The Failed Migration of Academic Twitter

arxiv(2024)

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Abstract
Following change in Twitter's ownership and subsequent changes to content moderation policies, many in academia looked to move their discourse elsewhere and migration to Mastodon was pursued by some. Our study looks at the dynamics of this migration. Utilizing publicly available user account data, we track the posting activity of academics on Mastodon over a one year period. Our analyses reveal significant challenges sustaining user engagement on Mastodon due to its decentralized structure as well as competition from other platforms such as Bluesky and Threads. The movement lost momentum after an initial surge of enthusiasm as most users did not maintain their activity levels, and those who did faced lower levels of engagement compared to Twitter. Our findings highlight the challenges involved in transitioning professional communities to decentralized platforms, emphasizing the need for focusing on migrating social connections for long-term user engagement.
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