To Twitter or not to Twitter?
Recent developments at Twitter have left us with much food for thought, one thought being – should we even be on the platform anymore?
As Twitter staff flee in their thousands, and chaos ensues, users are fearing the worst for the platform. While Musk is saying that Twitter usage is at an all-time high, internal documents show that the platform is losing its most active users, aptly named ‘heavy tweeters’ (Reuters, 2022) – with many others looking for an alternative and leaving.
Since 2017, GOPA Com. has relied heavily on Twitter, mainly in terms of EU affairs related paid and organic communication. Twitter has been an excellent place for us to connect with journalists, policy makers, NGOs, SMEs and many other niche audiences. For years, we have covered live events on Twitter, launched hundreds of EU-wide multilingual paid awareness, engagement and video campaigns, created polls, directly reached out to our stakeholders and so much more. Despite some minor complications, Twitter has been one of our most trusted platforms to tell the stories of the EU and bridge its citizens.
While most of our clients’ audiences are still present on Twitter and the targeting options for advertising remain convenient, we need to take a hard look at the tumultuous nature of what is unfolding at Twitter. The firing of Twitter employees responsible for the platform’s security, safety and accessibility, Twitter’s non-functional copyright takedown system and placing monetization over human rights and vulnerable communities are just some examples why we need to re-think our involvement with Twitter.
At GOPA Com., we put a lot of effort into our people and our company culture, while stressing the importance of responsibility, empathy and transparency. That said, we would fail our own ethos if we were to ignore what is happening with the people and culture at Twitter.
While we will continue supporting our clients and partners on Twitter to our full capacity, we will also continue to research and recommend alternatives to reduce the time, money and effort currently channeled into a platform, which we cannot fully support at this point in time.
Regarding GOPA Com.’s own external communication, we have decided to close our Twitter account and stop any kind of communication there, while keeping a close eye on the situation as it develops. The door is not fully closed; rather, it will lie ajar for the present time, as Twitter has recently made some promises to the EU Commissioner Thierry Breton to comply with the new EU content moderation rules. (POLITICO, 2022)
Complex cases such as this one encourage us to reform the way we work, explore and look for open source and decentralised alternatives. Following the European Commission who has set up its own server to join Mastodon, an open-source and ad-free platform, we have opened a GOPA Com. Mastodon profile. While us and the EU joining Mastodon is only a pilot, “it represents the EU’s goal of supporting private and open-source software capable of rivaling mainstream social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube”. (PCMag, 2022) In addition to the European Commission, its DGs and Commissioners, the European Investment Bank, EPSO, EUIPO, European Labor Authority, Euractiv, Politico, CNN Europe and many others are giving Mastodon a try.
Change is inevitable and almost never comfortable. As a company, we have the responsibility and desire to offer the highest quality services to our clients and accommodate their vision. While working towards that goal, we will always keep our company values in mind and stand by them. Especially when it comes to humanity and responsibility.