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Libs Said They Were Leaving Twitter After Elon Took Over - Guess How That Worked Out

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Remember when Elon Musk took over Twitter — now X — and all of the blue-check liberals said they were taking their Very Important Thoughts™ to other social media platforms?

Yeah, about that: According to a new report, the promised exodus never happened and political insiders are still using X as their primary form of social media outreach — although many are trying to hide that they’re paying the $8 a month for blue-check status.

The report Friday on the state of X in 2024 came from NOTUS, a publication put out by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Allbritton Journalism Institute. The headline says it all: “It’s 2024. Elon Musk Rules X. And the Political World Is Still Addicted.”

The article by Evan McMorris-Santoro and Alex Roarty began with the conviction of presumptive GOP presidential nominee and former President Donald Trump in a Manhattan courtroom last month.

After the verdict came down, the report said, “Democratic strategist Tim Hogan did what just about everyone in politics, media and the surrounding D.C. ecosystem did: He flipped open the social media app X, f.k.a. Twitter, and began furiously scrolling.”

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This was something that, a year and a half ago, we were assured would be a thing of the past.

After Musk bought the financially struggling platform — which has an outsized impact on politics despite a relatively small user base compared with social media titans such as Facebook, TikTok and YouTube — journalists and politicos were outraged.

When they were asked to spend a mere $8 per month to keep their coveted blue checks, they were even more furious.

Elected officials, writers, organizations and other personages said they would swear off the platform. There was talk of migrating to alternatives such as Mastodon, BlueSky or Threads.

Do you use X?

Scare stories began to appear claiming that, now that Musk had rededicated the platform to emphasizing free speech, there were roving bands of bigots terrorizing the brave journos who were only making sure democracy didn’t die in darkness.

Twitter was rebranded as X — but from the media depictions of it as a hellhole, it might as well have renamed itself 4chan.

And yet it turns out politicians and the media just can’t quit X.

Take Hogan, the Democratic strategist that NOTUS mentioned in the open to its story: “Twitter still critical on days like today,” he wrote. “There is no replacement.”

Then, as the writers noted, Hogan “deleted the post shortly after publishing it, in what appeared as a perfect articulation of the love-but-wish-I-didn’t relationship many in the political world now have with Twitter.”

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“I guess you have your lead,” Hogan said in a phone interview with NOTUS, laughing.

“It’s a little bit like — with different stakes, of course — a little bit like the Trump administration,” he said.

“He won in 2016; it was horrible. We said we were going to move to New Zealand or Canada, but the reality is we had to ride it out. That is a little similar to this platform,” Hogan said.

Nor is he alone, according to NOTUS. Take former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann, for instance. (Please, as Henny Youngman might say.)

Here’s his rage-quit from Twitter in November:

And here he was on Monday morning, not posting on “the other socials under my name”:

And while Olbermann might be one of the most fatuous of the fake quitters, he has plenty of company, NOTUS reported.

“In interviews, users said Twitter is not what it was, but also it’s not as bad as it was in the most chaotic days after it became Musk’s to do with as he pleases,” the outlet reported.

“People do not like to be on it, but they also once again have to be,” it said. “Two years after words like Mastodon, BlueSky, Post and Threads became rallying cries and users declared war on the blue check, those who made Twitter what it was in the days before Musk have returned to using X.”

Moreover, you know those journalists and politicians who made it clear they would never pay to maintain their blue check? Turns out some of them may have been fibbing a bit about whether or not they were paying for reach on the social media platform.

“Multiple D.C. tweeters said they knew people — everyone says they know one, no one will admit they are one — who paid for the site but chose a setting that keeps the blue check hidden so no one would know,” NOTUS reported.

“When that setting was threatened, many of these people panicked.”

And that’s not the only way liberals are spending money on the platform in a low-key manner, either.

“It’s not just the media part of the political universe paying up for the privilege of accessing Twitter users,” the article noted.

“Paid ads for political candidates are all over the platform. Last year, Democratic candidates spent more than a million bucks on Twitter ads, The Washington Post reported.”

“Campaigns are seeing it pay off,” one Democratic strategist told NOTUS.

Now, to be fair, part of this is because advertising has become cheaper on the platform thanks to the fact that nonpolitical interests have pulled their spending — something that does represent a long-term challenge for X’s viability.

In addition, a few of the people and organizations that rage-quit over Musk’s policies — NPR being the most notable example — have indeed stayed away, although not as many as one might think.

“It’s [a] tool that I don’t enjoy,” said Democratic Sen. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania, a frequent poster to the platform. “So it’s just the way things are gonna continue.”

“I still use it, and I still communicate via Twitter,” Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut said. “But it’s just a much less user-friendly platform than it was when I started when I started using it.”

Of course they would say that, though. Just a few years ago, Twitter was the social media equivalent of loaded dice, an algorithmic echo chamber where Democrats and liberal journalists alike could bask in confirmation bias.

Now the game isn’t rigged, and it’s not as fun to them. Please do let me play the world’s tiniest violin.

This isn’t to say that X doesn’t face challenges. The value of the company is still down significantly, as are ad revenue and active users, and there’s always another meaningless media hate-speech scare involving the platform lurking somewhere around the corner.

That being said, we’re now well into the Elon Musk era at X/Twitter — and, lo and behold, the blue-checks who said they were taking their ball and going home are still there.

As long as it remains the dominant force in political social media messaging, the fundamentals will likely start looking up, no matter how the left feels about Elon Musk.


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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Birthplace
Morristown, New Jersey
Education
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture




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