Uh oh. #RipTwitter is trending.
Following the blue check debacle, the latest ultimatum from Twitter’s new CEO, Elon Musk, has added fuel to the fire, jeopardizing the social media giant’s ability to operate.
The latest news doesn’t seem hopeful: Musk, who became CEO after purchasing Twitter for $44 billion recently eliminated about 3,700 jobs — about half of Twitter's workforce — demanding employees sign a pledge to work harder or accept three months’ severance pay.
It’s prompted another mass exodus of employees at multiple levels across the organization that seems to have to put the company’s future at risk.
Should schools that rely on Twitter as a major platform for their social media presence be worried?
It’s hard to imagine schools leaving Twitter — Since its launch in 2006, Twitter became a major player in the social media landscape, engaging school audiences with the latest sports recaps, viral social trends, and opening new lanes of communication and marketing for schools. Acting as the newsroom of schools and districts, the platform sees 500 million tweets per day, which is equal to 350K per minute or 200 billion per year.
But the latest news is unsettling. The rise of “verified” imposter accounts and an apparent lack of security raises the issue of if school and district account information, payment details, and direct messages (DMs) are susceptible to security hacks.
If the security and integrity of the platform are at risk, should your school abandon ship? Before you start printing out all of your tweets as a backup, let’s ask a few important questions:
How can my school protect itself on Twitter?
If the ship hasn’t already sunk, it seems to be taking on water — fast. (I'll never let go, Jack)
Some claims suggest there are no longer enough engineers on staff — essential employees needed to maintain critical systems, meaning it may be too late to keep Twitter from shutting down altogether.
“There is no longer even a skeleton crew manning the system. It will continue to coast until it runs into something, and then it will stop,” one former employee told the Washington Post.
“Every mistake in code and operations is now deadly,” added a former engineer. Those left “are going to be overwhelmed, overworked, and because of that more likely to make mistakes.”
Schools should rely on best practices for securing their social media accounts during a time of uncertainty:
- Turn on two-factor authentication. This is an extra layer of security that ensures you are the one accessing your account. After you enable this feature, you’ll need your password, along with a secondary login confirmation via an app or security key to log in to your account.
- Use a strong password that you don't reuse on other websites. Don’t use full words, and include a complex mix of numbers, letters, and special characters.
- Protect your school account information — Be extra cautious of suspicious links and always make sure you're on twitter.com or the app before entering your login information.
- Archive your Twitter data. It may take up to 24 hours, but you can request an archive of your Twitter data that includes account information, activity history, and a list of the apps and devices used to access your account. Learn more about archiving your Twitter data here.
Are parents even using Twitter anymore?
In the latest report from Project Tomorrow’s Speak Up Project, “Text, Twitter, Email, Call: Parents’ Preferences for Communication and Engagement in 2022,” nearly 5,000 parents of school-aged children across the country were asked about their personal preferences for teacher, school, and district communications. The results may be surprising.
Despite high levels of media attention on Twitter usage and followers, only 11% of all parents, across the four generations in schools, say they tweet or follow Twitter posts always or often. Even among the youngest parents, 79% of Gen Z parents say they never are on Twitter.
It might even be surprising to know that Twitter is the world’s 7th favorite social media platform, ranking below other platforms like WhatsApp, WeChat, and Douyin.
I mean, we’ve all heard of Douyin, right?
If Twitter goes down, what does it mean for your school?
Don’t panic. There have been scattered reports of Twitter not working for some users. Downdetector.com, a site that collects reports of outages and sites not working, showed a spike in recent issues for Twitter.*
If Twitter does bite the dust, consider this: Twitter has been a great resource for timely updates and joining the larger conversations within the social sphere. It’s been an important tool for reaching and engaging the external communities of schools, but it’s not a surefire way of communicating the most important messages with your constituents.
For critical school communications, like important updates, school alerts, and announcements, parents trust and prefer your school’s mass communications, like email, SMS texts, and voicemail.
There’s an easier way, too. Communications sent through systems like Messages XR or Mass Notifications (provided by Finalsite, the new home of Blackboard K-12) can extend the reach of your school’s communications, making it easy for you to send emails, texts, voice calls, mobile app updates, and more, all with just a few clicks. It can even translate your messages for you and engage a more diverse audience.
As far as social media, it might be worth exploring other avenues of communication for the other updates you were posting on Twitter. Instagram Stories can now include links to your website, polls to test engagement, and other fun ways to interact with your followers. You can also start looking at newer platforms like TikTok to connect with your community and your students.
While the future of Twitter isn’t clear, it was never guaranteed. The tech world is always in flux. Responding to the changing preferences of your school community should always be a consideration for your school’s communication strategy.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Connor has spent the last decade within the field of marketing and communications, working with independent schools and colleges throughout New England. As Finalsite’s Senior Content Marketing Manager, Connor plans and executes marketing strategies and digital content across the web. A former photojournalist, he has a passion for digital media, storytelling, coffee, and creating content that connects.