Since Elon Musk became the new CEO of Twitter, there’s been understandably great concern about all the changes and what this means for the future of a platform that has been a virtual town square for entertainment, news, advocacy and community engagement. While Musk has said Twitter hasn’t changed their content moderation policies yet, he has talked about wanting the platform to be more welcoming to “free speech,” which could have a huge impact on the safety and well-being of users if misinformation, spam and harassment is allowed to flourish.
Early signs are, to say the least, troubling. There have already been reports of a rise in hate speech on Twitter; the company also had to remove more than 1,500 accounts as they work on reviewing their content moderation policies. Twitter announced users will soon have to pay a monthly fee to be verified under their subscription based program called Twitter Blue. He also shared that accounts impersonating others without disclaiming that they’re parodies will be permanently suspended from the platform. Many activists, celebrities and companies have announced they are leaving the platform in protest.
So, what does this all mean for nonprofits and social impact organizations who want to stay engaged with their audiences, but also value ethical communications and protecting our communities from harm?
We believe Twitter still is and can be a valuable tool for organizers, nonprofits, and foundations to stay informed and engaged with their audiences, but not when it comes at the expense of our values. While our advice is to remain in a “wait and see” mode for now and keep your engagement and channel intact, here are some recommendations to consider as you figure out your next steps:
- Have a plan for how to keep your Twitter account safe and learn how to block or mute harassment or hate speech.
- Focus on strengthening and growing communications channels you can control, such as your email list, website, blogs and in-person outreach.
- If you are not already doing so, start working now to capture your audience on Twitter and direct them to sign up for your newsletter and visit your website, so you won’t lose them if you decide to step back or you notice your follower count decreasing as people leave.
- This may be a time to ease off of using paid ads if that’s part of your current strategy and use organic posts instead.
- If you’d like to have more controlled conversation on Twitter for the time being, you can update the settings on your account to only have your followers be able to respond to your tweets.
- Check out what other organizations in the sector are doing and how they are responding as you build out your approach. The Communications Network has created an open source doc to share guidance.
Change Consulting is here to support our clients in navigating Twitter and the evolving digital media landscape, so you can still reach your communications goals safely and ethically. If you would like to talk in more detail about your Twitter usage or shifting your social media strategy, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.