Commentary

Is Twitter A Cautionary Tale On Post-Trump Slump?

Twitter's decision to ban President Trump after the Capitol Hill riot could be bad for its business. Ideally, news publishers won't face the same threat when Trump isn't in power any longer.

This year, Twitter will see a 15% decline in revenue and engagement without Trump as the social-media platform's ringleader, Trip Chowdhry, general manager at Global Equities Research, predicted. He also downgraded Twitter's stockto a "sell" rating on expectations that the company's June 2021 will be "disastrous," Search & Performance Marketing Daily reported.

As evidence of the potential loss in engagement, Chowdhry cited the experience of Reddit, the social news platform whose majority owner is the Newhouse family's Advance Publications. Reddit's engagement plunged by 57% after it removed a section for Trump supporters last summer, Chowdhry estimated.
The predicted slump in Twitter's business is analogous to the idea that media outlets will lose their "cash cow" when Trump's presidency isn't the center of attention. Journalists who consider themselves part of the "resistance" won't have as much to resist, especially since the Democrats will control both houses of Congress and the White House for the next two years.
Publications like The New York Times offer a wider range of stories that give people a reason to subscribe without a fix of "Orange Man Bad" coverage. It's hard to fathom anyone becoming as big a media bogeyman as Trump.

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The post-Trump slump is more likely to be felt by cable news channels whose reporting is almost exclusively about politics, interrupted by the occasional natural disaster. Those channels have a much stronger symbiotic relationship with Trump, feeding each other oxygen.
TV ratings and web usage numbers may provide an early indication of such a slump. However, the emergency approval of coronavirus vaccines also could mean that people gradually resume pre-pandemic activities that reduce the time spent with electronic media.
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