Shout Out To My X


It’s old news by now - Elon Musk bought Twitter, rebranded it to X, and out of the woodwork came a thousand moral and ethical dilemmas of using the site both personally and professionally. Across our industry, people are abandoning X for pastures new, but the decision to leave is far from simple, or easy.

We asked around the industry to find out what other people think about the X-odus.

Rebecca Farkas, Freelance Arts Marketer

It’s a time of change for social media and I sense a general air of disillusionment, after Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter/X and the dramatic changes he has wrought. Lots of arts professionals have spent years building up a really good network there, and it’s suddenly a completely different place. There’s also more of an understanding that someone else ultimately has control over the content you’ve created for socials.

I think that this, coupled with the increase in ads, changes to what we all see on each platform and being prodded to pay for verification and so on has made people feel more cautious about investing their time and money in social media in the same way.

Bluesky and Threads both have their own vibes and it could take a while for the landscape to settle. There’s a fair bit of repetition on these platforms, and Bluesky is often dominated by stories and politics from the USA.

Artists and arts companies I work with are sticking with Instagram for the time being, as it’s the most visual place, and therefore well suited to showing the best of the arts. I am still posting on X for clients at present, but I can’t see much of a future there.

Amy Nichol, Social Media Strategist

In my experience, many arts organisations have a reliance on X as it has historically been, and in many cases still is, an organic revenue driver for them. So although there’s little to no audience growth happening on the platform it does still serve a commercially viable purpose to get ticket sales from the audiences that already exist.

A platform that I think shows huge potential for growth for many arts organisations is Instagram. During my time at the Royal Albert Hall, the number of followers increased by over 10,000 in a period of less than 3 months, with more gritty, phone footage from events often outperforming more polished content.

There’s also been impressive growth recently for accounts such as Shakespeare’s Globe (@the_globe) with over 19,000 new followers in the last 30 days thanks to a 'dogs in ruffs’ campaign that was received extremely well on both social and has got national coverage in The Standard and on ITV. The Globe’s social media manager is a younger person and I believe this new generation of social media managers is the key to changing the codependent relationship between theatres and the arts and X to focus on Instagram Reels and TikToks as they can better translate arts content to short form video and use trends to link back to brand messaging.

Regarding Bluesky going public - I think while there is potential, particularly for early adopters to make a name for themselves on the platform, I’m not sure whether it will stand the test of time. Twitter worked because it was so simple, and Bluesky is a simple app to use although the aim of the platform is considerably more complicated. The plan is to create a software system that allows developers and users to create their own versions of the social network, with their own rules and algorithms. I guess this idea could be considered similar to MySpace that was more customisable. I personally haven’t really got into Threads or Bluesky, mainly because they aren’t that original. TikTok is the only app that has really managed to disrupt the social media platform mix in recent history, and that is due to several reasons, one of them being innovation.
Amy Nichol on LinkedIn

Tom Dawson, Director of Digital at the Association of Cultural Enterprises

We were having discussions as a team about X before Elon Musk’s bizarre moves to destroy one of the most iconic brands in the world. Engagement was down, and as a small B2B organisation, it just didn’t make sense to spend precious time on content or strategy, when our audience was primarily on LinkedIn. We’ve put more effort into that channel, where we can post as individuals with our own voices which brings greater authenticity and reach, which has worked much better for us.

I’ve been in roles in the past where the number of brand channels were running into double figures, and I’m now even more of the opinion that organisations shouldn’t feel the need to be everywhere all at once, trying please everyone all the time.

So in the end it was an easy decision to stop posting content – a combination of audience behaviour, time management, and the sad decline of a once influential, and let’s not forget fun, platform. I’m not sure there’s any such thing as an ethically uncomplicated social platform these days, but it feels better to not be engaging with X anymore. Now, I’m just off to lose an hour on Tik-Tok…
Tom Dawson on LinkedIn

Check out Tom's article on leaving X here.

The Mobius Take

Back when it was Twitter, X seemed vital for networking, opportunities and keeping up with industry news. But now that it’s rebranded and new features have been brought in, it’s hard to look past the issues with using the site. From the moral ambiguity of supporting a network that rewards inflammatory rhetoric, to practical limitations such as needing to pay to edit posts, X no longer feels like an easy, accessible platform when it comes to sharing content and staying connected.

The problem with leaving? We’ve been there for so long! It’s not just the familiarity or force of habit, it’s also the fact that we have a platform of over 4,000 followers of clients, connections and friends. That’s not easily replicated on any other social media platform, particularly not when starting from square one as we would with X’s copycat sites, such as Threads or Bluesky. It’s not stopped us from trying (follow us here!) but it’s impossible to know how much time it will take, or which platforms are worth investing into at this stage. And, at a time of industry funding cuts and struggle, can we afford to take the risk of leaving X?
These are questions being faced by many organisations and individuals working in the arts. Does sticking with X reflect the values we want to promote? Where do we go from here? The Cultural Participation survey recently found that audiences want organisations to share their values, meaning the social media we use sends a message out to our community. In the current absence of a clear alternative to X, we're trying new platforms, starting conversations and keeping ourselves informed about what other options are out there.

Please feel free to share your thoughts by sending us a DM or dropping us an email! We are always stronger connected, and social networks existed long before Silicon Valley started claiming them (and our attention) for themselves.

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