To be honest, I was a little angry.
Over the course of nine months, I observed an ego maniac cripple a social media giant with bad decision after bad decision. I watched this guy treat his employees like garbage, strive to create deliberate division, and chase whatever impulse he felt entitled to even if it was to the detriment of his company. I cheered when this toxic “leader” supposedly removed himself from day-to-day operations of Twitter by announcing a new CEO.
So after all the turmoil and damage that Elon Musk caused, I was happy when Twitter seemingly scored a big win. This past weekend, engagement numbers for the new social media platform that was supposed to send Twitter to its grave were released…and they weren’t good.
Forbes reported that the daily active user count for Threads plummeted from 44 million on July 7 to 13 million this past weekend. Even worse, the average daily time spent on the app tanked from 19 minutes in early July to four minutes as of July 21. Compare that to Twitter’s 200 million active users and average daily time spent on app of 30 minutes and you would think that new bird boss Linda Yaccarino and her crew would be toasting champagne. After so many months of crummy developments, Twitter notched a victory by standing strong against its latest (and what was supposed to be its “greatest”) direct competitor.
Leave it to Elon to sabotage the positive momentum.
Twitter Deserved Better
I am disappointed in the rushed and Mickey Mouse-esque way in which Twitter was “re-branded” to X. Even as a digital marketing professional who knows the greatest constant of social media is change, what happened in this case was an impulsive shit show. A platform that has meant so much to millions of users over the span of 17 years deserved better than to be ousted overnight and replaced by a single letter with a logo that looked like it was created on Kids Pix.
Sorry to sound cranky, but I am also irked from a professional standpoint. The haphazard “re-brand” means our WSU team needs to swap out countless Twitter depictions found in areas such as our website, residence hall posters, online social media directories, and even my analytics reporting spreadsheets. But even more frustrating than swapping a bird for an X is that I have been answering for Elon to my WSU colleagues for nine months now. I have given him way too much leeway while advising my fellow Cougs to stay the course. But when is enough truly enough?
X Isn’t Going Anywhere
Well, enough is still not enough…at least not for now. Despite Musk’s latest and most extreme stunt, the sun still rose for the platform now known as X. On Monday morning, my favorites like CNN, Darren Rovell and the Seattle Mariners were all still twe—I mean Xing? Despite the hideous new logo, the app is still essentially the same microblogging platform it was before Sunday. We shook our fists at Elon and mocked the rollout but it was still business as usual in terms of content deployment on the platform formerly known as Twitter.
So, yes, once again I advise not to pause/delete your X presence. The vast majority of accounts will continue to exist and engage on the platform and the stakes may be too high not to participate. If Twi—sorry, X—has proven one thing over the past nine months it’s that it is stronger and more resilient than a man who seems hellbent on destroying it.
Elon’s Motives Aren’t Mine
Perhaps I shouldn’t be so appalled at Elon Musk’s quest to dismantle what we knew as Twitter. After all, it is his company and his priorities aren’t mine. I look at the changes happening through the lens of a social media strategist who wants to preserve X as the social media powerhouse it once was. That’s not Elon’s vision. He wants to make X an enterprise that people depend on for fulfilling the most pressing tasks of life. With a goal like that, I guess I can see why posting updates about what you ate for breakfast might not be his primary concern.
But based on Musk’s decision making, maybe I am giving him too much credit. Although I can see why he would buy a platform with millions of users to springboard his lofty goals, I don’t think the way he treats people nor the prideful esteem he holds himself in will translate to the glory he is seeking.
So let the X era begin. I hate being held mercy at the hands of a whiny billionaire but as I have said time and time again, we must adapt to the constantly changing ecosystem of social media. Don’t Blink.