Less than two months into his reign as Chief Twit, Elon Musk launched a poll last Sunday asking the Twitter community if he should step down. Adding a layer of seriousness to the exercise, Musk adds that he will “abide by the results of this poll”.
Over 17 million users cast their votes, probably doing so with more enthusiasm than their local elections. The results reflected just how divisive Musk can be, with 57.5 per cent voting in favour of Musk stepping down. It might as well be the Twitter equivalent of Brexit.
For all his brilliance, Musk has not endeared himself to the Twitter community. As the search for a new CEO begins, things could easily change, with another poll perhaps.
A stunt worthy of Elon
However, one could not help but feel that the poll is ultimately a publicity stunt, coming at a time when Twitter is seeking new investors to save the floundering company.
If we can recall, Musk never meant to linger around Twitter. In court defending the US$56 billion pay package paid to him by Tesla, Musk told a judge that he expects his time at Twitter to reduce, and it has always been his intention to find someone else to run the company.
Well, that time has come. By doing so under the guise of democracy, Musk gave media outlets something more sensational to talk about. Thereby deflecting his hypocritical antics of suppressing free speech and suspending the Twitter accounts of journalists who have been critical of him.
Not the CEO, but still the owner
Before the snowflakes amongst us start cheering over Elon Musk’s imminent departure and bid his tyrannical rule goodbye, it is worth remembering one thing.
Musk is still the owner of Twitter, and with that comes great power.
Even without an official title, Musk is free to interfere with the day-to-day running of Twitter. Knowing Musk, he will be intervening at best and obstructing at worse, in that outspoken and controversial style he is known for.
As such, the new CEO could find him or herself trapped in an unofficial role as Chief Operating Officer, carrying out executive decisions rather than making them.
Holding the fort at Twitter will not be an easy task. In fact, Musk has even commented that only someone foolish enough will take up the job.
That is because if Twitter still harbours any hopes of becoming profitable, it will need a strong-willed and visionary leader — one who can manage the impulsive demands of Musk, advance the commercial interests of advertisers, and present a benign and neutral image for Twitter.
But one thing is for sure, with Musk in the background pulling the strings and still the King of Twitter in everything but name, we should not expect calm seas ahead.
Featured Image Credit: Chris Delmas/AFP/Getty Images via CBC