Elon Musk Twitter

Furniture industry weighs in on Elon Musk’s Twitter acquisition

Erica Crawford//Associate Editor, Furniture Today//May 2, 2022

SAN FRANSICO – Elon Musk’s recently announced purchase of Twitter has shined a spotlight on the social media platform at a time when businesses both within the furniture industry and without, are increasingly reliant on social channels as a key conduit to consumers.  The $44 billion deal capped off a news cycle in which the Tesla and SpaceX CEO became one of Twitter’s largest shareholders, turned down a seat on its board and instead offered to buy the company. The question of why one of the world’s richest men would want to buy a platform that has been fighting to reignite user growth, and what this might mean, is a source of widespread speculation.

“I invested in Twitter as I believe in its potential to be the platform for free speech around the globe, and I believe free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy,” Musk said in his offer letter to Twitter. “However, since making my investment I now realize the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form. Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company.”

It is no secret that Twitter has received scrutiny for its timeline algorithm and its excessive number of bots, making it a harder platform to gain traction on and navigate, especially for business profiles.

“I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots and authenticating all humans,” Musk wrote. “Twitter has tremendous potential; I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it.”

While there is a lot that can and will happen before the acquisition is finalized and Musk’s influence is fully felt, Furniture Today reached out to furniture industry executives to assess what impact the change of ownership may have on the ways companies use one of the world’s largest communication platforms.

Here’s what they had to say:

Barb Scherer
Barb Scherer

Authenticity is important to us. Having a more transparent and “real” conversation with our community is a positive, regardless of the channel or location where that interaction exists. Since we are still so new to Twitter, we don’t foresee a significant shift in how we use the platform but are hopeful any changes will increase our content visibility to those who would naturally be inclined to interact with it. Barb Scherer, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Badcock Home Furniture & more

“One improvement we would welcome is to have Twitter traffic more responsive to hashtags, like Instagram is. Regarding his promise of better algorithms, there’s a “wait and see” attitude. Some of Musk’s comments and past behavior suggest he has an agenda, so there’s a concern he will amplify certain posts and deemphasize others to push that agenda. He has suggested he will “loosen up” the platform considerably. If that means allowing more hate speech, harassment, advocation of violence or misinformation that undermines public health, it could create an unhealthy platform not conducive to building brands. What’s important is that the Twitter platform is transparent, engaging and responsible in order to promote vital public communication and commerce.” Kim Shaver, spokesperson for Marge Carson

Brad Cates
Brad Cates

For Sarreid, Twitter is included in all social media posting activities, but it remains the lowest in terms of customer interaction. Sarreid is 110% invested in being where our customers are looking for information. If the proposed changes enhance the format, then we are all in. Platforms like Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook allow Sarreid to tell a visual story. We speak to beauty, quality, harmony and product availability, an open source platform would “in concept” enhance this opportunity to speak to an even larger audience. Brad Cates, president and CEO of Sarreid

“Currently, we use Twitter to publish inspiring imagery and engage with designers and customers around the world. We’re excited at the prospect of Twitter’s platform growth and increased flexibility for it’s users. As we focus on growing our brand digitally, we look forward to Twitter becoming a larger part of our social presence.” Maggie O’Hare, director of marketing at Theodore Alexander

Matt Targett, Stickley
Matt Targett

First, less bots is always better. We suspect that a large percentage of Twitter accounts are either abandoned or bots. Weeding out the bots can only lead to a better experience. Second, Twitter has spent 15 years developing an algorithm that ostensibly works. If Musk’s ownership causes the engineering and analytics teams to start from scratch, I am not certain it will be a great experience at launch. That is only speculation, and we are excited to see where he goes with the algorithm. If we see the engagement improve, we will increase our presence on Twitter. — Matt Targett, director of marketing at Stickley Furniture

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