Elon Musk seems confused by what people do during the summer.
On July 30, 2022, Musk logged on to Twitter dot com with an important observation.
“Interaction with almost all twitter accounts seem to be much lower in recent weeks & days,” Musk tweeted. “Accurate?”
Musk’s tweet about low engagement on Twitter – with its 7,532 retweets, 1,512 quote tweets, and 125,344 likes – seems to have struck a nerve. It’s unclear exactly what the Tesla CEO was trying to get at. However, based on Musk’s previous vocal opinions about “free speech,” bans, and censorship on social media platforms, it’s clear how his followers were taking it.
Something nefarious is afoot.
Many Musk faithful assume Twitter, the company that Elon Musk apparently pretended to want to buy and is now suing the billionaire over backing out of the signed deal to acquire it, is to blame for their tweets not receiving more interactions.
Is Twitter shadowbanning specific, ostensibly pro-Musk, users? Shadowbans are basically when a social media platform demotes accounts or specific content in its algorithm so they reach fewer users. Others questioned if Twitter was hard at work removing all the fake accounts and bots thanks to Musk’s complaint (and his excuse as to why he wants to back out of his legally binding $44 billion contract with Twitter.)
Here’s the truth. The reason you may be seeing less engagement on Twitter in July 2022 is because the Earth is conspiring with the Sun and its affecting the weather.
This is called Summer.
The Northern Hemisphere of the Earth experiences this phenomenon during the months of June, through September. Days begin earlier and nightfall comes later. July, smackdab in the middle of that period, is often the hottest month of the year. Many people go outside to enjoy the warm weather and take part in outdoor events. Music festivals, barbecues, beach trips, and visits to the theme park are popular summer activities. People step away from long days working on their computers at their office desks, log off, and go on vacation.
“In past years, entire industries saw summer slumps — or seasonal dips in sales or web traffic,” wrote Pamela Bump, manager of content growth at HubSpot, in a 2021 report on this phenomenon.
The report, published in July 2021 and updated the following September with additional data, compared last year’s summer internet slump with the summer slumps from previous years. The only industry that didn’t experience a web traffic downturn was leisure and hospitality because, obviously, people were using the online businesses in that field to plan trips and getaways. Post-COVID, that summer internet traffic slump appears to increase as individuals look to get out of their houses and make up for those lost summer getaways during the heights of the pandemic.
This isn’t a new trend, and it’s not regulated to just Twitter, either. A 2013 study by the social media analytics firm Fanpage Karma found that interactions on Facebook posts increased by 42 percent on average when there was bad weather compared to when there was good weather. A rainy day on a summer weekend could increase Facebook post interactions by as much as 90 percent.
There has been data showing that mobile web use – people surfing the web via their smartphones – has increased during the summer in recent years. But, people are most likely logging into their social media profiles to talk about their summer activities, not Elon Musk’s latest tweet complaining about the lack of sex he’s been having.
”We’re seeing a 220% increase in conversations about music festivals during the summer,” says Twitter, in a Twitter Insights blog post from the company’s marketing department. Twitter finds that the type of conversations currently trending on the platform involves “summer anticipation and prep.” Many users are focused on the summer activities they’re experiencing or are excited about.
So, historically, as a result of SUMMER, many websites, platforms, and online businesses see a decrease in traffic. But, if it helps with your engagement numbers, Elon, I guess we can all pretend you’re being shadowbanned by the sun.