What’s going down?
It’s been a crazy week at Twitter.
Under the new leadership of Chief Twit Elon Musk, Twitter launched a short lived “Twitter Blue” subscription service, that allowed old users and new to pay for a verification check mark. This attempt at boosting Twitter’s revenue, went miserably south- after users created fake parody accounts of popular mega brands such as Coca Cola, Lockheed Martin ( and many more!) and spread misinformation. It was the ultimate display of the power of the people.
As documented by Twitter user @taylorlorenz (see the thread here), the “Insulin is free” tweet by a parody account of US Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly apparently erased billions of dollars in market cap for the company in a matter of hours (stock sank from $368 to $346). While Eli Lilly’s “official” Twitter account tried to clear the mess up with an apology, more pranksters created verified fake accounts spoofing the apology too!
This hurried rollout hurt major brands' reputations and in less than 4 days after its release, Elon and Twitter decided to pull back the feature completely.
The effect of so many changes on the Twitter platform presents a big problem for advertisers, some of which have already paused spending there.
Why should APAC businesses care?
Twitter is by far, the largest community-building platform that brands invest in, it's the best platform for real-time engagement with the audience. Brands use Twitter as a primary method for customer support, product launches and crisis communication. Although Twitter has always had a "heated" misinformation problem (partly caused by bots, and partly by polarising views on almost everything), the blue verification mark represented authority in the highest form. The Twitter Blue fiasco took that power away from the brands in a flash.- causing a massive reputatio problem.
Although Twitter Blue didn't officially launch in APAC, it is a cautionary tale. Elon has already declared that brands will need to pay for verification on Twitter henceforth ( through Twitter Blue or not) and that in days to come it will add "granularity" to verified accounts such as organizational affiliation and identification verification. Will brands pay for a system that seems to be built on incoherent logic, or take their advertising and community-building investment elsewhere?
It takes years to build a brand, and Twitter has proven that this effort can be broken down in a matter of hours. Ultimately, will the Twitter investment be worth it at all?
Why are we at Bud excited about this?
At Bud, we track reputation trends such as these closely and how it shapes current and future conversations. If Twitter loses its users, will they be heading back to Facebook, or going to TikTok which is quickly becoming the go-to source of news information?
The next quarter will be crucial to Elon, the tech/advertising industry and the world. Will he beat all odds and make Twitter profitable? Will he use his Elon magic to create a unique advertising system that will truly be unmatched? The new and reformed Blue is expected to come back before November 29. Stay tuned to this space folks, this is one heck of a nail-biting show.