This is the weekly Careers newsletter.
Déjà Leonard is a copywriter and freelance journalist based in Calgary.
When Elon Musk first took over Twitter after his US$44-billion acquisition of the social-media platform, he quickly fired top executives, including chief executive officer Parag Agrawal, head of legal Vijaya Gadde and chief financial officer Ned Segal. He then fired the board of directors, and on Friday, the company’s head of safety and integrity, Yoel Roth, said in a tweet that half of the employees were laid off.
But it isn’t just employees leaving the company: The news of Mr. Musk’s takeover and behaviour also spurred announcements from celebrities and professionals stating they will be leaving the platform.
We spoke to two Canadians who use Twitter for their jobs about why they are leaving and where they plan to go.
To go, or not to go?
Tara Robertson, principal of Tara Robertson Consulting Inc., is a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) consultant and a career coach for racialized women.
“I think for me, Musk taking over the company was a final straw,” said Ms. Robertson, who has been using Twitter for 13 years.
She said the amount of disinformation and harassment, and the way politicians such as Donald Trump have used the platform, were other reasons she had been considering leaving.
Ms. Robertson said she has used Twitter to network and find a job in the past. Now, she has been using it to talk about DEI issues across various industries and to connect with other practitioners who are interested in the same topics.
“As a woman of colour, who does DEI work, there were some early decisions he made that signalled to me that this was not going to be a safe place for me to be, or have the conversations that I want,” she said of Twitter since Mr. Musk’s acquisition.
Bradley Thompson is marketing director at DigiHype Media Inc. and a marketing professor at Conestoga College in Kitchener, Ont. A verified Twitter user, he said he uses Twitter daily, sharing marketing and social media content and ideas that he finds interesting.
Mr. Musk first announced that Twitter would be charging $19 a month for Twitter verification – a blue check mark that lets other users verify the identity of the account holder, which was free, but had an application process. After backlash, the owner has proposed including Twitter verification as part of “Twitter Blue” – Twitter’s $8-per-month subscription service that provides users with extra perks such as access to ad-free articles from some news publishers.
“It doesn’t seem like a great idea … I think they’re going to force a lot of people off Twitter. I will have to consider it depending on what the circumstances are,” Mr. Thompson said.
Part of the #TwitterMigration
Last week, the hashtag #TwitterMigration was gaining traction, as many users considered moving to other social-media platforms.
One leading option is Mastodon, a free and open-source microblogging service that launched in March, 2016. The platform has gained more than 70,000 users since Mr. Musk took over Twitter.
Ms. Robertson, who was named one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Gender Equity this year, said using LinkedIn more is something she is considering. She is also a part of private Slack channels and has signed up for Mastodon, but says the platform is “pretty clunky.”
While Ms. Robertson sees leaving Twitter as the right move, there are also cons.
“The thing that I’m really sad about is the different communities that I was a part of there and being able to have conversations across different silos,” she said of what she would lose.
Mr. Thompson wants to see how things shake out, but is also thinking about how he may be able to use LinkedIn more to share his ideas and content.
He said this could be a great opportunity for other social media platforms to take off.
“Twitter is known for a lot of unfortunate hate speech and a lot of bot accounts – why would somebody pay to be part of that community? Until they fix that stuff, there are other platforms out there and [Twitter] is going to have competition,” he said.
What I’m reading around the web
- British Columbia, which has one of the largest gender pay gaps in Canada, is making moves toward greater pay transparency. The province plans to start consultations with Indigenous organizations, employer groups, unions and more in the spring.
- When it first gained traction, LinkedIn was best known as a place to share your resume, find a job and connect with peers. Now, like many other platforms, it’s transformed into a place that perpetuates hustle culture and shows people living their best lives. And, as Vice reports, some people are bringing in nearly $2-million annually as LinkedIn influencers.
- Is your Halloween pumpkin still sitting out on the porch or windowsill? When you toss them in the landfill, they create methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. Read how people are using these leftovers to whip up delicious recipes, or donating them to farms and zoos, which use them to feed animals.
- What would you do with an extra hour or two each day? According to this Bloomberg article, Americans have reclaimed 60 million hours of their lives by working from home. They are spending this time sleeping and on leisure activities.
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