X: What is Elon Musk up to? Robert Scoble weighs in

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If you took a first principles view of media, as I have, while visiting 12 of the United States this year alone, you might understand what Elon Musk is up to. X lets him re-contextualize Twitter for everyone. His haters. His lovers. His family. His friends.

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

This article was written by Robert Scoble on X and republished here with permission. For more about Robert, see his bio at the end of this article. This is an editorial, all thoughts, and opinions are his.

I notice that Instagram and TikTok have a lot more play inside my family than Facebook or Twitter have. Some refuse to sign up for Twitter. They have their list of in-detail complaints. None of which can be fixed.

I spoke at Google’s first advertising conference when I was a Microsoft employee. No one else from Microsoft was invited. So, that might tell you something. There I sat with the Kraft Food executives who taught me about advertising.

“$34 a 16-year-old.”

That’s what they told me their advertising costs to convince a 16-year-old to try its cheese, or other products. They will spend that $34 wherever they think it will make most money per dollar spent.

I also learned that conservatives monetize at a far higher rate than liberals do. That’s why Rush Limbaugh was so profitable. And Elon will never be called a “woke CEO,” because he invited them back and joined in their storytelling.

Ford’s executives told me that conservatives buy a lot more trucks, too, but that’s a story for when the Cybertruck sales numbers come in. I think Elon can win a few sales away from Ford.

Tesla Cybertruck X: What is Elon Musk up to? Robert Scoble breaks it down.

So, now we are faced with a new media landscape. Liberals have mostly left here (X), or, are now playing a new quiet game. Tribal social networks have arrived, with TruthSocial out on the right, along with others, leading the way. Will their audiences return?

Certainly, not to something named “Twitter,” many told me. X lets Elon re-contextualize what it means to be social. If you free your mind from the past (I said goodbye last night to 16+ years on this website, and it was painful) then you’ll see a new kind of media is coming, one that AI assists in, at minimum.

But there is value in being human. Do you want to listen to someone’s iPhone around a campfire when grandpa is telling a story? Or do you want grandpa to be there?

Of course we want grandpa to be there, but there are plenty of times he (or grandma) can’t be.

There’s a new media coming that lets us take them along. To anything that means something to them. “What’s that smoke in the sky?” “When will Taylor Swift visit my city?” “Who has the best BBQ in Austin?” “Where can I take the best photo of Yosemite?”

Turns out that the answers change depending on how you look at it.

The locals, for instance, in Austin, don’t go often to Terry Blacks because it is about twice the price of “decent BBQ” down the street. But when you have only one meal, they all recommend Terry Blacks. Unless they can get me in the back door of Franklins, since we don’t usually have the three hours it takes in line sometimes. 🙂

Which gets me to something else, I keep hearing Twitter is toxic. I really don’t see that side of this place because I use all the features in the settings to filter things out I don’t really care about much, but it sort of does come from the idea we are birds chirping at each other.

Isn’t conversation supposed to be more like a love affair?

No one sells their social network that way. Which shows there’s still space for storytelling here. I can’t do this length of a post on that new social network everyone over there thinks is better than here. Which also shows we are attracted by new ways to tell stories to each other.

Even better photos get noticed. Why? Because it lets us tell each other stories better. With less friction between our brains. And video? Who has the best? YouTube. My 13- and 15-year-old kids learned to read on it (true story).

There, the quality is starting to get pretty high. So, I doubt Elon can do much with video to win.

Elon Musk Twitter
Bye Bye Birdy

But start showing how the future X would use Neural Radiance Fields, AKA “NeRFs,” AKA “3D scenes,” AKA “light fields.” You have seen me share the innovation from the AI folks on just NeRFs alone.

Soon we will be able to share 3D worlds (either real looking, or completely weird, or anything in between) with each other. Twitter just won’t fit there anymore.

X does.

Soon, seeing another NeRF of Yosemite will be boring. But seeing someone dance inside their NeRF of Yosemite? Now you have a performance.

I saw young people doing the performance to their cameras. Me also. Hah. But as I walked through Times Square, how did my video start? Another insta360 owner saw me recording with mine and started dancing with me while waving his at me. He knew how to make my video more interesting. He was making his more interesting too.

Would Twitter be open to 360 videos? NeRFs? That sounds like countless meetings I went to at Microsoft where we found excuse after excuse not to do something interesting.

X reboots all that.

Now we aren’t sure WHAT is next. Elon could announce any number of things and we’d all cheer. Why? Because our expectation level has been rebooted. It is what it is.

He did just throw out the rule book, but then I remember asking executives at Microsoft why they don’t get rid of the Windows brand. They looked at me like I was stupid, which I was, but reminded me of brand value and how much was built up into that brand.

So it never got rid of the name, or the idea, even in the HoloLens. Which looks dead as a door nail right now.

Which shows how things change. Ebb and flow. Sometimes things get torn down, like the Sahara in Las Vegas, to make room for the new.

X is the new. The implosion is done.

The X Man Elon Musk
The X Man

Now we see if Elon Musk is the genius I know he is, or the chump everyone on that other social network thinks he is.

X gives him a blank canvas on which to paint.

I probably will hate most of the ideas, but if even one hits, Elon is a far richer man than today.

Tesla has the only real time digital twin of the real world at a resolution good enough an autonomous car could drive through it. Or a robot. Or someone wearing Spatial Computers.

I bet Elon Musk and Tim Cook were talking about all the fun things Tesla owners will do with them. Or at least the kids in the back seat on a road trip in a Cybertruck. Or while chilling at a Supercharger. Or, while the car drives. Which mine just did all through Yosemite. Both high elevation and low.

During these drives, I noticed that I enjoyed the environment more. Noticing the flowers flowing by. Or that there was a lot more snow than the last time I was there in July. I was also looking a lot at the screen, and what it was showing the driver, and when would I want to switch it to a “X Feed” or a “X Video?”

On the freeway there? Certainly. But when we drove through Yellowstone we had an audio guide playing on the sound system in the car that was geo-fenced, so the scientist who recorded them came on at just the right time.

Soon we will have Spatial Computers on our faces. When that happens? Twitter just doesn’t fit well. X does. Elon has completely freed X from the past by his actions the past few months. Everyone who hates Elon is now somewhere else, and Elon is free to paint.

Can’t wait to see what happens tomorrow.

Robert Scoble 1

Robert Scoble Wrote two books about Spatial Computing before Apple announced its Spatial Computer, which is AI+AR. AI-First chief strategy officer @infiniteretina. You can find him on X and on his blog Scobleizar. He is the co-Author of The Infinite Retina: Spatial Computing, Augmented Reality, and how a collision of new technologies are bringing about the next tech revolution, find it on Amazon.

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