We’re starting to get a clearer picture of how Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter has changed the platform.
A “majority” of US Twitter users “took a break” from the platform over the past year, according to new data from Pew Research, and many of the site’s “most active” users are tweeting less than before.
Six-in-ten Americans who have used Twitter in the past 12 months say they took a break from the platform for several weeks or more during that period, Pew wrote in a report based on a survey of 10,701 Twitter users.
the user. In a separate report, Pew also studied the “actual behavior” of 1,002 of Twitter’s “most active” users and found “a marked posting decline” in the months following Musk’s acquisition. Pew said that the average number of tweets per month from these users declined by about 25% after the acquisition.
Taken together, these figures suggest that engagement on Twitter has decreased since Musk’s acquisition, at least among formerly active users. This is especially noteworthy because, as Pew notes, most Twitter users are lurkers, not posters. Twenty percent of Twitter users send 98 percent of all tweets.
At the same time, it seems that many of Twitter’s most active users haven’t completely given up on the platform. According to Pew, only 25 percent of highly active users said they are not likely to be on Twitter or not at all a year from now.
Pew did not poll Twitter users on the reasons for their pullback from Twitter, or if Musk’s actions were directly responsible for the change. It also doesn’t take into account how many new users might have joined Twitter in the past year.
But the new numbers offer new insight into the growing ranks of Twitter dropouts who are spending more time on alternative platforms like Mastodon and BlueSky since Musk’s acquisition.
Unsurprisingly, Pew also found that Musk himself has become a main character on Twitter over the past year. The report said the average number of adult Twitter users in the US mentioned Musk in a tweet between January 1 and April 13, 2022, before he announced his intention to acquire the platform.
Since then, references to musk have become much more common at the site. These users tweeted about him an average of three times between April 14 and October 26, 2022 – while Musk was in the process of acquiring the platform and an average of six times in the months following the finalization of the sale.
There have been reports that Musk has named a new CEO in former NBCU executive Linda Yacarino. Yacarino, who will debut in the coming weeks, is expected to draw on his advertising industry experience to try to win back advertisers, many of whom have fled following controversial policy changes by Musk.
Whether she’ll be able to win back the much-hyped “highly active tweeter,” however, remains unclear. With Musk staying on as CTO and executive chairman, he is likely to remain Twitter’s most influential and controversial user for the foreseeable future.