Friends, I’ve had warnings about Jeff Bezos’ tweets for a while now, and after some thought, I’m afraid I’ll have to conclude that this guy can’t post.
I actually find it hard to believe how bad he is at posting. It is astonishing. If Elon Musk’s Tweets Are Pure Lizard Brain ID, Bezos Tweets Are All Super Ego – My Husband Probably workshops them, and therefore they are DOA, emotional. Even something like this, which (I think) should be loose, absolutely fails by modern Twitter standards:
Yesterday, 25 years ago, AMZN went public. As the Grateful Dead would say, “What a long, strange journey it has been.”
It has been far from smooth. Taking a lot of risks, a lot of inventions, a lot of mistakes, so much that we have to do even better. I wouldn’t trade the ride for anything.
— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) May 16, 2022
First of all this is a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac† Second, it’s PR language and it might even have a lawyer included. It is insincere (“far from smooth”?). And, worst of all, it’s not funny.
You may be wondering, why is Bezos doing this? And there’s such a thing as a very obvious answer, which is that Elon Musk is at the center of a lot of conversations, and Jeff Bezos isn’t, and the way Musk has put himself at the center of those conversations is by tweeting. Bezos certainly noticed this. But he didn’t really understand how Musk does it.
Musk is definitely a poster. Annoying, obnoxious, late for memes – but definitely a poster. He uses Twitter as intended: as a direct line to his id. Does he plan to follow up on the things he tweets? Often, no. And that’s what makes him so entertaining. Here’s him responding to the CEO of Twitter, a company he’s at least theoretically trying to acquire:
Musk engages in profanity, sometimes so intense that he is embroiled in defamation lawsuits. He’s mostly stopped posting about his Ambien use, but I haven’t forgot the tweets†
A little red wine, vintage plate, some Ambien…and magic!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 7, 2017
Shit, once Musk announced he was taking Tesla private on Twittergenerally to the surprise of Tesla, Tesla’s investors and the SEC.
And here, for comparison, is Bezos:
100% agree. Would add: Politeness is hard. Named attacks and ad hominem attacks are simple, and when you use them, it becomes more difficult to collaborate. https://t.co/6lqQJHm5vk
— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) May 12, 2022
I can’t believe I’m about to explain Twitter, but for those of you who aren’t on the social media platform affectionately referred to as “hell” by its most devoted users: the dumbest users and the smartest users post in exactly the same way. Sentence snippets, inconsistent punctuation, half-baked ideas, and a strong propensity for trolling are all among the most consistent traits of the power users.
Trolling is actually crucial. See, one of Twitter’s main engagement mechanisms is the quote-tweet dunk, where you post someone else’s tweet to make fun of it. This means that Twitter strongly encourages bad behavior. Sure, a good own will boost engagement, but so will an obviously dumb take that offers other users an opening to dunk, further spreading your original tweet. There is no incentive to be reasonable. I’m going to say it again, because this is a fundamental law of Twitter: there is no incentive to be reasonable.
This is also not an age thing. One of the most truthful posters I’ve ever come across on Twitter is Joyce Carol Oates, aged 83, and I’m not going to embed them her feet photo post — it’s disgusting — but it’s a masterpiece of form and part of why we’re all on Twitter in the first place. This post about walking in sandals sparked discourse for a week! And this is not to mention the time she tweeted about Jurassic Park or wondered if we actually did, must hand it over to ISIS† absolute legend, this woman†
The reason Bezos’ tweets seem so corny and even bizarre is that he’s trying in despair being taken seriously on a platform that doesn’t reward being taken seriously. Twitter is for pushing your way to a presidency or becoming the CEO of Twitter. It’s pretending to think dinosaurs are an endangered species, watching llamas break loose, or dealing with some of the most instinctive and original discourse on the internet in a different way.
Now that we’ve established how to post, let’s take a look at some Bezos tweets. Take this:
The newly created disinformation board should review this tweet, or maybe they should form a new non-sequitur board instead. Raising corporate tax is perfectly negotiable. Taming inflation is critical to discuss. Putting them together is just deception. https://t.co/ye4XiNNc2v
— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) May 14, 2022
This is a Facebook ass Tweet. What is actually happening here? This isn’t fun enough to be a dunk. It’s definitely not trolling. What could be the point? Twitter has been around since the year of our lord 2006 and over the course of the last 15 years of its existence, every user has discovered the hard way that it is basically impossible to have a substantive conversation on the platform.
This is an attempt to influence the mind, to be a man of ideas. Except no one respects ideas on Twitter. Even the VCs figured out shitposting better than this. Do you remember how proud of them small shape rotator meme were they all?
The attempt at influencing the mind is actually getting worse. For example, take a look at this:
In fact, the government did its best to inject even more incentives into an already overheated, inflationary economy and only Manchin saved them from itself. Inflation is a regressive tax that affects the least affluent the most. Deception does not help the country. https://t.co/a8cygcunEG
— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) May 15, 2022
I’m not sure how you manage to build one of the companies that is the backbone of the internet without developing some sort of internet related situational awareness. And before Bezos started tweeting, I thought he did understand the internet. Definitely take this more scared from a blog post: “No thank you Mr Pecker† It’s dry and witty; it understands what blogs are for, and it is full of dick jokes. It’s the strongest possible response to someone trying to blackmail you with nude photos.
And now I’m convinced it was written by a PR professional. (Email me if it’s you!) Because there’s no way the person who understood the internet well enough to produce this would even try to post serious policies on Twitter.
Bezos’ obsession with the Biden administration is a nice way to show the problem. See, back in the day, responding to a Trump tweet was a great way to increase engagement, get yourself into a conversation. The basic strategy of the Biden administration is to pretend to be a bunch of Milford School graduates. Trying to use the Biden administration as a flywheel to get engagement ends up in things like this:
Look, a squirrel! This is the White House statement on my recent tweets. They understandably want to cloud the subject. They know that inflation hurts the most needy the most. But unions don’t cause inflation and neither do rich people. Remember the administration tried… pic.twitter.com/GaMb3Kiu72
— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) May 16, 2022
“Look, a squirrel!” My God. Adam Aron didn’t go without pants during a YouTube interview for “a squirrel!” to be the expression of “it’s a distraction.” Virality, memes and nonsense are now important for business purposes. Why else? AMC survives the pandemic† If you are a business leader, entertaining people is: real.
But Bezos doesn’t know this or doesn’t care. Here it gets spicy:
Hiding slide decks can be superficial thinking. Narratively structured memos are harder to write because they require more thought. It’s worth it. https://t.co/vIUX5I8QPl
— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) May 13, 2022
I don’t know, maybe this is a hit on the McKinsey corner of Twitter, but this isn’t going to get you any Musk-level attention. Bezos writes for consultants, professionals and managers for some reason. Limited audience. That’s probably why Bezos’ tweets aren’t getting the kind of traction that Musk’s do — kind of like how Blue Origin isn’t as successful as SpaceX.
Jeff my man maybe try tweeting next time off the toilet†