Twitter’s Turbulent Year, As Seen Through One Fired Employee’s Cartoons

Manu Cornet drew his way through a tumultuous year at Twitter. His cartoons depict the experience as no other medium can.

Alex Kantrowitz

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Just like that, Manu Cornet’s time at Twitter was over. The prolific cartoonist and software engineer watched his services disconnect and laptop go blank in a meeting on November 1. Less than a half hour later, he learned he was out, an early cut among the 3,700+ Twitter employees who lost their jobs this month.

Cornet’s time at Twitter was brief but well llustrated. With dozens of cartoons, Cornet depicted the feeling inside as Musk acquired the company. As the person behind some of the tech world’s best-known cartoons — including an all-timer on big tech org charts — Cornet was perfectly placed to document the wild 2022 Twitter experience.

Now suing Twitter, Cornet isn’t speaking publicly, but he did give Big Technology permission to reprint his Twitter cartoons (which he calls “twittoons”) with attribution. So this week, let’s highlight eleven illustrations that illuminate Twitter’s recent past as no other medium can.

July 6, 2021: Welcome to Twitter

Cornet began his Twitter career poking fun at the company’s inefficiency. He saw some of its processes — in this case, disorganized password management — and was not impressed. Twitter is a slow-moving, red-tape-filled company that’s struggled to ship products over the years. Cornet is learning why.

August 30, 2021: Twitter’s Central Tension

Musk hasn’t yet entered the picture but Cornet identifies Twitter’s impossible balancing act early on. The service is filled with bots and abuse, but the market wants the associated engagement. So it’s stuck in the middle.

November 30, 2021: Dorsey’s Out

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Alex Kantrowitz

Veteran journalist covering Big Tech and society. Subscribe to my newsletter here: https://bigtechnology.substack.com.