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he most famous bird in the world tweets all day and all night long from every corner of the world. Love it or hate it, the world will continue to tweet.  Twitter was co-founded by Jack Dorsey (CEO of Square), Noah Glass (CEO of Olo), Ev Williams (co-founder of Medium), and Biz Stone (Co-founder of Jelly) in San Francisco, California. There is a lot of buzz currently around Twitter. Elon Musk paid $44 billion dollars to unseat Parag Agrawal and take his place, but changing CEO on a regular basis is not a new trend for Twitter; it is part of its history.

Twitter’s explosive growth is best summarized via an SMS style of message. March 2007: Birth of Twitter, Inc. 2008: 300,000 tweets posted every day. 2010:  50 million tweets are posted every day. 2022: 500 million tweets posted every day. The most-liked tweet has over 7 million likes and was tweeted from the account of American action Chadwick Boseman, announcing his death from cancer. Taylor Swift (88.9 m followers) is the most influential person on Twitter.

Biz Stone, second left, with Jack Dorsey, Twitter chairman, co-founders Christopher Isaac and Evan Williams, and CEO Dick Costolo (Source: EPA)

From podcasting to social networking to political influencer

Twitter emerged from the podcasting venture Odeo, which was founded in 2004 by Ev Williams & Co. The decision by Apple to add podcasts to its digital media application iTunes in 2005 triggered a re-thinking of the strategy for Odeo’s leadership as they felt that they couldn’t compete with iTunes.  

Jack Dorsey came up with the idea of building a short message Service (SMS) platform. In March 2007, Twitter, Inc., was created as a corporate entity, and Jack Dorsey became Twitter’s first chief Executive Officer (CEO); he sat on the big chair for only one year before being asked to vacate the seat to make space for Ev Williams who became Twitter CEO in 2008. Two years later, Williams was replaced as CEO by chief operating officer Dick Costolo who occupied the seat for 5 years. Jack Dorsey re-took the position of CEO until November 2021, when he resigned after the controversial banning of Donald Trump, President of the United States, from his Twitter account. Parag Agrawal became CEO.  Then, on 27th October 2022, after a lot of drama and legal fights, Elon Musk tweeted, “The bird is freed,” and with this tweet, he became the sole owner and CEO of Twitter.

Twitter is considered the most influential news platform in the world; It is supposed to be a global hive of public debate. Still, the reality is that there could be no honest public debate if opposite views are being censored, banned, or canceled and where double standards reign supreme.   Elon Musk calls himself a “free speech absolutist” and has claimed that he is against censorship that goes beyond the law. He also claimed, “Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated.”

How did Twitter become such a big hit? Social media platforms such as Twitter have revolutionized the way individuals communicate, and an abundance of information has become available to everyone 24/7. Tweets and re-tweets can go around the world in no time, carrying with them the latest breaking news, sometimes ahead of the mainstream media. on 15 January 2009, a US Airways jet made an emergency water landing on New York’s Hudson River shortly after departing from La Guardia Airport. People survived the crash and were standing on the wing of the plane, waiting for rescuers to pick them up. Janis Krums was a passenger on a ferry, he had a front-row seat to the whole drama. He took pictures and videos of the incredible event that unfolded before his eyes and posted them on his Twitter account. He was the first person to report on the accident ahead of all of the mainstream media, who arrived late at the “party”. People around the world are becoming citizen journalists, they are bypassing all the red tape and big corporate media structures.

Twitter Revolution is a term used to refer to different revolutions and protests where the use of social networking sites such as Twitter was used by protestors and demonstrators to communicate information and organize demonstrations. This started with the Arab Spring, in countries like Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemen where activists used social networking as a key tool in expressing their thoughts concerning unjust acts committed by the government.

Politicians who didn’t want to be left standing outside in the cold joined the Twitter party. The majority of politicians these days are using Twitter to engage with their supporters by sharing ideas and receiving feedback on different issues. Politicians are becoming more accessible to their voters since they can directly and instantly contact them and ask them for feedback in real-time. Information about political issues is being shared by the public through tweets and re-tweets, giving the opportunity for the public to air their grievances, ideas, and support for their preferred political candidates.  The use of Twitter in campaigns has given all political parties an avenue where they can reach the masses without incurring huge mass media costs.

From news source to BIG money playground

The most recent change of leadership at Twitter was no doubt newsworthy and triggered a spectrum of emotions from high hope to great despair, but there is a much bigger story right now in the Twittersphere.  A tweet by Chang Pang Zhao (CZ) CEO of Binance brought down the crypto empire of Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) CEO of FTX leading to billions of dollars of loss for millions of investors around the world. This news created some turmoil on the stock exchange and triggered a sharp fall in the price of Bitcoin which fell to below $16,800 from above $21,000 as concerns emerged over FTX.

What do you think is the probability of a multi-billionaire losing his entire fortune in a single weekend?  Most people would say it is close to impossible and yet this is exactly what happened to 30-year-old Sam Beckman-Fried the CEO of FTX the second-largest crypto exchange in the world. The “golden” boy on the cover of Fortune and Forbes Magazine with a net worth of 26 billion US dollars lost his fortune, has declared bankruptcy and is currently hiding in the Bahamas under “supervision” by the local authorities.

The FTX scandal is worse than Enron, millions of investors around the world are impacted by this scam. This is the strange but true story of a nerdy MIT graduate (Sam Bankman-Fried) who started his own company Alameda Research fresh from college making an insane amount of money when he spotted a loophole in the crypto market – he would buy cheap Bitcoin in the USA and sell it for a higher price in Japan.

With the money he made from Alameda, SBF created FTX a cryptocurrency trading exchange. The firm would offer discounts to clients who stored their money in tokens called FTT. A promotional document also offered clients guaranteed 15% fixed rate returns with no downside. [ At this stage any smart investors should take a trip back to “Memory Lane” and ask themselves if they have seen this movie before; this sounds an awful lot like Enron?! Probably too good to be true. There must be something fishy somewhere.]

In July 2021, it was reported that FTX was averaging 10 billion dollars a day in trading volume across its 1 million users. SBF decided to use his fame and fortune to get involved in the political arena buying influence in the US and around the world; FTX donated $50 million dollars to the democratic party, got involved with Soros, the World Economic Forum, and transferred millions of dollars to the National Bank of Ukraine.

On 2nd November 2022, SBF’s worst fears are realized when behind-the-scenes information about Alameda leaked. A report by the news outlet Coinbase detailed a very unhealthy balance sheet that showed that much of Alameda’s 14.6 billion dollars in assets were held in FTT, the coin made up by SBF and his friends. In essence, SBF created a coin out of thin air and artificially attributed value to it, and then used it as collateral to buy real things, including political influence.

This is precisely the moment when rival firm Binance, which had been planning to purchase FTX delivered the killing shot via Twitter by announcing that it would discharge all holdings of FTT and reversed course on the acquisition.

The killer tweet by Binance reads as follows – 6 November 2022 “ As part of Binance’s exit from FTC equity last year, Binance receive roughly $2.1 billion USD equivalent in cash and FTT. Due to recent revelations that have come to light, we have decided to liquidate any remaining FTT on our books.” This tweet was the beginning of the end for FTX. The whole pack of cards collapsed and with it, billions of dollars of investors’ money evaporated into the ether.

On 12 November Reuters announced via tweet that FTX had a “backdoor” built into its accounting software by Sam Bankman-Fried which he used to move billions without triggering alerts to other staff, auditors, etc… To add to the drama, it was announced shortly after that, that FTX had been hacked. All funds seem to be gone.

Never underestimate the power of a tweet. It can make you rich or can make you bankrupt.

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