Psuedo-events, AI, and the unraveling of Threads

Pseudo-event (noun) A display designed to monopolize consumer attention, despite having no real substance or consequence

Anna Klawitter
7 min readAug 16


I’m sorry. Truly, I am.

I wish I could use this space to write about groundbreaking innovations, inspiring acts of content, or literally anything else. But here we are — bemoaning the feud no one asked for but we can’t seem to escape.

For some reason, any time Musk picks a fight, it falls to us — the weary scribes of the media and internet blogs — to chronicle it. It’s a dirty job.

“Part of me hesitates to spill yet more ink on a battle that no part of me has ever believed would take place. Last week I wrote here about the importance of bringing skepticism to Musk’s posts on X, the former Twitter, and encouraged my peers in the press to consider not covering them at all. It’s clear that Musk seeks attention for attention’s sake, and given that so many of his promises come to nothing, ignoring him often feels like the best approach.”

So instead of detailing what happened in the latest battle of the billionaires (you can read about here, here, and here), I’m going to give to you a media study in pseudo-events.

The whole spectacle — from Musk’s rapid descent into stalker territory to Zuck sharing his PR-ified side of the story on Threads — is less a battle of gladiators in a colosseum and more two boys in a sandbox.

Except the sandbox is the internet and the boys are grown men with the power to shape global policy.

In the media world, we call this a pseudo-event — a display designed to monopolize consumer attention, despite having no real substance or consequence.

Imagine a reality show featuring two billionaires, more money than most countries, and zero stakes. That’s this feud. It’s orchestrated (at least on Musk’s side) for public consumption and intended to go viral.

We already know the downsides of a pseudo event (manipulation of public perception



Anna Klawitter

Writing style? No one cares. Write so they choose to.