Male, Pale, Educated, Politically-Engaged News Junkies: Welcome to Twitter 2024
Aaron Perlut | Partner

Every time I open the artist formerly known as Twitter—or “X”, as owner Elon Musk foolishly rebranded it—I ask myself why I’m still using the platform. Does it have value for me? Should I close my account? What the hell is going on at the Horse ebooks account? 

After all, I’m a 53-year-old white guy who hates electric cars and space travel who is increasingly less interested in politics by the day. As a result, I’m consuming fewer news stories—where Twitter has traditionally really shined. 

But here’s the thing: My use of social media platforms is largely not about me. I do it so that I can glean insights to ultimately counsel the brands and organizations we work with. Should we be counseling them to engage on X or head to the hills of Threads, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram? 

So let’s examine.

Last summer, Pew Research reported that 60 percent of Americans who had used Twitter in the past 12 months said they took a break from the platform. Web analytics provider SimilarWeb reported monthly active users for Twitter had dropped 15 percent worldwide (and 18 percent in the U.S.) year-over-year. And Sensor Tower said mobile daily active users dropped 16 percent on an annual basis in September 2023, to 183 million. Monthly U.S. ad revenue also declined some 55 percent year-over-year each month since Musk bought Twitter.

So what does Twitter have left? Why should I or a brand I work with want to use X? 

According to Search Logistics, more than 528 million monetizable monthly active users remained in 2023 (237.8 million daily users), and X is projected to reach 652.23 million users by 2028. The largest audience demographic (38.5 percent) is the 25 to 34 age group, and 68.1 percent of all users are male. 

So if you are a brand, an influencer or just some dude named Duane from Delaware who wants to engage with others on Twitter—what does this all mean?

Let’s start with the largest audience: males 25 to 34 years old. According to Google data, men ages 25 to 34 are most interested in searching out arts and entertainment content followed by information about the Internet and telecom. 

Thus, it would continue to make sense for, as an example, film studios producing action and sci-fi movies to market through Twitter. It would also seem to work for smartphone makers and mobile networks like Apple, Samsung, T-Mobile, Verizon or AT&T. Alternatively, if you are a high-end women’s clothing brand such as Natori, or if you like shopping at Bloomingdales—Twitter might not be your platform. 

Where X really continues to shine is as a news media facilitator. It remains an important place to find real-time news, live events, and instant reactions from key opinion leaders—particularly with the overwhelming majority of media personalities, pundits and politicians maintaining an active presence on the platform. 

Reuters research from October 2023 supports the notion that X is more of a destination for news—particularly news about politics from mainstream brands, alternative sources and politicians. Users also tend to be more well-off and well-educated, as well as more interested in news and politics. But contrary to perceptions, the platform’s users are no more partisan than users of other platforms. While Reuters did find that people form partisan, like-minded communities and cluster around some political topics on Twitter, research also indicates that users are likely to be exposed to more diverse news and perspectives (to my surprise) as a result of using the platform. 

What about the evil specter of misinformation? Yes, fake news does circulate on Twitter. There are legitimate concerns about this. But users can just as easily find accounts peddling phony vaccine efficacy on TikTok or misleading pro-Russian news on Facebook.

Here’s where Twitter really shines: Journalists are tapping into a particular slice of users—more male, well-off and invested in news and politics.

In turn, if you are a brand looking to create influence or engage audiences that skew male, pale, educated, politically-engaged news junkies—well then, yes—Elon Musk’s X might just be the place for you.

Aaron Perlut
Aaron Perlut is a cofounding partner of Elasticity with some 30 years of diverse experience in journalism, public relations and digital marketing. He is a former senior reputation management counselor at Omnicom-company FleishmanHillard, as well as a communications executive for two of the nation's largest energy companies. Throughout his career, Perlut has counseled a range of organizations---Fortune 500s, state governments, professional sports franchises, economic development authorities, well-funded startups and large non-profits---helping manage reputation and market brands across diverse channels in an evolving media environment.
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