Activists Still Using X/Twitter Despite Musk Misgivings



Many groups and causes that use social media to organize and disseminate information are disgusted by how Elon Musk has transformed the former Twitter.

But they just can’t quit it -- or, often the habit of still calling it Twitter despite Musk’s renaming it.

“Twitter exists. It’s full of bots and disinformation, but it’s also Twitter where I saw just last week disabled community activists successfully organize turnout for the Long COVID hearings in the Senate,” noted Elena Levin, program director of New Media Mentors, which specializes in interactive online trainings for nonprofits and other groups. “

Levin last week led a recent webinar titled “The Twitter Implosion: Do You Need a New Social Media Plan?,” on which Keidra Chaney, digital engagement and accessibility manager for the National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF), said her group also continues to use the platform.



“It’s still a great place to reach the masses…who exist outside of the bubble of the movement,” Chaney explained. “Twitter, for good or ill, is one of the few places where you can do that kind of rapid response and galvanize folks quickly. That’s what we will continue to use it for as long as it’s still running.”

“Folks are still active” on Twitter, she continued, “folks are still talking about abortion, folks are still looking for information….It’s a horrible place [but] still so valuable.”

NNAF does have an exit plan though, as Chaney said that the group is “trying to get more of a presence on other platforms [like Threads and Bluesky], so that when there’s possibly a mass exodus, we’ll have enough of a presence and content on other platforms  to be able to just say goodbye.”

The United Farm Workers of America is also “making sure that people know where to find us in other spaces if Twitter does become too toxic,” said Elizabeth Strater, director of strategic campaigns for the labor union.

Current toxicity on the platform, she stated, includes sexually explicit bots replying to postings, requiring constant monitoring, reporting and blocking “so that our followers aren’t caught in a porn storm.”

For now, though, Twitter is “a really good place to speak to the press and to elected officials,” Strater explained. Also, “when it comes to donations, Twitter is still blowing things out of the water."

On the other hand, Indivisible, a group which first formed on Twitter in 2016 to “resist the Trump agenda” by reaching “influential people and policy holders,” has now “stepped back” from the platform, said Ben Silverstein, the group’s deputy director of digital mobilization.

“We loved Twitter, but we’re really unhappy with X,” he declared.

“We have pretty much ended our original content there, both because we were finding the platform is less suited now for progressive organizing, and as a statement of protest about the direction Musk is taking the platform.” 

Instead, Silverstein explained, Indivisible now hosts on a “variety” of Twitter alternatives.

Indivisible has also launched an “X-last” movement for organizations that would like to “move away” from Twitter but feel they can’t leave because their “people are still there [and] the audiences that they care about are still there.”

Stating that the reason they’re still there is because “a lot of trusted voices including our own accounts, are still there,” Silverstein explained that “the strategy is really simple. It’s just, post to X last.

“Whatever you’re initially going to share on X, post it on one of the alternative platforms first, let the conversations start elsewhere,” he explained. “If you have the capacity to do so, reply to comments or mentions on those other platforms first as well.”

“This allows people to still use X the way they have for the most part in the past, but still make a statement about the direction that X is going [while] contributing to building community on the alternative platforms,” Silverstein continued.

Whatever groups and individuals decide to do about X, noted both Silverstein and Levin, they should never close down their accounts.

“Keeping your account, if only to reshare your statement of why you’re backing away from X and telling people where to follow you, is a more effective tactic than just deleting,” said Silverstein.

“Even if I was never going to post on Twitter again, I can’t imagine myself deleting the account,” said Levin “it’s a bad security practice. Don’t delete your account because then somebody will impersonate you.”

Deleting “only hurts you, when there’s a bot that’s posting porn in your name two days later,” she continued.

Similarly, she suggested that organizations make an account on “whatever platform, even if you don’t think you’re going to use it. You don’t want to get impersonated.”


1 comment about "Activists Still Using X/Twitter Despite Musk Misgivings".
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  1. Bob Weil from Weil Bros., February 8, 2024 at 5:19 p.m.

    It's still too influential a platform to just cede it to the MAGAts!



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