January 28, 2023

I worked at Twitter. Then she tweeted at Elon Musk.

In early November, Twitter had approximately 7,500 employees Received a curt email From a public headline: “In an effort to put Twitter on a healthy path, we will go through the difficult process of reducing our global workforce.” The note is signed “Twitter”. On November 3, some people at the company received emails indicating that they would be laid off the next day.

That night, Mrs. Solomon, her husband, and a few associates headed to Dots Cafe Portland, a lounge on Clinton Street. She said the phones were on the table, face up. As work friends talked, they tapped their phones, and engaged in Signal conversations with colleagues in London, Seattle and San Francisco. Ms. Solomon remembers messages like “I got beaten up” flying across the screens. “You used to see your coworkers dropping like flies,” she said.

By the next afternoon, her team of about 10 engineers was down to four. Mrs. Solomon and her husband survived the round of layoffs. The next week, she remembered, she was waiting for more guidance from Mr. Musk or the new executive team. Nothing came of it, she said, except for an email alerting employees that remote work would no longer be allowed, with a few exceptions.

Many employees learned about Mr. Musk’s priorities by watching his Twitter feed, where he frequently posts about the company’s business to more than 100 million followers. On November 5, he complained about the platform’s search functionality: “Search Inside Twitter reminds me of Infoseek in ’98! He wrote that it would also get a much better pronto. On the same day, he tweeted: “Twitter coming soon Add The ability to attach long text to tweets, ending the absurdity of Notepad screenshots.”

And this was more than what Mrs. Solomon and many of her colleagues had heard internally. “Radio silence,” she said. She started venting her frustration on Twitter.

One of her first tweets in this vein came on November 6, shortly after Mr. Musk announced a new Twitter user rule in a tweet: “any Changing the name at all will result in the temporary loss of the verified checkmark.” He posted that message after several people on Twitter changed their names to variations of Mr. Musk’s name, most of them mocking.