which is what Musk responded to:

    To summarize Elon Musk's views on transit: It's terrible. You might be killed. Japanese trains are awful.​

    Is that what Elon said? No, it's not. As I said, it's a biased mischaracterization, and he posted that to Twitter only to attract undeserved attention by attacking a celebrity. I would suspect that it was also, at least in part, motivated by jealousy of Musk's many successes. I don't have to ignore Elon's faults to admire his virtues, which are both numerous and outstandingly strong.

    What the guy wrote in his blog is well thought out and deserves reading. It's too bad that he was willing to debase himself, to prostitute himself in this manner, merely to attract attention to what he wrote. It's that sort of thing which has lead to the unsociable nature of exchanges on what is absurdly called "social media"; it would more properly be called "anti-social media"!

    I think Elon should be called out for posting tweets attacking his business competitors. If Domenick had cited some of those, then I think he would have made a much better case for "think[ing] these sorts of mean tweets will see Musk ousted eventually". The one example cited... not so much!
  9. terminaltrip421

    terminaltrip421 New Member

    the only links I could follow were to the blog and what looked like a screenshot with wording cutoff so I couldn't really get what mr. transit said and whether there was context.

    I believe most everything can be grouped. within these parameters I equated trump, obama and musk into the 'not truly altruistic', claims of one thing while doing contradictory, tangentially inclined etc. of course trump is among the lowest lifeforms on earth and only those who bought into the most poorly delivered claims i history thought otherwise. but I voted for Obama twice hoping for a pragmatist - which I though lay behind his reserved demeanor- and was sorely disappointed over and over. I rooted for musk thinking he a had clear and unwavering vision only to discover him to be what I described earlier. and hence the coin; people disconnected fro the reality at hand enough to not leave lasting marks -- at least not all their own.

    tesla will end up being a successful company that spurred others to make important decisions on some key issues -which I credit to the founding and vision of the tesla that musk bought his way into as much if not more than musk himself- but one that also got caught up in minutiae --which may help adoption in some regards but undoubtedly stunted it in others. in addition to doing things that will not better anything for what is likely decades (autonomy) and inevitably have adverse effects in the meantime. all in the name of forward thinking regardless of how narrowly.

    sure I give musk a hard time but he puts himself out there. ‘The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.’ when I look at Musk I see little more than another "lucky" egotist.
  10. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Twitter certainly is not set up for user-friendly linking, that's for sure!

    What Domenick refers to (and I agree) as "a mischaracterization of Musk" is the guy's biased summary of what Elon said. He tweeted "To summarize Elon Musk's views on transit: It's terrible. You might be killed. Japanese trains are awful." His tweet linked (but not very well) to this Wired article, where you can read Elon's comments in context for yourself:

    Elon Musk Reveals His Awkward Dislike of Mass Transit
  11. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    If you're going to judge Elon Musk strictly on the basis of how he fails to live up to his own hype, then I can see where you're coming from. But I think Musk deserves credit for what he has actually accomplished, at both Tesla Motors and at SpaceX. What he has accomplished is quite a bit, and in my opinion places him firmly among the very few who have done the most over the past couple of decades to make this a better world. Obviously, though, that's a matter of opinion.

    I personally see Elon as a man of very great ability and accomplishments, but also one who is human, and like all humans he has his faults. His tendency to hype and his habit of trying to claim credit for what others have done... such as founding Tesla Motors, and creating Tesla's vision for a better future.

    However, industry watchers say that if Tesla founders Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning were still in charge, then at best Tesla would have remained a tiny specialty auto maker; it would not have grown at anywhere near the astonishing rapidity that Tesla Motors/Tesla Inc. has grown. More likely, without Musk's superior ability at fund-raising, Tesla Motors would have gone bankrupt. Elon claims to, at one point, have bet literally his entire fortune on keeping Tesla afloat. I don't know just how much that is true and how much is hype, but I'm willing to believe that has at least some truth in it.

    At SpaceX, Elon has led the company to not only reduce launch costs to 20% of what they had been, but also to pioneer the tech of a rocket landing on its tail, so the booster stage -- the most expensive stage -- can be re-used. And just two day ago, there was breaking news that SpaceX has succeeding in flying and landing a used booster rocket!

    After my praise here of Elon, it should come as no surprise that he's one of my Heroes, with a capital "H"! As I said, I'm not blind to his flaws. But I don't think his feet of clay erase his many virtues, or his vision, or his great accomplishments!

    Well there, I think you are simply wrong... just my opinion, of course. But I see Tesla as moving the industry towards making semi-self-driving cars legal, and towards public acceptance of them, far more rapidly than any other company. I think Waymo has self-driving tech which is actually more advanced, but they are really dragging their feet on deploying their tech in cars driven by the public.

