Twitter’s Top Users Posting Less, Pew Research Finds

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As Elon Musk pledges to tweet what he wants, even if it will lose him money, comes worrying Twitter usage data for new CEO

Twitter owner Elon Musk is not making life easy for the platform’s new CEO, after he pledged this week to continue tweeting what he wants, even if it costs him money.

Musk’s defiance came after he defended himself against accusations of antisemitism, over his recent tweets about George Soros, who is a Jewish Holocaust survivor.

Meanwhile new data from Pew Research has shown that a majority of Americans who have used Twitter in the past year have reported taking a break from the platform during that time, and a quarter say they are not likely to use it a year from now.

Less usage

Indeed, the Pew Research survey found that six-in-ten Americans who have used Twitter in the past 12 months say they have taken a break from the platform for a period of several weeks or more during that span, while roughly four-in-ten (39 percent) say they have not done this, according to the survey of US adults, conducted in March 2023.

The Pew data confirmed that Elon Musk himself has become a far more common subject of discussion on Twitter since acquiring the platform.

And Pew also found that as was the case before Musk’s takeover, tweeting activity continues to be highly concentrated among a relatively small share of the site’s users.

Indeed, a minority of adult Twitter users in the US continue to produce the bulk of the content.

Since Musk’s acquisition, 20 percent of US adults on the site have produced 98 percent of all tweets by this group, Pew found.

And those on the Democrats or Democratic leaners political side tend to account for a majority – 61 percent – of these highly active tweeters.

Tweeting less

But in a development that will worry new CEO Linda Yaccarino, who already has to contend with a sharp drop in advertising revenues under Musk as large clients stayed away from Musk’s controversial management style – the Pew survey found that the top tweeters are now posting less after Elon Musk acquired the platform.

Linda Yaccarino Comcast twitter
Image credit: Comcast

According to Pew, the majority of highly active Twitter users continue to use the site following Musk’s takeover but are posting less frequently on average.

Indeed, Pew’s new analysis of actual behavior on the site finds that the most active users before Musk’s acquisition – defined as the top 20 percent by tweet volume – have seen a noticeable posting decline in the months after.

These users’ average number of tweets per month declined by around 25 percent following the acquisition by Elon Musk.

Pew found that despite this, eight-in-ten of the most active adult Twitter users between 1 January and 14 April, 2022, have remained among the most active users in the months after Musk formally acquired the site in October 2022.

Pew said the same general pattern holds when narrowing the focus to the most active 10 percent of Twitter users before and after the sale. Around three-quarters of these users have remained among at least the top 20 percent of tweeters since the acquisition.