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Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter has been captured in the cartoons of a software engineer. They are brutal.

This article is from Big techa newsletter by Alex Kantrowitz.

Just like that, Manu Cornet’s time on Twitter was over. The prolific cartoonist and software engineer saw his services go offline and his laptop shut down during a meeting on November 1. Less than half an hour later, he learned he was absent, an early cut among the more than 3,700 Twitter employees who lost their jobs. this month.

Cornet’s stint on Twitter was brief but well illustrated. With dozens of cartoons, Cornet described the inner feeling when Musk acquired the company. As the person behind some of the tech world’s best-known cartoons, including a movie about Big Tech Org Charts—Cornet was perfectly placed to document the wild Twitter experience of 2022.

Now sue twitterCornet does not speak publicly, but he gave me permission to reprint his cartoons on Twitter (which he calls “twittoons”), which he continues to publish on the platform. Here are 11 illustrations that shed light on Twitter’s recent past like no other medium can.

July 6, 2021: Welcome to Twitter

Manu Cornet

Cornet started his career on Twitter poking fun at corporate inefficiency. He saw some of its processes – in this case, disorganized password management – and was unimpressed. For years, Twitter was a slow, red tape-filled company that struggled to ship products. Cornet learned why.

August 30, 2021: The central tension of Twitter

A Twitter board torn between banning bots and abusive users and making money.
Manu Cornet

Musk hadn’t entered the picture yet, but Cornet identified Twitter’s impossible balance early on. The service is filled with bots and abuse, but the market wants the associated engagement. So he’s stuck in the middle.

November 30, 2021: exit from Dorsey

Jack Dorsey expressing his love for Square.
Manu Cornet

CEO Jack Dorsey resigned from Twitter on November 29, 2021. The following day, Cornet highlighted his dual loyalties to Twitter and Square, the other company he ran at the same time. The “uh-oh” is telling, because the question the ellipses led to was: what comes next? Cornet and his colleagues would soon find out.

February 16, 2022: A loss of direction

Two Twitter employees having a discussion revealing a business malfunction.
Manu Cornet

After Parag Agrawal took over as CEO, Cornet pointed to a lack of vision. His cartoon from that time indicates that Twitter’s priorities were vague but always accompanied by an urgency to demonstrate progress.

April 7, 2022: Elon enters the scene

The Elon Musk cartoon presents a scary choice for Twitter employees.
Manu Cornet

On April 4, 2022, Musk announced that he had become First shareholder of Twitter after acquiring 9% of the company. On April 5, he was offered a seat on the board. On April 7, Cornet gave insight into the impending culture clash between Musk and the company’s employees.

April 14, 2022: Eliminate the Noise

Twitter employees, surrounded by a crowded stadium of loud people, are instructed to mute the noise.
Manu Cornet

Musk made an offer to buy Twitter in April 2022. Meanwhile, management urged Twitter employees to shut down the noise and focus on work. This caricature, which Cornet drew a few days later, perfectly illustrates the absurdity of this request.

July 11, 2022: Musk tries to break free

Musk is seen breaking Twitter in a store.
Manu Cornet

After signing a deal to buy Twitter, Musk said he didn’t want to go through with it anymore. Cornet imagined him having to close the deal in this cartoon. Later, he handed Musk a signed copy with a note: “Hope you don’t mind being a ‘court jester’ on Twitter or you’ll have to get me fired.” Musk eventually accepted the offer.

August 25, 2022: A roller coaster

A giddy Twitter bird who just went on a roller coaster.
Manu Cornet

Twitter sued to force the deal with Musk. As the case unfolded, life inside Twitter became dizzying. Like the rest of us, the employees had no idea when it would end.

October 6, 2022: transaction concluded

A musk-shaped asteroid is hurtling towards planet Twitter.
Manu Cornet

Musk agreed to complete the deal in October and rushed to Twitter at lightning speed. The employees had a good idea of ​​what was to come.

October 26, 2022: Parag MIA

No one knows where Parag Agrawal is;  the scene depicts a hovering blue plane.
Manu Cornet

Twitter employees heard very little from their CEO during this time. It looked like he was cowering and waiting to collect his massive severance package.

November 11, 2022: Down the drain

Musk throws Twitter workers down a sink;  they emerge free like a bird.
Manu Cornet

Musk acquired Twitter in late October and walked into Twitter headquarters with a sink. Soon after, he would send Cornet and over 3,700 of his colleagues down the figurative drain. As Cornet imagined, all is not bad.

Musk now controls Twitter and ships products, features and policy news fast. It has nothing to do with the bureaucratic enterprise Cornet entered last year. Musk can still do a good job with the company (as I quarreled last week). But all the while, there’s also been a human story on Twitter. If it wasn’t so frustrating, you might even call it all cartoonish.