Should Nonprofits Leave Twitter/X?

by Joe Fuld (He/Him)

should non profits leave twitter/x

Nonprofits Leave Twitter - But Are They Ready?

As many nonprofits leave Twitter or X, we discuss the implications of this decision and where nonprofits can go instead. Before you go, plan the next steps and consider the impact on your organization. This post serves as an update to one of last year's most engaging discussions.

Why should nonprofits leave Twitter/X? Twitter has not been the best communication space for a long time, and it doesn't feel like it's improving any time soon. It has become a hub for negative speech and online bullying. Recent management changes have worsened the situation by removing content moderation policies and not removing those who violated those policies. Twitter's policies have also posed challenges for vulnerable communities, making it harder for them to use the platform. For those in the political and nonprofit space, Twitter's brand is increasingly problematic for those aiming to do good in the world. With unlikely improvements and policies declining, the platform is becoming harmful to users.

What are nonprofits leaving? Not much. As previously stated, you leave a platform encouraging negativity, bullying, and destructive speech. While there is a case for staying and fighting or using Twitter for media relations (read on), many have already left, leading to a decline in content quality and user experience. Twitter has gone downhill and is not what it used to be.

What does leaving Twitter/X look like? Some people have deleted their accounts, while others have quietly quit Twitter, becoming inactive, which is the approach we have taken. This trend is the likely short-term future of Twitter/X, where the platform will become even less relevant with fewer active users.

Will Twitter become an experience worth paying for? Not likely. To be clear – we don't mind paying for good social media experiences, but Twitter has not established enough value for me to pay for their service.

Should you use Twitter/X to run ads? For our clients, we continue to monitor Twitter to assess if running ads makes sense, but we are not recommending it anytime soon.

So where do you go? While we don’t have a favorite yet, we have seen a lot of movement with Threads.

LinkedIn - If you are not using LinkedIn as a content channel, you should. It is a solid platform with good engagement and feels saner than other social media. Their video and newsletters are a solid option and may be worth increasing your digital footprint here.

Threads - This Meta product has gained over 70 million users, and the good news is that it syncs to your Instagram account, prompting easier sign-up and an instant network for you to connect with. Although better than Twitter, it has drawbacks. For example, since your Threads account links to Instagram, account deletion is more challenging.

Substack - A content platform for long-form and short-form content with a growing audience, ideal for building a long-term following with frequent content posting.

Medium - A platform with a solid readership of medium-length content, suitable for regular content posting.

Discord - Starting as a gamer channel, Discord has developed a following as a good community channel with built-in functions like Slack. It is best used as a communications channel around podcasts or a social space for friend groups.

Bluesky - Still in Beta, it has the feel of old-school Twitter but lacks the built-in user base of LinkedIn or Twitter.

Mastodon - Similar to Discord, primarily used as a communication hub for TV shows and pop star fandoms, but clunkier and less user-friendly.

Alternatives to social media:

Now that you have heard our general concerns about social media, realize they are like rented land you can’t control.

Your website - Prioritize creating and writing website content, owning a space where you control the content.

Don’t forget email - Despite being perceived as boring, growing and re-engaging your email list is crucial for developing your core audience.

Your own app - Instead of social media, why not develop your own app for your organization? This idea is not cheap and takes strategic planning, but at least you will have control over it. You can house content there and use push notifications to engage your audience. In the long term, app development could be a strong option for those with large organizations.  

Reasons to stay: 

Stay in the fight - Staying on Twitter allows you to engage with audiences who are not sold on your issues and may be against them on the surface- there is a school of thought that dropping out of the conversation cedes ground to those on the other side. How beneficial that conversation can be is up for debate, and you need to weigh staying in the fight with the resources and churn that can take.

The platform for media relations - Many folks first got on Twitter to engage with the media. Many reporters and media employees still use Twitter, making it a valuable platform for media connections.

All platforms will have controversy, but yes some have even more than others. Recognize the rented land problem in digital platforms; wherever you go, challenges will persist.

Have a plan - Do not add (or leave) a social channel without a plan - The question you should ask is, do you really need another social channel? Especially for a nonprofit, make sure you have the capacity and desire to manage another channel. Have a plan before you rush into a new social channel.

Bottom line: When Nonprofits leave Twitter/X without a plan they encounter other problems. Choose a platform that aligns with your goals, and evaluate the need for another app before signing up or signing off.

Should your nonprofit leave Twitter? If you have any questions about leaving Twitter, drop us a line.