How Elon Musk’s Twitter Buy Could Impact Social Media Jobs

After months of conflict and uncertainty, it seems that Elon Musk’s plan to acquire Twitter for $44 billion is back on—which could have a sizable impact not only on all the technologists working for the company, but pretty much everyone in the social media ecosystem.

Why is Musk willing to spend a significant portion of his net worth on Twitter, a company that’s routinely struggled for market-share against Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and other social-media platforms? An Oct. 4 Tweet offers a clue:

Or as CNBC put it: “Musk may be hinting toward so-called ‘super apps’ which are popular in China and other parts of Asia and pioneered by the likes of Chinese technology giant Tencent.” Those so-called “super apps” (which also include WeChat, a social-media and payments app with more than a billion active monthly users in China) allow users to carry out a variety of functions on the same platform, from ride-hailing and food delivery to payments.

If the acquisition goes through, Musk will likely need to hire a lot of very skilled technologists to make that ambitious vision a reality. In theory, a successful “super app” will need data scientists, mobile app developers, fintech specialists, UI/UX designers, and many more kinds of technology professionals—and Musk may need to pay significant compensation to draw them away from their current jobs. Twitter’s longtime internal drama, which has led to scores of technologists leaving the company, probably won’t help draw folks in.  

For those intrigued by Musk’s plans, it’s helpful to review what he tends to pay technologists. For example, here’s what software engineers make at Tesla (this data comes from levels.fyi, which crowdsources its compensation data):

Meanwhile, here’s what various rankings of software engineers make at Twitter:

Compensation at a Musk-run Twitter will certainly remain high, but if Musk’s other companies are any indication, employees will be expected to work long hours and deliver extraordinary results. If Musk’s efforts succeed, you could see talent from other social-media companies gravitating toward Twitter—which would make for an interesting reversal of the past few years.

One Response to “How Elon Musk’s Twitter Buy Could Impact Social Media Jobs”

  1. Jake_Leone

    Suru Murugesan, a Twitter engineer, is on video saying that Twitter workers work about 4 hours a week. And this points out a serious problem with the executives running Twitter. The problem being, they are basically all sand-baggers.
    There was no pressure on Twitter to add features, until Musk got vocal. At first, Twitter balked at the suggestion it needed an edit capability. Then Elon threatened to expose a pole on the feature, and suddenly the feature was in BETA test.
    Now Twitter had decades to implement this edit feature. But never did, until outside pressure was applied, at which point it was in Beta 2 weeks later. I’d say, if you only work your engineers 4 hours a week, of course, nothing will get done, nothing will ever change. But I think Twitter executives like it that way, adding features means risk, possibly having to do overtime when something is broken (what if it fails, how do we explain it to the board?), I mean who needs the headache. After all, according to what Suru said “Mental health is everything at Twitter”.
    Twitter has a 900 million dollar a year payroll, but loses 220 million a year.
    I’d say, if you don’t plan on adding any new features, and your current staff is only working 4hrs a week. You could lay off 90% of the staff, and Twitter would be unchanged.
    Further, it looks like half the staff are not doing anything but content moderation. You could probably fire 95% of Twitter’s staff, if you are not intent to suppress conservative voices 24×7, or important news stories (that might affect Liberal candidates).
    The result would be a 500-700 million in profit each year.
    Take half of that profit, and invest in new features or a vastly improved platform. (you could hire a thousand, full-time engineers, on 250 million a year)
    And then you could see a massive turnaround at Twitter. In the process you might relocate to Texas, where you can pay engineers a lot less and likely get better results.