Twitter is currently in the throws of it’s biannual meltdown about some dumb shit. Elon Musk recently took control of the platform and has had the skeleton crew that wasn’t immediately fired working around the clock to reimagine it from the ground up. About 3,700 staff were fired, or around half it’s employees. It is unclear at this time whether Twitter is still an FBI retirement village.

I did a video version of this story that includes some ideas for mitigating the impact all these changes might have on you, as well as a Q&A about AI stuff which I haven’t had the time to discuss otherwise.

The Backstory to all of this

Elon has a tough road ahead turning Twitter around into profitability. It’s a notoriously difficult task for any Silicon Valley startup, where the standard business strategy is to create as much debt as possible and hope and pray it all works out sometime in the future. So far his big idea has been to monetize the infamous blue check, used primarily to delineate between celebs/journos and the riff raff. This new tier for Twitter costs US$8, gives previous Twitter Blue bonuses, as well as tweet editing and a rumored boost in the algorithm, pushing down non-verified accounts. It is so early in the game that we don’t know whether this has even been implemented yet. Although later in the post I do take a look at my own analytics and compare with another artist who has got it, and the early numbers are damning.

Misinformation was already rife on the platform whether it emanated from a blue check or not. Removing everybody’s credibility is at least a teaching moment that getting any information at all from the platform is sort of like digging your own intellectual grave 280 characters at a time. It’s going to be a painful couple months as people readjust to the new normal. Plenty of people are going to get bamboozled in the meantime, including shareholders of everything from Pharmaceuticals and Lockheed and Martin. So it’s not all downsides.

It’s been such a shitshow that Twitter has begun to add official tags to notable accounts to combat this, unwittingly reinventing the blue check.

Uptake might also be stymied by people not wanting the baggage of having the check. It’s sort of like when Twitter introduced the hexagon NFT Profile shape. It just painted a big target on everybody stupid enough to buy NFTs.

Why Artists Care At All About This

The only reason we as artists care about this in any shape or form is that the blue check actually delivers tangible benefits in the form of higher algorithm placement.

Despite us not fully understanding the ins and outs yet Artists are already feeling the pressure of possibly having to get the badge, just so they aren’t disappeared into the ether. As NSFW artists we’re already at a massive disadvantage. Merely marking your account as NSFW results in search suggestion bans. Pinging my account over the course of 24 hours yields everything from Search bans all the way up to ghost bans. It seems to vary, I’m not sure if this is just the analysis tool being wonky or some sort of elaborate hokey poky coding by Twitter itself.

So would having a premium subscription mitigate this particular hobbling of a NSFW account? I don’t think so, checking NSFW accounts who have gotten the check still receive these bans. Removing us from search is a pretty good way to shield us from minors.

But will I get higher engagement and be seen more if I’m paying? Quite possibly.

This is a question a lot of artists are asking. I’m not sure it would have any impact at all on the NSFW space considering that nobody in that realm got a blue check to begin with. If none of us are being favoured by the algorithm then we aren’t competing against anybody right? As more onboard then we may see tweaks there. Of course followers might also be following non-nsfw accounts that have Blue, and are pushing us further down the feed. This may be able to be mitigated if everyone changes their home feed to “latest”.


The issue is, it’s not just Musk who’s trying to press us into a corner. Fans also have an opinion and roughly 18% of my base would choose to stop supporting artists that get the Blue Check.

On one hand you get the check mark for pragmatic business reasons and in the process become a Musk enabler and lose a not insignificant number of your followers. On the other hand you appease fans and never get seen ever again anyway as the algorithm strong arms you out of existence.

This might be able to be solved if the check mark is something we could hide, so we have all the benefits with none of the big cuck plates emblazoned proudly on our accounts.


So Should We Get Twitter Blue?

So what’s my strategy in the meantime? I’m in a pretty fortunate position at the moment where I’ve got a good community of commissioners who regularly hit me up and keep me busy, bypassing Twitter entirely via discord. So I’m not gagging to send Elon money for any hypothetical traction. But I’m in the minority of artists in that regard. There are plenty that have struggled, and will continue to struggle to find their spotlight on the internet and might be tempted by any leg up they can muster. So if you see an artist with a blue check, remember that they don’t particularly want it either. Their back is against a wall.

I spoke to Peachy about this and they’ve actually not been having a terrible time with their Twitter Blue sub yet. Asking whether she’d gotten dragged for it her community was pretty supportive. “It immediately turned into “respect artist for doing what they gotta do”.

Her performance so far seems to be doing pretty well as well. “Posted a booba pic casually and it got like 20K. I feel like that must be the algorithm at work.

“I usually aim for impressions on a post to be roughly 50% of my current follower count, to maintain growth, and I achieve this by boosting a post once or twice within 24hrs, but I haven’t been needing to boost because they’ve just been hitting that target on their own”.

She boosts by replying to the tweet to bump it up in the feed for a second round.

If you are considering getting Twitter Blue keep an eye on how your numbers are going. Do an analysis of your account health on over the next month or two. By the end of November you might have an idea of how much these changes have had, comparing with previous months. I’d go another month or two after that just to have a better dataset. By that time any vitriol about having a blue check should have calmed down also. Elon might be done fucking with the platform by then as well, although I doubt that.

Now take those numbers and decide whether it’s worth the spare change to get your account back to baseline. If you’re instead finding you continue to grow just fine, then you could probably safely ignore getting the subscription entirely.

Looking at my numbers it looks like I’m on track to have about a third of my reach shaved off. I’ll get back to you on that one I guess. Thanks Elon.

Leaving Twitter

There’s also the question of exodus which is being tentatively floated. Where’s everyone gonna go next?? Don’t leave me behind! The answer is far from clear for this one as well since the impetus is a soft one at best currently. But it isn’t a bad question to always be asking yourself. I’ve always preached that relying on a single platform is a recipe for disaster. I want to do a bigger post about this particular topic later down the line. But for now here are my thoughts:

There’s Pixiv, which I haven’t used in a million years since they deleted half my pics.

Newgrounds is the eternally suggested option with it’s fucked UI.

Furaffinity is always great to be honest, but the lack of what feels like a central hangout hub holds it back I think. I do love it though, you don’t even need to post furry art there.

Baraag is pretty cool but loaded to the eyeballs with art only for the eyes of those retired FBI agents. It’s built on Mastadon so I feel like there should be some more generalised NSFW hangouts on there.

I think there’s probably a future in a couple big discord communities, and it’s been great growing my own small community in the meantime. has also seen a spike in growth since this controversy started. I’ve only just discovered it though so I’ll have to get back to you on that one.

The Ethics Of Interacting With Twitter as a Typical User

I think the best compromise for followers who no longer want to support artists who have Twitter blue should be to follow the artist on another platform. Hopefully this would lure them away from Twitter entirely if they get enough numbers.

There really is no ethical way to interact with Twitter. Among other things Twitter was a platform that decided that allowing a president to threaten nuclear war on it’s platform was good for business, only caving after a bilateral strike by all social platforms at the same time, long after the presidents damage had been maximized on a domestic level. This means that it probably wasn’t Twitter’s decision to make to begin with. Being part of an active userbase on the platform (even if you’re actively calling out the bullshit on it) is still rewarding the platform for it’s shenanigans.