    It greatly disturbs me to see claims that we should wait until self-driving cars are 100% perfected, or nearly so, before we start using that tech. Not only no, but hell no! Tesla Autopilot plus AutoSteer is already saving lives, and we absolutely should not do anything to slow down Tesla's deployment of semi-autonomous driving technology. If anything, we should encourage Tesla to deploy its advances into its cars at an even earlier stage of development!

    “The thing to keep in mind is that self-driving cars don’t have to be perfect to change the world. They just have to be better than human beings.” -- Deepak Ahuja, CFO of Tesla Inc.​
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2017
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  13. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

  14. Yeah, that was a good tweet. Certainly helps balance things out.
  15. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    OMG Elon is at it again! He has restarted the "pedo" controversy, and so far as I can tell, this time it's entirely his own doing. At least according to what's being reported, he wasn't provoked this time.

    CNBC isn't exactly the most fair and balanced source of news about Tesla -- sometimes their articles go over the line into outright anti-Tesla FUD -- but unlike other articles on the subject, they don't dance around what Elon said this time:

    From CNBC: "Elon Musk attacks British cave diver for a third time, calling him a 'child rapist' "

  16. This is an extension of the previous mention. A Buzzfeed writer emailed Musk asking questions, and he responded in emails which the writer then published, despite Elon expecting them to be confidential.
  17. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Well-Known Member

    As I have mentioned before, I think that Elon believes in the adage "There is no such thing as bad publicity", that remaining in the news is good for him and Tesla. That said, there could be two confounding factors: First is that his ego is bruised, that here is a nobody guy (who wants to leave England and wander around Thailand aimlessly) who is attacking me when I had the noblest intention. I (Elon) am happy to take him on and I have the money to fight him. Second, Elon may have done some investigation on this guy and there may be some skeletons in this cave explorer's closet, that leads Elon to believe that he can discredit him easily, if push comes to shove. So it could be all three (publicity, ego and skeletons), or it could be a combination of the three. However contrary to what people think, I do not think this will have an immediate fallout on Elon or Tesla stock price. The board will not act and that Wall Street will shrug it off for now. If the 3Q results are good, it will be forgotten, if they are bad, people may try to use this as an additional lever to replace him. Not impossible but improbable that anything will happen.
    Domenick likes this.
  18. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Well-Known Member

    Hmm, I am surprised that Elon with his experience would make statements in confidence to reporter, without explicit guarantees that it will remain confidential. If such assurances were given and the reporter broke the confidence, then the reporter may want to look for another job.
  19. Definitely not a smart move by Elon. At all.
    I mean, if he sent me emails that said off the record or on background, I certainly wouldn't publish them, because it's clear that they were being shared in confidence and the contents could have been very damaging for the people discussed within. Buzzfeed guy has a lower standard than I do, though, and Elon should have realized that.
  20. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    But nobody put a gun to Elon's head and forced him to put that in writing. If you put something in writing, or say it out loud in an interview which is being recorded, then you're just relying on the word of the reporter that it's not going to appear in print. Unless you have a long-term relationship with that particular reporter, then there is always the chance that he won't keep your conversation confidential.

    A relevant quote:

    Martin Lomasney, an old West End political boss from Boston, is best remembered for his warning to young politicians everywhere — “Never write if you can speak; never speak if you can nod; never nod if you can wink”. The saying is updated on his wikipedia page by none other than Eliot Spitzer — “never put it in email”.
    Source: "Don’t Nod If You Can Wink" by Steve Poftak

  21. Not defending Elon, as it was not a smart move. He should have just ignored the guy. He didn't even have the writer's word about anything. He just sent emails with "Off the record" and "On background." Usually, one would seek agreement with those terms before divulging anything.

    I still think the reporter shouldn't have put all that out on Twitter, though.
  22. interestedinEV

    interestedinEV Well-Known Member

    From what little I understand, reporter sent Elon an question and he responded to it. I do not know much about law or Journalistic ethics, but a contract has to have an offer and an acceptance. If I were in a position to mention anything confidential, my first question would be "Are you willing to keep this confidential?" and if they say "Yes", only then would I tell them. If I tell them something and then tell them it is confidential, I have assumed their consent, I have not obtained their consent. The Buzzfeed guy may take a position such as " I promised no confidentiality, he responded to my question, even though I had not mentioned it was off the record. Hence I am not obliged to treat it in confidence". One may argue that it is still unethical, but in this case Elon should have been more careful. The best position would have been not to take the bait. It is an unnecessary distraction.
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  23. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Yes, exactly, to your entire comment -- not just what I quoted.

    Well said. :)


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