Dec 6, 2022 - Technology

Engagement with Musk's tweets explodes post takeover

Change in engagement with Elon Musk's tweets before and after Twitter acquisition
Note: Change in followers calculated between Jan. 1 and Dec. 4, 2022. Analysis excludes Musk's own replies and retweets; Data: Twitter, Social Blade, Axios research; Chart: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

Since Elon Musk took over Twitter, engagement with his tweets has increased significantly, growing much faster than his actual follower count, according to an analysis by Axios.

Why it matters: For Musk, owning Twitter, and using the app to present and defend his plans for the company, has energized his personal platform.

Details: The findings show that people are engaging more with Musk’s tweets than they were back when he was just another user.

  • Compared to before he acquired Twitter, Musk's follower count has grown roughly 73%, while other types of engagement have increased between 100%–210%.
  • Quote tweets have grown the most. Likes have increased the least.
Ratio of likes to replies of Elon Musk's tweets
Note: Analysis excludes Musk's replies and retweets; Data: Twitter, Axios research; Chart: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

Between the lines: The way in which people are engaging with Musk’s tweets is changing as well.

  • The ratio of likes to replies in response to his tweets is on a steep decline, according to the data, suggesting users are more likely to reply to his tweets than in years past.

How it works: The engagement data pulled by Axios tracks Musk’s tweets, not including replies or retweets, across 2022. 

  • It compares engagement during the period before he purchased Twitter, Jan. 1 to Oct. 26, to the period after, Oct. 27 to Dec. 4.
  • The ratio data covers the period from Jan. 1, 2018, to Nov. 30, 2022, to get a wider view of the types of engagement with Musk’s tweets over time.

The bottom line: Musk has long been one of Twitter's most prominent users, tapping into a subculture of active internet users who use memes and inside jokes to communicate and transact.

  • It's no surprise that Musk’s best-performing tweets from a ratio perspective, according to the analysis, tend to be memes or jokes, like this January 2020 meme about smartphones.
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