In late October of 2022, Elon Musk finalized his deal to purchase Twitter for an ungodly sum of money and took over as CEO of the social media giant. This was a very unprecedented move for someone like Musk whose past expertise revolved around EVs and rocketships.
In any case, the internet was polarized by this news and some were up in arms rigorously protesting this change. They argued that Musk’s ideologies did not match those of Twitter’s founders who set out to create a decentralized flow of information and a platform for free speech.
A lot of people thought Musk’s stint as CEO would be a short one as in early days of his ownership he made some very questionable moves and the Twitter HQ seemed in chaos; mass layoffs, paid verification, ban reversals and so on.
This would lead most people to think that Twitter’s usage would have taken a negative hit in the days following Elon’s inauguration. However, we pulled some data from our own platform and discovered that the trend was quite the opposite.
We pulled data from three periods:
September, October 2022
November, December 2022
January, February 2023
Musk came in as CEO towards the end of October so we can attribute trends in the last two periods to this change. We took out data for two additional months after this change to validate that the trends weren’t just a fluke.
The data below was sampled from roughly 13000 Twitter accounts which should give us good representation of activity on Twitter.
The first metric we’re taking a look at is posts or Tweets that were sent out during each period. And surprisingly or unsurprisingly we’ve got roughly no change in the period after Musk took over. This can be attributed to the fact that most discourse around Twitter’s takeover was under posts announcing this info, in the replies.
This tells us that users and businesses on this social platform were publishing the same amount of information, however it is possible that a lot of this information was surrounding this change to the app. If we take Google’s search trend for the term ‘Elon Musk’ as a reference we can safely assume that this was true.
We can clearly see that there was a significant spike in the term at the end of October when Musk took over the app.
Now, if we take a look at the replies, there’s a clear increase over the three time periods. We can assume that Musk’s takeover and subsequent changes to the app would have sparked a lot of conversation and debate amongst users, be it positive or negative.
Retweets on Twitter are basically instant reposts that users do when they want to share something they find interesting or amusing with their followers.
If we take a look at the number of retweets in this period it paints a clear picture of how twitter activity skyrocketed. This, coupled with the reply data, is an indication of how conversation about Twitter and Musk really took off within the app as opposed to people making new tweets about their opinions on the matter.
As to the nature of these conversations, we can’t comment on whether they were positive or negative but if you do a little reading on Twitter under any tweet on this subject it’s clear to see that this is a very polarizing subject; people either love the change or hate it and they are vocal about it.
Quotes or quote retweets are another action on Twitter that allow you to repost with your thoughts on the original Tweet or post. This is often used to add context or personal experience to a Tweet.
If we look at this data for our prescribed periods, again it takes a significant jump in the later months of Musk’s reign. I suspect that initial increase here was low because a lot of the significant changes to the platform came later in Elon’s term.
Finally we’ve got information regarding likes which further solidifies the fact that twitter activity took a huge jump after Elon Musk took over. This also perhaps suggests that users were enjoying their time on the social media platform and feeling more engaged. This could be because of some of the changes Musk implemented to Twitter’s algorithm to make it show users more of what they want to see.
Whether you’re a fan or a hater, there is no denying that Elon Musk’s controversial move has breathed new life into a platform that was on the decline. In all areas, Twitter activity has increased and is perhaps continuing to do so. We can’t speak towards how sustainable this growth is going to be but for now it’s a very entertaining time to be a stakeholder in the world of Twitter, whether you’re a user, a business or even an advertiser.