Elon Musk buys news service
How important is Twitter actually?
Multi-billionaire Elon Musk has taken over Twitter. Since then, each of his decisions has attracted media attention around the world. Blick explains who primarily uses the short message platform – and why it is important.
A symbolic image: multi-billionaire Elon Musk and the Twitter logo. It represents the tech innovator’s purchase of the news platform.
What am I supposed to care about? Many are asking this question at the moment. This is in connection with the purchase of Twitter by tech multi-billionaire Elon Musk, which is making headlines around the world. Musk wants to become the sole director of the social media platform, writes the New York Times. The Economist reports that he is planning to cut numerous jobs, and the ARD Tagesschau reports that he wants to unblock blocked users.
But how important is Twitter? In contrast to the USA, where a large part of the population exchanges information via Twitter, according to communication science professor Julia Metag, only 16 percent of the population in Switzerland have a Twitter account. Among them, however, are numerous politicians: Of the parliamentarians, 70 percent of the national councilors and 50 percent of the councilors of states are part of the social network.
“It’s about discussing among themselves and reaching the journalists they want to convey their ideas to,” says Metag. This means: They can become opinion leaders and find their way into the classic media.
Political journalists use Twitter the most
A current study by the German Leibniz Institute for Media Research also shows that political journalists use the online service more frequently than other social media.
A study by Twitter itself shows that users are influential. Among them are many decision-makers, especially in Germany. EU President Ursula von der Leyen, Apple boss Tim Cook and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenski are just a few examples.
It is true that the “average” Swiss citizens are usually active on other social media such as Facebook, Instagram or TikTok. “Facebook is still more important for many in politics, and younger people use Instagram and TikTok significantly more,” says Julian Maitra, media sociologist at the University of Fribourg. But at the latest by means of the classic media, they also inform themselves about world events.
Citizens get one vote
Maitra also refers to another phenomenon: During the pandemic, a “whole movement of citizen statisticians” could be observed, which turned the key figures of the BAG Twitter account into graphics and curves for infections, hospitalizations or deaths. “In general, you can use the answer function to contradict politicians or celebrities directly.” If such statements are well received, ordinary citizens could also gain weight in public discourse.
Musk completed the $44 billion takeover of Twitter on Thursday. Since then, there have been no official statements. The dismissal of top managers around boss Parag Agrawal was initially only known through media reports. It could go on like this: With the purchase, Musk takes the online platform off the stock exchange and no longer has to provide information.