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Sunday, November 6, 2022

Social Media Discontents

I have been fascinated by the clown car crashing into a dumpster fire that Twitter has seen since the Elon Musk takeover. Although one of my character weaknesses is finding enjoyment from management meltdowns, there was a mixture of alarm since my genius engagement strategy was to largely rely on Twitter. However, some of the more worrying developments was disinformation spread on Twitter (lol), and I do not see any immediate need for radical shifts on my part.

(Note: anyone interested in technical discussions can skip this post. This is just explaining my thinking about my content delivery.)

At this point, Twitter has been burdened with a debt service of $1 billion per year, and has allegedly lost a lot of major advertising accounts. I find it unlikely that this will rapidly reverse, and so Twitter will be a liquidity black hole. However, my guess is that Musk and/or deep-pocketed backers will pour cash into that black hole for at least a little while, barring other major developments (which may happen). My reasoning is to look at Musk’s history — his firms relied on government subsidies. It is fairly clear that there are at least some governments that might be willing to funnel a couple billion into Twitter.

A mass exodus of “normies” from Twitter is possible, and would happen if some of Musk’s previous musings were implemented. But unless my experience on their is too miserable and/or there is a reputational risk associated with the site, I am not going to make any major changes to my “social media strategy” (which is a serious-sounding description of retweeting cat pictures and ranting about stupid things that Larry Summers has written).

My Previous Strategy

I push out free content on the internet as a publicity device for my books, and to circulate drafts to get comments (crowd-sourced technical editing). A tertiary objective is that I also get to rant about economics and finance — although those rants may not help sell my books. I also use social media of various types to get curated lists of things to read and write about.

I largely pushed my short form content (rants) and the curating function to Twitter. This worked well, and I also used Twitter to keep up with non-economic news. So long as you use the chronological timeline — i.e., no algorithmic garbage pushed into my timeline — and aggressive unfollowing/muting/blocking, Twitter is extremely useful for getting good information on niche topics in the same platform. So long as there is nothing that interferes with that function, I can largely stick with what I am doing.

However, I may need to reduce my dependence upon Twitter. As such, I might pivot to putting more short form content out on my Substack and blog. Rather than clog people’s e-mails, I might confine the random rants on the blog. I also need to react more to the econ blogosphere in my website writings, which I had largely done on Twitter.

Although there have been a lot of discussions about migrating econ twitter elsewhere, I will be a late adopter. I will be able to see where traffic is coming from, and so know where to put efforts if necessary.

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(c) Brian Romanchuk 2022


  1. Brian, have you considered a post on this DSGE critique that was making the rounds on twitter? I'm curious about your perspective:

    Most of the response I've seen from econtwitter is that this paper says nothing new or misunderstands the purpose of dsge or likely has a coding mistake (a couple have not been able to replicate).

    1. (This is Brian.) I saw the article, but I was not too excited about digging into it. It was completely predictable that the DSGE defenders would dismiss it. I certainly do not have time to replicate the work right now.


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