It’s Not You, It’s M(Elon): Navigating Twitter with Brands and Media Leaving

By: Sarah Ikalowych

As PR professionals, being present and active on Twitter is part of our daily routine. It’s our go-to for quick news hits, a space to interact with the media on a more personal level, and of course, somewhere to take a break and catch some laughs. However, with the drama surrounding Elon Musk’s purchase of the app and the resulting effects that marred the end of 2022, it started feeling more like a toxic relationship than a tool for professional use. Both consumer brands and journalists started becoming victims of Twitter’s new policies and punishments, with brands seeing fake accounts use their likeliness after the verification system changed, leading to fraudsters posting harmful content while posing as the “verified” account. For journalists, several top names in the industry had their accounts suspended without any clear explanation as to why.

This has led to a mass exodus of brands and journalists from the app, or significantly reducing their time spent interacting with it. However, while we may not be able to follow all of our favorite industry writers or tag some brands in posts anymore, we don’t need to break up with Twitter for good; there are still plenty of ways in which we can interact with Twitter positively and professionally. 

Trending Topics

Trending topics are nothing new to Twitter, but we have seen less of an emphasis on and use of hashtags in Twitter’s everyday use. Closely following the trending topics for the day and week can provide some great ideas for bringing creativity and relevancy to social posts, headlines, and pitch hooks, as well as keep you up to speed on what the internet is abuzz about on a day-to-day basis.

News in Real Time

While journalists may not be using Twitter to share their own stories as much, they and the outlets they work for are certainly still commenting on and sharing breaking news items. Twitter is hugely helpful for following breaking updates to stories that are developing in real-time. One great example of this is the trajectory of the FTX fallout. This was essentially a Twitter movie between CoinDesk publishing their story on Alameda Research’s balance sheet, the tweets back and forth between SBF and CZ, the “will they/won’t they” of the potential acquisition and all the other tweet-worthy details that made up the threads.  

Sharing Success and Client Wins

After all, who doesn’t love a little humble brag now and again? The shift in use from others provides us with an opportunity to shift how we use the platform as well. One way to do this is to turn your own or your company’s timeline into a stream of exclusively sharing client coverage, promotions, and other relevant wins. It can be like a trophy case of bragging rights, and you can direct others to the profile to see all good news shares and keep up with all of the great work you and your agency are doing!

There is still a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the future of the app, and unknown potential changes to come. The financials involved in a multi-billion dollar purchase are complicated at best, and rounds of layoffs, a new paid subscription model, and a fire sale of a strange assortment of items from Twitter HQ have not done much to settle whispers of a potential bankruptcy down the line. However, it’s still here, and still functioning as a useful instrument for PR professionals and agencies, so use it while you got it, even if it means shifting your approach to the platform a bit.

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