As things stand now, it looks like Elon Musk’s deal to purchase Twitter will go through. I fear what that all means for Twitter users and the legal tech community.
A couple of things seem certain. First, Musk has repeatedly said he plans to cut Twitter staff by a jaw dropping 75%. Secondly, he has promised to open Twitter to those who may have been banned or at least muzzled in the past for outrageous, untrue, or abusive tweets. Both could significantly affect the platform’s future usefulness for those in the legal community.
Many of us, myself included, use Twitter to post about events, announcements, and conferences that are legal tech related. Our small but robust legal tech community relies on Twitter for information and to push our thoughts and articles to one another. Could we live without it? Probably. But we would lose an important and frictionless tool to keep each other aware of what’s happening.
The notion that 75% of the Twitter staff might soon be gone is pretty scary. Who’s going to make sure the lights stay on? Who’s going to keep the platform running? Will there be any support at all? Without the people there to make the platform effectively work, it’s hard to see how Twitter will continue as it is now. And that’s not good news for us in the small legal tech community.
And the potential opening up of Twitter to more abusive conduct and posts is also scary. Our little community is generally spared the vitriol that hits much of the general Twitter platform. But that could change as the crazies take over. Plus, abusive and insulting tweets could drive more and more people—both legal tech folks and others—away. Long term, I fear Twitter may no longer function as a communication device but just a place for people to be obnoxious.
And that’s sad because I think Twitter has provided a valuable function for legal tech. I fear those days may be numbered.