It’s become the usual refrain on Twitter these days – something along the lines of, “If this is the end, please find me at…”
For some Twitter celebrities, particularly those involved in politics and crypto-finance, the platform’s potential demise under Elon Musk’s erratic leadership is a serious concern.
“Follow me on Instagram @AOC as a backup plan – I’m really me there,” Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted last week to her 13.4 million followers.
But for many celebs, it wouldn’t be such a big loss.
Many have long been suspicious of the hateful rants that are flooding Twitter, with pop idols like Selena Gomez, Charlie XCX and Shawn Mendes already taking an extended hiatus.
But Musk’s scorched-earth approach to managing and reinstating Donald Trump risks making Twitter not only toxic but also uncool.
Fashionistas like Gigi Hadid and Balenciaga or rock star Jack White were among the first to close their accounts since the billionaire took over the reins.
“We really do see Twitter becoming a celebrity taboo in the coming months or so — a truth social-type environment where it’s a controversial stance for celebrities to speak out on it,” said Lauren Beeching, co-founder of Honest London, a PR firm that manages high profile celebrities and brands.
Beeching said her company tested the waters with an (unnamed) socialite’s Twitter account and immediately received backlash from fans who criticized her for still being on the platform.
“Of course they said that on Twitter, so there’s a certain hypocrisy.”
“But personally I expect a massive exit. Twitter has always been known to be toxic, but now it’s also controversial.”
Actors and models can continue to feed their fan bases on Instagram and TikTok, but Twitter currently remains the easiest way to share breaking news, making it difficult to replace political discussions and sectors like cryptofinance, which are firmly entrenched on the platform are.
But that could change quickly.
“I’m eagerly trying out Mastodon, Farcaster, Lens and others,” Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of the Ethereum blockchain, tweeted to his 4.6 million followers last week, adding, “Let the best socials win!”
“The audience can move,” Robin Coulet, director of French digital communications agency Conversationnel, told AFP. “With Facebook outages, we found that internet users immediately switched to another network.”
However, replacing Twitter can be difficult for some niche users.
French train driver Wilfried Demaret, aka “BB27000”, has slowly amassed around 78,000 Twitter followers with his ironic life stories among the “shadow workers”, as he calls them.
His writing works perfectly on Twitter, and he says he would feel uncomfortable switching to videos on TikTok or anywhere else.
One possibility would be to use an older medium.
“If Twitter goes down, I’ll save my stories to come out with a book one day,” he told AFP. “But I realize that this is a huge task. When I think of copying each tweet individually, I realize I’ve written a lot!”
© 2022 AFP