Not even the scared advertisers. Nor the identity theft that caused so many outrages in the fall. Not even the implementation of Blue, the subscription service in which the company has pinned its hopes to leave behind its losses. Over the past few days Elon Musk has been preoccupied with another Twitter-related issue, quite a different one: his loss of popularity. Or, to be more precise, why his tweets do not sweep.
The tycoon and owner of Twitter has almost 129 million Mexico or Japan have more followers on the platform than inhabitants, but their tweets do not seem to reach the reach that would be expected from someone who manages such a loudspeaker. At least that’s how he sees it, according to a chronicle published in Platformer and echoed by media such as The Times or Ars Technica, a text in which it is explained that to deal with this apparent paradox, Musk consulted a group of engineers.
“This is ridiculous he snapped at technicians and advisors during a meeting. I have over a hundred million followers and only get tens of thousands of impressions.”
“You’re fired, you’re fired”
The question kept bouncing around until one of Twitter’s two main engineers, who in recent months has seen their staff downsize after a staff cut, decided to venture out with a possible explanation. If Musk’s tweets do not reach more people, it could be because, quite simply, he has left behind the peak of popularity that he reached almost a year ago, when he offered to buy the blue bird social network for 43,000 million dollars.
In order not to stay in the words and reinforce his theory, they showed Musk some data. Some, internal, about the levels of participation registered by his account. Others from Google Trends. The conclusion was interesting. In April of last year, in the middle of the “Twitter soap opera”, with Musk recently becoming the majority shareholder of the network and his billion-dollar offer to take over 100% of the company grabbing headlines, the businessman was the “king” of Google.
His popularity was skyrocketing. People wanted to know about him.
His search score was 100. A year later, a year prolific in ads and in which Musk has garnered notable exposure, things have changed. His score is now nine. And no —the engineers explained to him— that drop cannot be explained by an algorithm that works against it.
Still hard to believe just how terrible Musk is as a manager.
Two principal engineers left at the company – who put up with micromanaging, long hours, sleeping in the office etc.
And he rage fires one of them because… of his view counts?
Full article: https://t.co/W2nZt9X3Xo pic.twitter.com/YARZ3Te3nz
— Gergely Orosz (@GergelyRosz) February 10, 2023
The exhibition was perhaps argued, but of course —Platformer notes— Musk did not like it one bit. “You’re fired, you’re fired”he snapped at the engineer. A current worker assures that his solution has been to give instructions to examine how many times his tweets are recommended.
It is not the first time that Elon Musk demonstrates his determination to demonstrate that the reach of Twitter, whether that of his account or that of the platform, is greater than what might be thought by interactions, such as reuits or “likes”. At the end of December, the network implemented View Count so that users can check how many times their tweets are seen, an extended solution in video playback.
“It shows that Twitter is much more alive than it seems, since it more than 90% of users readbut do not tweet, reply or ‘like’, since those are public actions ”, Musk mused from his account, which he uses frequently to anticipate news or relevant announcements on the network.
The real effectiveness of the tool remains to be verified, which has coincided with many other novelties, such as changes in the timeline or in the API policy and a boost to the Twitter Blue model, which among other pluses offers its users the possibility of “ climb to the top of replies, mentions, and searches.” For now, and according to data from BuzzFeed, the number of people who use the network in the United States has fallen almost 9% since Musk took over.
With such a backdrop, just a few days ago, the businessman decided to put a padlock to your account and make it private. For a few hours, yes. The reason was to check if as other users say, publications thus achieve greater visibility than with open and public accounts. The experiment, announced shortly afterhelped him “identify some problems with the system”.
“It will be fixed next week.”
Cover image: Evan Agostini/AP