For NPR, Quitting Twitter Had Next to No Effect on Traffic

Web traffic dropped just 1% after April departure
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 13, 2023 6:36 AM CDT
Quitting Twitter Had Minimal Effects on Traffic to NPR
The headquarters for National Public Radio (NPR) stands on North Capitol Street in Washington.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

NPR left Twitter back in April—when it was still called Twitter instead of X—and the media organization says its "Twexit" has only had a minimal effect on traffic to its website. According to a memo to staff seen by Neiman Reports, traffic fell by just 1% after NPR left Twitter, and only 2% of traffic had been coming from the social media site in the first place. While the main NPR account had almost 9 million followers, "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," the memo states.

The August memo said NPR had seen an "expected small decline" after it stopped posting on Twitter on April 5, the Hill reports. The company announced its departure the week after Elon Musk labeled it "state-affiliated media," which was later softened to "government-funded media." "We are not putting our journalism on platforms that have demonstrated an interest in undermining our credibility and the public's understanding of our editorial independence," spokesperson Isabel Lara said at the time.

NPR has become one of the most-followed news accounts on rival social network Threads. In the memo to staffers, editor Danielle Nett said staff burnout had reduced, partly because the "audience on Threads is seemingly more welcoming to publishers than on platforms like Twitter and Reddit, where snark and contrarianism reign." Gabe Bullard at Neiman Reports writes that changes at X show "social media is less rewarding to publishers and less fun for users than it used to be." He says fear of missing out can make it hard to leave a platform like X. "But as a platform becomes less reliable—either editorially or technically—staying becomes more fraught. And as NPR has demonstrated, you may not be giving up all that much if you walk away." (More Twitter stories.)

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