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Scientists are shifting away from Twitter for online engagement

What To Know

  • Earlier this year, Pew Research released a study indicating that a majority of Twitter users in the US had cut back on their platform usage since Elon Musk took over last year.
  • Recent research conducted by Nature reveals that more than half of scientific researchers who engage with Twitter have either reduced their time spent on the platform or completely left it.
  • Out of the 9,200 surveyed researchers, over 47% stated that they have decreased their activity on Twitter, while almost 7% claimed to have entirely abandoned the platform.
  • Although not all researchers interviewed by Nature are prepared to completely abandon Twitter, it is evident that the strategies employed by the company have estranged a substantial portion of the scientific community.

Earlier this year, Pew Research released a study indicating that a majority of Twitter users in the US had cut back on their platform usage since Elon Musk took over last year. New data has now emerged, pointing out that another significant group of users, referred to as X, are also withdrawing from the platform.

Recent research conducted by Nature reveals that more than half of scientific researchers who engage with Twitter have either reduced their time spent on the platform or completely left it. The survey, which encompassed thousands of scientists, highlights that nearly 50% of those surveyed have turned to alternative social networks such as Mastodon.

Out of the 9,200 surveyed researchers, over 47% stated that they have decreased their activity on Twitter, while almost 7% claimed to have entirely abandoned the platform. Interestingly, almost an equal number mentioned creating accounts on at least one new platform over the past year.

Among these alternatives, Mastodon, which gained prominence after Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, took the lead in adoption. Approximately 47% of researchers mentioned joining this open-source platform in the last year. LinkedIn and Instagram followed next in popularity, attracting 35% and 27% of researchers respectively. Notably, even though Meta’s X competitor, Threads, was launched just days before the survey, it secured the fourth spot in adoption.

Similar to Pew’s earlier findings, Nature’s research suggests a decline in Twitter use among those who were once active on the platform. This trend highlights the substantial changes that have occurred on Twitter over the last year.

Traditionally, Twitter has held significant importance for researchers and scientists, enabling them to share their research and engage in scientific discussions. Twitter’s researchers have been valuable sources of credible information in an environment plagued by misinformation. Moreover, the platform has been instrumental for researchers across various domains, from public health to linguistics, as a data source.

However, this landscape has evolved significantly. Many users now feel their contributions are overshadowed on a platform that prioritizes content from verified accounts. Furthermore, the company has made its API access for researchers prohibitively expensive, leaving most researchers unable to utilize it. Although not all researchers interviewed by Nature are prepared to completely abandon Twitter, it is evident that the strategies employed by the company have estranged a substantial portion of the scientific community.

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