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Twitter on Shaky Ground as More Staff Exit the App, Reducing the Platform to a Skeleton Crew


Musk Will Seek Evidence from Twitter’s Former Product Chief as He Looks to Exit His Takeover Deal

So, just another average day on the social media beat, nothing much happening…

Oh, wait, no, Elon Musk has incited a mass exodus of staff at Twitter, many of whom are now predicting that the site will likely crash at any moment.

Yes, Twitter could well be on its last legs, or at least, it could be on the brink of significant outages, after Musk called on the app’s remaining staff to commit to ‘extremely hardcore’ working conditions, or leave the company with three months’ pay. Apparently, some 75% of them decided the latter was a better option.

A quick summary of the current Twitter staffing situation:

  • In September, before Elon Musk took over at the app, Twitter, reportedly, had around 7,500 staff in total
  • Musk initially cut Twitter’s top execs, on his first day at the helm of the app, then, just days later, Musk culled around 50% of the company’s staff as a cost-saving measure, taking it to approximately 3,700 staff
  • At that time, many exiting employees said that the cuts were not thought–through, with entire, critical departments culled, and Twitter’s international teams, in particular, reduced to almost nothing. Reports also suggested that Musk’s transition team was forced to ask some key staff to return as a result of the hasty action
  • On Wednesday this week, Musk sent an email to the remaining Twitter staff which explained that they would need to commit to ‘working long hours at high intensity’, on whatever projects Musk decided to pursue. There was no roadmap provided, no plan, just a requested commitment to ‘extremely hardcore’ work – or they could leave with three months’ pay. Workers had till 5pm Thursday to either accept these conditions or resign.
  • At the 5pm Thursday deadline, around 75% of Twitter’s remaining workforce had reportedly decided not to accept Musk’s offer, which has now reduced the staff headcount to 900 people in total.

So we’ve gone from 7,500 to 900 – a 88% total reduction in Twitter staff since Musk took the reigns. Which, as noted, has left many speculating that the app cannot keep running at such a reduced capacity. Some are suggesting that internal systems are already breaking, with no one there to monitor them, while any significant increase in activity – like, say, the World Cup next week – could break the app.

It’s impossible to know exactly what may or may not happen, but an 88% reduction in staff has to have some impact.

For his part, Musk initially seemed concerned about the mass exodus of staff, but then resumed posting memes about the situation.

He also bragged, once again, that Twitter usage is at an all-time high, so he, at least, seems relatively confident that the platform will stay up and continue on as normal, despite the reduction.

But it does also appear that fewer people accepted his ‘extremely hardcore’ offer than he had anticipated. Further reports also suggested that Musk and his team scrambled to retain some of the most critical staffers at the last minute, which may well prove to be a saving grace.

Some exiting Twitter staff explained their reasoning for opting out, with one former Twitter engineer noting that:

"There was no vision shared with us, no 5-year plan like at Tesla. Nothing more than what anyone can see on Twitter […] additionally there were rumors the new vision might be radically different, not just subscription-based but possibly having adult content be a core component of subscription offerings. That is a BIG departure and one I wouldn’t get behind.

As it turns out, people are more willing to sign-up to an ‘extremely hardcore’ work approach when developing major, world-changing projects, like electric vehicles and spaceships to Mars, but when the work you’re asking them to stick around for is potentially facilitating hate speech, profiting off porn, and taking advantage of fame hungry chumps, the enthusiasm meter isn’t so high.   

But still, Twitter is still running, and Elon’s still tweeting about his plans for the app. So maybe Musk was right, and there was a lot of bloat in its staffing – or maybe your next tweet could be your last.

Nobody knows, which is why #RIPTwitter was trending last night, and remains a key topic of discussion in social media circles today.

So what comes next?

On Twitter itself, the Musk team’s five key focus areas, reportedly, are:

  • Developing Musk’s $8 verification plan (apparently, all the staffers who were working on this project have now left)
  • Developing a Twitter Blue for Business offering (no details as yet)
  • Facilitating DM encryption (already in progress – as per this finding by app researcher Jane Manchun Wong)
  • Expanded tipping for creators, with a ‘tips on tweets’ features (as opposed to on-platform donations)
  • Enabling longer text in tweets

How Musk and Co. do any of this is now up in the air, as they’ll need to re-assess staffing, and reallocate resources. But these were Musk’s focus elements before yesterday’s mass exodus.

It seems like these will remain in place, once what’s left of Twitter re-groups – though again, how they get anything done beyond keeping the app running, day-to-day, is also unclear.

In any event, nothing will be happening till next week, with Musk’s team locking everyone out of the company till Monday, in order to mitigate the risk of rogue ex-employees causing problems at the app.

Oh, also, Musk’s Twitter takeover is apparently under a national security review due to concerns that Musk’s foreign funding partners may now be able to access user data. 

So basically, just another day on Mr. Musk’s wild ride.

One thing’s for sure, he certainly knows how to get attention.



Five Ways To Make Your Startup Stand Out From The Competition


Five Ways To Make Your Startup Stand Out From The Competition

Making your business stand out from others in a crowded marketplace is key to its success. High-quality products and services, a smart pricing strategy, and effective marketing are just the basics. The most successful entrepreneurs have a few extra tricks that separate their business from the rest of the pack.

