I admit that I’ve been hesitant to leave X. I’m also not going to lie that I’ve been advocating for it, and I believe that if you remain active on the platform then you’re indirectly supporting the hate and hatred that seems to have taken over the platform. But also, I get it. You have a certain number of followers and there’s the feeling that you’re going to leave those people behind along with possible book sales.
However, a recent report from NPR (https://niemanreports.org/articles/npr-twitter-musk/) shows that even with millions of followers, NPR saw a negligible drop in traffic to their own sites/apps/properties. Their last tweet was one pointing people to these alternatives, and I advise that authors do the same. Several NPR affiliate stations did the same. Looking at my local station, KSMU, it appears they posted for the 2022 election and then stopped.
Secondly, this shows what I’ve long believed; it’s vital for authors to have their own platform. Readers will go where you drive the traffic, and you cannot count on any platform you don’t own (aka social media) to drive that traffic for you. I think we’ve all heard the complaints about having a lot of followers and not having very many of them see the posts. Facebook’s analytics certainly have shown that.l
I also think it reveals that the game is up. X wants you to feel like you’re missing out if you don’t remain active on the platform. They want you to think you’re missing out on hundreds, thousands, or even in the case of NPR and bigger entities, millions of eyeballs. You’re not. It’s plain to see, especially in the case of NPR, which I believe would mirror our reader audiences in terms of engagement. NPR’s followers WANT to know more from NPR. NPR has a passionate listener base (as well as casual), and if those passionate listeners hadn’t followed NPR to their website, apps, etc., then the stats would have shown it.
It’s up to each author to decide what they feel is right in terms of remaining on X or not. I cannot make that decision for you, only point out that leaving may not be as disastrous as you think. I do miss a handful of close online only friends I’d met on the platform and whom I cannot follow because they’re not where I am. (I won’t go on BlueSky for a variety of reasons which I’ll detail in a future blog post.) But also, they know where I am and the internet runs both ways. If they wish to follow me there are numerous, non social media ways to do so, and your readers will know this as well.