Michael Kalore: In a word?
Lauren Good: I’ll give you a phrase.
Michael Kalore: Elon Musk.
Lauren Good: Oh really? It’s like a proper name.
Michael Kalore: Yeah.
Lauren Good: It’s like a wrong noun.
Michael KaloreA: I mean, it looks great. And you?
Lauren Good: I went with a dictionary word, so I chose adverse.
Michael Kalor: Unfavorable.
Lauren Good: Unfavorable.
Michael CaloreA: It’s dark.
Lauren Good: Look it up. Dark. Yes, but it’s been a strange year.
Michael Calore: It was a very strange year. I mean, all years are weird, but I think this year is off the charts.
Lauren GoodA: We need to talk about it.
Michael Calore: Let’s do it.
[Gadget Lab intro theme music plays]
Lauren Good: Hi all. Welcome to the Gadget Lab. I’m Lauren Good. I’m a senior writer at WIRED.
Michael Kalore: I’m Michael Calore. I’m a senior editor at WIRED.
Lauren Good: This is our last episode of Gadget Lab this year. We used to usually post a re-release around this time of year, but we’ve heard that you all really enjoy listening to Gadget Lab in December, maybe because you’re looking for a little escape from family or you. You are traveling and you need capsules for a long trip. So we’re here recording this in mid-December and hope you find some joy in this episode. So, Mike and I thought a lot and discussed the most important technical news of 2022. As journalists we cover the news a lot, but a big part of the job is also being an avid news consumer and we’ve both been completely immersed in everything to do with the metaverse, Web3, Zuck, Apple, Twitter, SBF.
Michael Kalor: Elon.
Lauren Good: Elon Musk. Mike, I’ll get straight to the point. What do you think is the biggest tech news of 2022?
Michael KalorA: Well, when we were preparing for this episode, we made our own lists of things we wanted to talk about and then shared those lists with each other. I have something I want to talk about, but I think what you want to talk about is more important. So we have to talk about this first, and that’s Tweelon.
Lauren Good: Twilon.
Michael Kalor: Mr. Twilon.
Lauren Good: Yeah. I mean, you pretty much hinted at this in the intro to our show, that this is going to be a big topic for us today. So it started back in April when Elon Musk said he would acquire a 9.2% stake in Twitter and exercise influence over the company through its board of directors. He then quickly declared that he would not sit on the board of directors, and a few days later announced his intention to just buy Twitter, just buy it for about $44 billion. In the months that followed, Musk accused Twitter of a bigger bot problem than originally stated. Twitter investors sued Musk again and again. Musk seemed to be trying to find a way out of the deal, while the rest of us were trying to figure out what Elon’s Twitterverse would look like. Then, at the end of October, it really happened. The deal was done and Tweelon, as we called it here at WIRED, became a reality, but of course the chaos didn’t go away, quite the opposite. Musk fired half of Twitter employees. He announced and then remained silent about plans for a new verification scheme and higher subscription fees for Twitter Blue. He restored several well-known accounts on the platform. He blocked some others. He posted a package of content moderation files that seemed to be fairly transparent. Most recently, he angered conservative trolls by tweeting something derogatory about people’s favorite pronouns. Yes, and this, by the way, is just in mid-December, as I said.