Image by Alexander Shatov via Unsplash

In Oct of 2022, Elon Musk purchased Twitter for 44 billion dollars which caused quite a stir. Musk is a polarizing figure and has had his share of controversies in the business world. In the past, he criticized Twitter for account bans and fact-checking, the latter of which he was a victim. Elon declared he bought Twitter to “help humanity” sensing there was too much censorship on social media and not enough dialog. His first steps were to fire half of the company and reinstate the accounts of former U.S. President Donald Trump and rapper Kanye West. During all this, I saw several authors announce they were leaving the platform for other sites such as Mastodon, and TikTok. However, that could be a mistake from a business standpoint. 

Look, I’m not trying to tell you what to do, if you hate Elon Musk you should go. You don’t have to do business with people you don’t like. But on the flip side, business isn’t about liking people. 

Author & sweary historian James Fell didn’t mince words when he abandoned his account

I think this Twitter situation has a lot of authors confused and I’d like to set the record straight about what social media is and how we should be using it.

Believe it or not, social media is just a tool to attract people to your book, blog, or newsletter. It’s not about likes and retweets, who cares how popular you are on social media if you can’t leverage that attention?  

The Facts About Twitter

As I mentioned earlier, Elon Musk was fact-checked by Twitter for claiming, “Twitter drives a massive number of clicks to other websites/apps.” That was proven false after a product developer shared stats proving Twitter only brings in 7% of web traffic while Facebook drives 74%. Ouch!  

Here are more Twitter stats via Hootsuite:

  • 70% of their users are male
  • Only 25% of users account for 97% of all tweets (in the U.S.)
  • Twitter is more popular with Gen Y than with Gen Z 
  • 82% of power users go to Twitter for entertainment not information

This confirms why many authors have trouble on Twitter because the most voracious readers are female and you won’t find many of them on Twitter. Also, the fact that power users only go to the site for entertainment can be a problem for authors who aren’t into performing for an audience.   

So Should You Leave?

If you’re going to leave Twitter you should do so because it doesn’t serve your agenda. For example, you should determine how useful it is in sending traffic to your blog or Amazon sales page. In my case, Google is the main source of the traffic to this blog, not Twitter, so I can afford to walk away if I choose.  If you don’t know your analytics you can use a free service like or TinyURL to see who clicks on your links and from where. This should help you determine where to spend your time and energy.

Your Goals Are Important

If you’re having trouble deciding whether you should deactivate your social media account you need to consider your goals. Not every author and book is the same. Some authors want to build a massive following to attract an agent while others just want to engage with people in their field. Here are some of the more common reasons authors use social media:   

  • To promote a book
  • To position themselves as an expert
  • To drive traffic to a website or blog
  • To advertise to a large audience

If you don’t have goals, you’ll find yourself losing time on what matters the most—your work. You need to ask yourself, does Twitter possess what I’m looking for in a social media site? If not, move on.    

Watch The OGs

After Elon Musk purchased Twitter, he proposed the idea of charging for the blue check marks that verify an account’s identity. Author Stephen King, said he wasn’t paying for any check mark and let everybody know saying, “$20 a month to keep my blue check? “F**k that, they should pay me. If that gets instituted, I’m gone like Enron.” And when someone mentioned he could afford it, King responded: “It ain’t the money, it’s the principle of the thing.”  

As of this date, he and none of the more famous authors like J.K. Rowling and George R.R. Martin have left the site. That’s telling, it says they understand a large social media following is an asset in the corporate world. That means authors can use it in negotiating a better contract with publishers.

Alternatives To Twitter

As of this date, there is no site quite like Twitter in the English-speaking world. There is WeChat which has a similar layout but is Chinese-owned and heavily censored. There is also Mastodon, which was launched in 2016, but hasn’t caught on like TikTok which launched around the same time. So there’s not much out there that has the features as well as the large audience of Twitter. What makes Twitter so appealing is the fact that it’s the social media site favored by journalists, celebrities, and politicians. This fools people into believing it’s a place they need to be and that’s not true. I haven’t heard any author credit Twitter when it comes to selling books. Ever. If you were wondering how most successful authors sell their books it’s often through: 

  • Their email list
  • Ads
  • A blog/ website
  • Facebook

Notice how I put Facebook at the bottom of the list? That wasn’t an accident, the authors that I know who sell books successfully on Facebook use ads or paid promotional posts to sell. I’m not saying they don’t build a community there, it’s just not as powerful as Facebook’s ads.    

A Final Word & A Warning

I don’t know what the future holds for Twitter, before Elon Musk purchased it hopes were high that the site would continue to grow. Today, that’s in doubt because Musk hasn’t laid out any concrete plan for Twitter and it’s been over a month since his takeover. But whatever the future brings, authors need to be ready to pivot.  

Marketing experts have long warned, “Social media is like digital sharecropping,” because whenever you post something, they reap the benefit, not you. That’s why moving people away from your social media accounts over to your website or email list should always be your number one goal. Social media isn’t permanent and never will be. Over the years I’ve watched Google+, Vine, and Periscope all fail. The same will eventually happen to the likes of Facebook and yes, even Twitter.  Sorry, but it’s inevitable. Take this not only as a warning, but as a call to action, start setting up those websites, and build those email lists.  Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.       

Anyway, I hope you found this post useful, if you did, please like and share.