On Monday 18 September, Axios reported that Elon Musk intends to begin charging all users of X (formerly known as Twitter) in an interview with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In the week following the announcement, online healthcare professionals (eHCPs) from all over the world voiced their opinion on the possibility of paying for X; the general consensus was that eHCPs would migrate to other platforms en masse.
Using CREATION Pinpoint®, we analysed the unprompted online conversations of 512 eHCPs, who spoke about the changes between September 18 and September 24. X is an important tool for eHCPs to discuss data, share patient stories and stay informed on changes within healthcare. This is not the first time that eHCPs have discussed contingency plans in the event that X is no longer the preferred platform; CREATION.co’s analysis shows that these conversations have only intensified in the wake of Elon Musk’s announcement.
Less than 2% of posts supported the proposed fees to use X
In the days following Musk’s comments, eHCPs did not hold back in their criticism of him, and the proposed changes to X. A professor at The University of Edinburgh, Devi Sridhar, joked the move would serve as a guide on “How to kill a website with 550 million users 101”, being shared by five other eHCPs worldwide.
Other eHCPs took a more serious tone, reflecting on the impact of a mass exodus away from X. A general practitioner in the UK, Dr. David Wrigley told his more than 3,000 strong eHCP following he will miss the medical “campaigning & messaging” memories he has of his 10 years on the platform. This is a sentiment repeated by numerous eHCPs, of missing the networks of fellow medical professionals which have been grown, typically, over a number of years.
It feels like my time on Twitter is slowly drawing to a close. I won’t be paying for access. I’ll miss the interactions & memories of over 10 yrs of campaigning & messaging. Some major pile ons are memorable too.
What a shame. Used to be enjoyable & useful https://t.co/8RaQivicKd
— Dr David Wrigley (@DavidGWrigley) September 19, 2023
eHCPs consider the future of the online medical community
A sizable proportion of the conversation, almost 15%, was eHCPs asking their followers if they intended to stay on the platform if X goes through with the proposed changes and monetises one of the world’s most popular social media sites.
Trisha Greenhalgh shared a poll with her followers, almost 25,000 of whom are CREATION Pinpoint® verified eHCPs, asking respondents how much they would pay for continued access to X, or if they would pay at all. The result across all 55,338 respondents, 96% voted they would not be willing to pay for use of X. The volume of eHCPs asking one another if they intend to stay on the platform suggests they are invested in where their fellow medical professionals are going, to continue to enjoy the benefits of having an online space to have medical and scientific conversations with the wider eHCP community.
(POLL) Musk has just announced that he may institute a monthly fee for all Twitter users—a universal paywall—after this site has been free for 17 years.
How much would you pay to use this social media platform as it is now, approximately a year after Musk bought it?
— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) September 19, 2023
There is no consensus yet on what platforms eHCPs may migrate to
Among those who expressed a negative reaction to the news that X could move toward a paid model, and said they would leave the platform, there was no clear consensus on which platform eHCPs may decide to move to.
A number of eHCPs shared the news that BlueSky registrations shot up in the immediate aftermath of Musk’s announcement, meaning BlueSky was mentioned marginally more than other social media platforms.
Interestingly, some eHCPs authored posts which mentioned multiple alternatives to X, for example by referring their followers to both their Mastodon and BlueSky accounts. This suggests that while eHCPs may be undecided on where to go next, they are already considering their options.
Definitely NOT. If Musk charges for this antisemitic, anti-trans, misogynist dump, I’ll see my colleagues and friends on Mastodon (@[email protected]). I’m also on Threads and Bluesky (nilikm).
— Nili Kaplan-Myrth MD PhD (@nilikm) September 19, 2023