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Madano Twitter Hub: The latest changes and what they could mean for your brand

What’s happening at Twitter?

Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter has grabbed the news headlines for both good and bad reasons. The Tesla CEO divides opinion; trying to champion free speech, while also appearing cavalier in his approach to business. One thing is certain though, Twitter will change, and we’re excited, as well as nervous, to witness what’s next for one of the most popular social media platforms.

Madano’s digital team has created the following Twitter hub, so you can keep up with the latest changes and what they mean for you.



What do we know so far?

Marching in with a kitchen sink on his first day, Elon Musk visibly made his intentions clear. He bought Twitter to shake it up as he believes there is huge potential with the platform.

So, what has happened at Twitter so far? We’ll continue to update this timeline with the most relevant headlines on the changes taking place at Twitter.


Timeline

Last updated 20th January 2023


What do the latest changes mean?

It is a little chaotic to say the least. We’ve witnessed high-profile names leave the platform as Twitter allowed previously banned accounts back (only then to shut them down again, in the case of Kanye West).

On Free speech

Journalists have been banned for reporting on Musk, fake accounts have been verified with ease and advertisers have abandoned the platform particularly among larger, more risk-averse companies, and especially those in highly regulated industries. But our feeling is that this turbulence will subside in the long term, and most likely change when a new CEO is appointed giving some much needed stability to a platform that has become a key strut in many organisations’ content strategies.

Twitter needs to make it crystal clear it is defending free speech in a careful and responsible way. It has always been a platform that fostered debate and it rightly flourished as such, but there is a danger that Twitter will amplify division and cause polarisation under the new ownership. Musk has expressed that he is a defender of free speech and champion of civil debate, but regulation will be required to ensure we don’t see Musk’s free speech absolutism allow hate speech to prosper, driving Twitter’s fall from grace and greater division in society, globally.

On Twitter Blue

The introduction of Twitter Blue – a £8.00 a month subscription that verifies a user’s account and provides users with access to new functionalities such as less ads and longer videos is the first step in Musk’s vision of Twitter becoming a version of WeChat. But the launch couldn’t have gone much worse, as users signed up initially wrongly posing as big brands and celebrities.

If Twitter Blue can be delivered correctly, more verified ‘human’ accounts are a good thing for the platform. It enables accountability, so users are more careful with what they publish online, as they can no longer hide behind an alias or a picture of an egg, the next time they abuse or troll online. In the long term, if Twitter can emulate WeChat, then having one app that enables you to find out the news, keep up with sports scores and process payments is no bad thing. However, with Musk intimating that Twitter Blue users may get preferential access to decision-making on governance or new features, Twitter runs the risk of alienating its core userbase.

On reporting data

If you’re interested in the data, Twitter has also introduced views as a publicly visible metric on user Tweets. Musk has stated that by doing so it shows “how much more alive Twitter is than it may seem” as up to 90% of users don’t take any further action beyond viewing a tweet. So, familiarising the average user with Tweet views may be a good thing. However, with Twitter’s ever-changing offer, it’s a long way off becoming a central part of any reporting because there is every chance it could be removed or replaced.

On political advertising 

In keeping with its series of rollbacks of Jack Dorsey-era policies, Twitter has also announced it will end its three-year freeze on political advertising with immediate effect in the US. While many have seen this as a nod to some of the more extreme political elements who have been emboldened by Musk’s free speech focus, we will see what steps Twitter takes to mitigate against some of the allegations it is facing such as prioritising particular political messages. It’s likely that like highly regulated subject matters, there will be limitations as to whom and to how you can target this content, and content will still have to go through a moderation process to ensure it is appropriate for the platform. Like many other recent developments, this policy has been announced without a huge amount of detail, so a degree of caution is recommended when future planning in this space.

What’s next for my brand’s Twitter strategy?

In short, it’s too soon to disregard Twitter but we recommend the following actions:

  • Monitor the changes carefully and be agile with your channel strategy – there are more and more channels emerging that can be considered, whether it’s TikTok, Discord or Mastodon (to name a few)
  • Revisit your community management strategy to include policies on replies or interactions to ensure that you have a robust framework for managing debate
  • Consider your current paid media strategy on Twitter and reassess whether you feel you can still get the same level of return on the platform or whether it could be better invested on other channels
  • Follow key accounts such as @TwitterSupport and @ElonMusk to be the first to know of new changes to the service and be prepared to change your strategy quickly
  • While the political advertising restrictions policies are being updated, it would be worth investigating getting cause-based advertiser certification for your account to get an early advantage against competitors who may not, particularly if you work in highly regulated industries.
  • Speak to Madano’s digital team if you’re unsure. Please contact us via email on [email protected].

Lastly, don’t forget to follow Madano on Twitter to stay up-to-date with the latest news from the consultancy.

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