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60% of US Twitter Users Took a Break From the App in Past Year Says Pew Study

A majority of US Twitter users have taken a break from the “Bird app” this year, according to the findings of a poll by Pew Research.

The research also indicated that the top Twitter users – those that average a number of tweets per month – declined by around a quarter following Elon Musk’s acquisition of the social media platform in October last year.

The poll highlights the challenges Linda Yaccarrino is likely to face after taking over from Elon Musk as Chief Executive Officer in the next five weeks.

Majority of US Twitter users took a break from the platform

A new study by Pew Research Centre gives some insights into Twitter’s usage before and after Elon Musk’s takeover of the social media company. The research shows that 60% of U.S. adults who have used Twitter over the last year have taken a break from tweeting.

While many of the most active tweeters have reduced their in-app activity following Musk’s acquisition of the app, 39% say that they have continuously used the app.

Source: Pew Research Centre

Pew Analysts point out that “some groups are more likely than others to say they have taken a break from the platform.” Therefore, they found more pronounced differences with respect to “gender, race and ethnicity.”

As shown in the chart above, female Twitter users were more likely to have taken a break from the platform than male users. The case was similar to black users when compared against White and Hispanic users.

An excerpt from the Pew report reads:

Among current and recent Twitter users, women are more likely than men to say they have taken a break from the platform in the past year (69% vs. 54%). And Black users (67%) are more likely than their White (60%) or Hispanic (54%) counterparts to say the same.

There were no significant differences in political affiliation about the pause, however, Democrat voters slightly more likely than Republicans (62% vs. 59%) to have lessened their Twitter usage.

The survey was conducted between March 13-19, 2023, roughly five months after billionaire Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk took over the leadership of the social media giant.

It involved 10,701 U.S. adults and focused on current and recent Twitter users, defined as those who answered yes to either of these questions: “Do you use Twitter?” or “Have you used Twitter in the past 12 months?”

Challenges For The New Twitter CEO

The survey findings accentuate the challenges awaiting Twitter’s new CEO, Linda Yaccarino, who will take over from Musk in a few weeks.

Yaccarino will be taking over a social media site that is struggling to increase revenue after losing a number of advertisers who withdrew their engagement amid rising concerns about increase in racist and hateful content since the billionaire took over.

To put the scale of this issue into context, Pew Research noted:

The survey also asked current and recent Twitter users how likely they are to use the platform a year from now. A plurality (40%) say they are extremely or very likely to use the site in a year, and 35% say they are somewhat likely to use it. But a quarter say they are not very or not at all likely to be on Twitter a year from now.

This could mean two things. Either people expect an alternative social media platform to rise in Twitter’s place, or they don’t plan to stay active on the site. Either way, it is not good for Twitter’s growth plans.

Yaccarino, who recently resigned from her position as NBCUniversal global advertising chief, has her work cut out. She will be required to repair Twitter’s relationship with advertisers and get a grasp on content moderation.

It remains to be seen whether things will change significantly with the new CEO, especially if Twitter hopes to become an “everything platform” with its plans to acquire the giant tech hiring platform Laskie.

The Pew survey also showed most of Twitter’s content is produced by a small group of power users.

The survey said:

“A minority of adult Twitter users in the US continue to produce the bulk of the content. Since Musk’s acquisition, 20% of U.S. adults on the site have produced 98% of all tweets by this group.”

In a nutshell, Pew’s data gives some interesting highlights on the latest Twitter usage trends, and the impact of the changes implemented by Elon in his first six months at the helm of the company. It points out the issues the tech company has to sort out to be the “everything app” that Musk envisions it to be.

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