In April, NPR made headlines when it left Twitter after its eccentric new owner, Elon Musk, labeled NPR as "state-affiliated media" and "government-funded media."
Now, six months later, NPR has found that departing from Twitter has had a negligible effect on its overall traffic and audience reach. As reported in Nieman Reports, NPR saw only a 1% drop in traffic after quitting Twitter. According to an NPR memo provided to Nieman, Twitter wasn't helpful to NPR's traffic because "the platform's algorithm updates made it increasingly challenging to reach active users; you often saw a near-immediate drop-off in engagement after tweeting and users rarely left the platform."
In life after Xitter, NPR has adapted by focusing more on other platforms like Meta's Instagram and its new Threads app. The news organization is taking a quality-over-quantity approach, looking to deeply engage followers rather than chase clicks.
As Twitter continues to decline, NPR's example demonstrates that Musk either doesn't know how to run a social media platform, or is trying to destroy it.
From Nieman Reports:
A lot of people threaten to leave Twitter. Not many of them have actually done it. This was true even before Elon Musk's purchase of the platform a year ago. But the parade of calamities since — cutting back on moderation, unplugging servers, reinstating banned accounts, replacing verified check marks with paid subscription badges, throttling access to news sites, blaming the Anti-Defamation League for a decline in advertising — has made stepping away more appealing, either because the timeline is toxic or because the site simply doesn't function the way it used to.