Twitter was my first social media passion. I never got into MySpace, and I have always found Facebook annoying. When I heard Guy Kawasaki compare Twitter to a cocktail party where you can move from group to group, discussing and sharing what you heard with different people, it clicked for me. I have spent countless hours on Twitter for myself and my clients since 2011.
That is not to say there haven’t been ups and downs with Twitter, but what has happened to Twitter in recent weeks is disturbing.
Not only has Twitter’s new leader provided a platform for hate speech and disinformation, but he is actively amplifying it. My feed used to be filled fill with people and topics I chose to follow. Since Elon took over, my feed has been full of him and right-wing crackpots.
From a marketing perspective, I get what he’s trying to do. He’s trying to make people angry, so they will engage in a misguided effort to improve Twitter’s numbers to bring back all the advertisers who have abandoned him. I do mean they left ‘him,’ not the platform or the community.
There have always been people on Twitter I disagree with. Some of my favorite encounters have been with people who I disagree with, but not the racist, antisemitic, misogynistic hatriots that I am being force-fed with now.
Twitter isn’t a cocktail party I want to be at anymore.
As I have said to several clients and reporters, the Muskization of Twitter will likely end in one of three ways.
- Musk destroys the company, and Twitter declares bankruptcy to salvage some of his billions.
- Musk moves the goal line, declares victory (I saved Twitter), and steps aside to let someone competent run the operation. Once it’s semi-viable again, he will sell it off for pennies on the dollar.
- As the alternatives to Twitter platforms mature, most users will abandon Twitter. Musk will have a costly vanity project where he and like-minded people can live in their echo chamber and pretend they are relevant.
So, what am I going to do? For the time being, I will do what I’m calling “hibernating” on the platform, effective December 22, 2022. I’m keeping @TheCampaignHQ, but I will stop posting and engaging on Twitter. I will stop using the platform. Over the coming weeks, I will try new platforms and periodically review to see if things on Twitter improve.
Here’s the advice I am giving clients:
For political clients, I recommend they distance themselves from Twitter and keep an eye on what the media does. If reporters start moving to another platform en masse, they should follow.
Most are happy to be free of the toxic environment that Twitter has become.
For non-political clients, it’s trickier. Several clients use Twitter as their only social media or as a free customer service platform.
They also have additional concerns about what’s happening technologically. The mass layoffs and resignations have created fears that Twitter won’t work tomorrow morning. They also are concerned with the negative effect on their brand of being associated with Twitter.
Some clients have already quit Twitter. Others will have more extended departures because they have so much printed material with their Twitter handle on it. I don’t think that companies will be easily reversed once the migration of business accounts happens. Organizations have lost faith that Twitter can or should be part of their marketing portfolio. They simply don’t trust Musk and Twitter.
I’m a little sad about leaving Twitter, but now that I have decided what I am doing, I’m relieved to put Elon in the rearview mirror.
I’ll continue to post on Facebook and Instagram at @TheCampaignHQ and update the Twitter account when I find other social media platforms worth spending time on.
Good luck Twitterverse!