April 25, 2022
Photo illustration: Getty Images; Splash News; Protocol
Good morning! As Elon Musk pursues Twitter, many are wondering: What does Jack Dorsey think of all this? Dorsey seems to be quite literally tweeting through it — when he’s not evangelizing bitcoin. I’m Owen Thomas, and I heard Dorsey used to roam the halls of the San Francisco Chronicle when Square rented space in its building (oh, to have been a fly on that wall …).
We have some questions about what's going on with Jack Dorsey. It started in December when Dorsey and Marc Andreessen started scrapping on Twitter. That was bad enough, but now it seems like Elon Musk's Twitter bid has made Dorsey even more honest. Now he’s calling himself a “Block Head," which, well, OK then!
Dorsey ostensibly shouldn’t care about Twitter, right? He announced last year he’d step off the board and end his relationship with the company completely by next month. He’s also said he’s dedicating his life to bitcoin, and his work at his companies — make that company, singular, now — was only relevant to him if he thought it advanced that cause. Because bitcoin, Dorsey believed, would bring about world peace.
But now? Dorsey seems like a man who has run out of cares to give. Except when he's not dropping the occasional hugging emoji, that is.
The most serious feud may be with Twitter’s board. And that’s not a great thing, given the upcoming showdown with Musk, who’s lined up financing for his bid to buy Twitter.
The thing is, Dorsey does have a day job, and it’s running Block. The company formerly known as Square has serious issues, like increasing competition in point-of-sale systems and the challenges of integrating its Afterpay acquisition.
It may be uncomfortable, but the way Dorsey uses Twitter is always worth watching. One of the changes Ev Williams made after he fired Dorsey as CEO was to change the prompt on Twitter’s website from “What are you doing?” to the more impersonal “What’s happening?” Dorsey’s vision of Twitter was as an updated version of AIM’s status message, a real-time view into people’s emotions, hopes and fears. Williams, who also created Blogger, saw it more as a place to dispassionately observe the world. (Twitter’s rumored “Vibe” status feature is a throwback to the Dorsey version of Twitter.) So Dorsey’s lashing out on Twitter may at times be unbecoming. But it’s also very real. Maybe Dorsey’s not OK. Maybe none of us is OK. And that’s OK. Let’s all stop and hug.
— Owen Thomas (email | twitter | dog’s instagram)
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