Tell a strong story

Businesses need to do two things to succeed; be relevant and distinctive. As Steven Hess, founding partner at WhiteCap, explains, doing one without the other will lead to failure. “Being relevant on its own leads to a focus on price and an inevitable sublimation into the sea of sameness, and customers will not look for you,” he says. “Being distinctive without solving a problem leads to gimmickry and longer-term weakness. You have to do both, and one way of uniting the two is with a strong story.”

This could focus on the founder’s story, what led them to set out on their business journey, how they identified the problem they are solving, and how they are solving it uniquely. Stories can also be drawn from customers; how are they using your products or services? What problem does it solve for them?

“You also need to look at how your competitors are presenting themselves and then present yourself in the opposite way,” says Hess. “This will feel uncomfortable, and most businesses fail at this point. Why do ads for cars, financial services, estate agents, etc., look the same? It’s because most of us don’t want to stand out. We’re afraid to fail and be seen to fail. But if we are not being seen, being distinctive and solving a real problem, we’ve already failed.”

Focus your messaging on customer needs

A company’s messaging has to be focused on its potential customer’s biggest wants and needs. It should clarify what people will get if they buy from you, what transformation they will see, and how they will feel afterward. “Most importantly, it should communicate what people will miss out on if they don’t buy from your startup,” says business growth consultant Charlie Day. “When you shift your messaging from simply trying to grow a business and make money to focusing on your customer’s biggest wants and needs, the sales and growth will come, and it will set you apart from others.”

Target an underrepresented audience

This can be a powerful way for startups to stand out. “By focusing on a group that larger companies often overlook, they can differentiate themselves and appeal to a unique and untapped market,” says Vladislav Podolyako, founder and CEO of Folderly. “And by providing solutions to the specific needs and challenges of this audience, startups can establish a strong reputation and build a loyal customer base.”

For example, a fitness startup targeting older adults can stand out by offering specialized classes, products, or resources. By providing solutions to the physical limitations of older adults, the startup can differentiate itself from other companies, address the unique fitness challenges faced by older adults, and build a loyal customer base.

However, as Podolyako points out, this strategy must be carefully thought out. He says: “The startup may be associated with an older audience only, so you should work with PR agencies to get the positioning right and potentially think about creating a sub-brand.”

Differentiate your social media strategy

A unique voice and communication style will make you stand out on social media. However, it’s not just what you say but what you do that makes the difference. “If everyone is offering ‘how to’ tips on LinkedIn, create some short form behind-the-scenes videos. If everyone is doing special offers on Facebook, publish some tip-based stories,” says Catherine Warrilow, managing director of Daysout.com. “Make yourself accessible for customer support on the social media channels used by your audience, for example, via What’s App or Messenger.”

Respond promptly to customer calls

Making it easy for customers to contact you and get a response is vital for customer engagement and retention. Yet, businesses are surprisingly poor at answering their phones, listing phone numbers on their websites, and responding to voicemails. It’s a massive turn-off for customers, as a survey by global communications company Moneypenny revealed, with unanswered phone calls topping the list of consumer gripes, cited by 43% of respondents, followed by annoying hold music (35%).

Joanna Swash, Group CEO of Moneypenny, says: “Customers use the phone when they have an urgent or sensitive issue to discuss, so companies cannot afford to provide a poor call experience; business will be taken elsewhere. By mastering the art of call handling, businesses can keep their customers happy and loyal and boost the bottom line in the process.”


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Twitter Experiments with Reply Filters, Timeline Controls, and the Capacity to Search Your Tweet Likes


Twitter Experiments with Reply Filters, Timeline Controls, and the Capacity to Search Your Tweet Likes

Amid the various large-scale changes at Twitter, the platform is also working on some smaller tweaks and updates, which may or may not ever get released, but could provide valuable functionality for many users.

First off, Twitter’s testing the ability to search through your Likes, so you can find out who, specifically, has liked your tweets.

That could help you glean more context when reaching out to someone, or just another way to understand who’s responding to your tweets.

And it could be particularly valuable as a research tool for marketers in understanding their audience and who they’re reaching with their tweets.

Twitter’s also testing a new way to filter your replies, which could be handy if you get a lot of responses to a tweet.

Tweet reply sorting

I mean, I’m not sure how many people are getting so many replies to their tweets that they need a filtering option, but for those that are, this could be a simple way to ensure you’re staying up on the most relevant responses and responders, to better manage your engagement.

Finally, Twitter’s also experimenting with new timeline settings, which would provide more control over your timeline and pinned lists.

Twitter timeline controls

Note also, in the middle screen, that Twitter’s developing an option that would enable you to hide your tweet view counts, which would provide another way to manage your activity in the app.

As noted, all of these are in test mode, with Twitter engineer Andrea Conway posting them for public opinion, before exploring further development. But they could be handy, and while they’re not game-changers as such (which may mean they get less priority), smaller tweaks and updates like this could be significant for certain users, and could make it easier to manage your tweet activity.

We’ll keep you updated on any progress.


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Fed-up accountant 'shocked and disappointed' after his Facebook account is taken down again


Fed-up accountant 'shocked and disappointed' after his Facebook account is taken down again

A fed-up accountant has spoken of his “disappointment” after his Facebook page was taken down AGAIN. Last July, we told how Suleiman Krayem feared …


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