Since Elon Musk acquired Twitter and renamed it ‘X’, environmental chatter on the platform has dwindled dramatically. Interestingly, nearly half of users fervent about the environment have logged off in the past half-year.
A team of U.S. researchers brands this migration as an “exodus.” Their study in “Trends in Ecology & Evolution” highlights the startling drop in environmental talks on ‘X’ post its acquisition by Musk in October 2022.
Before this, Twitter stood as the prime platform for varied environmental interests. From rallying around advocacy targets to swapping ideas and findings, to unearthing fresh collaboration avenues – Twitter had it all.
So, how did these researchers come to this alarming revelation? The team, a mix of biologists and environmental consultants, delved into the digital lives of 380,000 users, all with a keen eye on ecological subjects. These include climate change, biodiversity, and related policies. If a user tweeted at least once in 15 days, they stamped them “active.”
Their digital excavation, spanning tweets from July 2019 to April 2023, unearthed a concerning trend. Post Musk’s ‘X’ makeover, a mere 52.5% of these green enthusiasts remained active. This drop rate overshadows other similar online communities, even those engrossed in general politics.
Why does this matter? According to the study’s authors, no other platform can rival Twitter (or ‘X’) when it comes to discussing, debating, and collaborating on environmental matters. And this shrinking space for eco-dialogues spells potential trouble. It puts a dent in public communications, dampening the spread of digital info and hampering public mobilization around the globe’s pressing green issues.
The researchers’ final takeaway? They’re unsure of ‘X’s’ future as a hub for outreach and research. They stress the increasing urgency for cross-sector collaborations. Industries, nonprofits, and academia must come together. Their collective goal? To keep tabs on public engagement with environmental matters across the social spectrum. This is crucial, not just for raw research but also for hands-on environmental conservation and climate change countermeasures.
The insights for this article come courtesy of The Star.