By now, we’ve all heard the news that the world’s richest person, Elon Musk, is set to own Twitter after his $44B offer was accepted on Monday.
As higher ed marketers, we’ve heavily integrated social media into our overall admissions strategy. Will Musk’s purchase of Twitter impact Gen Z’s use of the platform? Further, should we take this into account for our social media strategy?
While nothing terribly concrete has come from the Tesla and SpaceX CEO as to his plans for Twitter, we know that he wants to take the company private, reduce the presence of bots, and make the platform more conducive to free speech. As to how he will enact that last point, only time will tell.
Musk joins Zuckerburg in the league of billionaires owning prime internet real estate. Twitter, as Musk deems it, is like a town hall. From Musk’s library of tweets, it’s easy to presume he means this in the ‘let’s throw tomatoes at those we don’t like’ type of way. He is after all a huge dissenter of cancel culture.
Similarly to Will Smith’s slap heard round the world, this purchase might just be news fodder for a few weeks. There’s certainly a chance that Musk’s Twitter takeover will prove inconsequential for businesses using that platform.
But when it comes to Gen Z, Twitter isn’t even their most popular platform. This generation of prospects spends a majority of their online time on apps like TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram (despite Zuckerberg having relatively low public opinion).
This brings to light a question businesses with a social media presence have found themselves pondering over the last couple years: how much should we listen to the chatter and do we need to comment on it?
While Gen Z is a generation that loves taking a stance, this doesn’t seem like a fight for colleges and universities to have a stake in.
A recent Instagram poll of Gen Zers showed that despite differing opinions of Musk, the large majority of them do not plan on leaving the platform (if they even had a Twitter account to begin with).
For users who’ve used Twitter for years, it can be difficult to justify scrapping one’s entire account over which billionaire owns what.
So should higher ed adjust their social media strategy on Twitter? We’re saying no.
Of course, we’ll see how and if Twitter changes under Musk’s leadership in the long-term. For now, let’s put a pin in it and save it for our unsent tweets.