On Wednesday, December 11, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced the formation of @Bluesky, a small, agile team tasked with creating the technology that will eventually allow Twitter to become a self-sustaining, decentralized entity. In his Twitter thread making the announcement, he compared the initiative to decentralization in blockchain technology.
I loved the idea until I saw that his declaration that this journey, this quest, would take YEARS to complete. And Jack has yet to hire the person who is going to hire the team that will get all this done. Oh well. It was a nice thought.
I was quickly reminded that Mastodon is CURRENTLY doing exactly the thing that Jack wants to take years to accomplish. He could do this right now if he wanted to. But that’s clearly not what he wants.
Decentralization is currently enjoying “halo” status. It’s more than a buzzword. It’s an actual concept that can be applied in a broad range of tech activities, and in almost every instance, there is universal agreement that decentralization is a good thing.
This is now the second time that Jack has made a very low cost, low risk, public move to make himself and Twitter look great. The first was banning political ads earlier in the Fall. Not only did that cost the company very little revenue, it also won’t move the needle on political influence. Twitter has not been shown to have nearly the same degree of mind control (nudging) power that Facebook has.
And let’s not forget that Jack is taking a sabbatical to live in Africa for a large part of 2020. Think for a minute, what else is happening in the world that year? Apparently Donald Trump is now in charge of Twitter.
This is not to say that it’s all bad. The drive towards decentralization is just right. And Africa will play a gigantic role in tech development for the foreseeable future. Now is the time to gain an understanding of that market. I get it. But he simply shouldn’t be away during the United States election when his platform has become the President’s most important communication device. If he steps down and leaves someone else at the controls with final say, that’s different. But if he’s the one in charge, if the buck stops with Jack, then he should not be in Africa until after the election.