Indie Creators Must* Post to Twitter

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 4 min read
Indie Creators Must* Post to Twitter

I was listening to Sharp Tech, which is one of my favorite podcasts at the moment, and someone wrote in asking the hosts if they thought it made sense for creators to pay for Twitter Blue if only to make sure their content got surfaced more on the platform. Andrew Sharp said he thought it was a no-brainer.

I've always thought that posting to Twitter was kinda worthless since it drove almost no traffic, but I could never quite prove it. However, I happened to create a near perfect experiment when I left Twitter and turned off auto-posting my stuff there. Did I lose traffic to this blog or my YouTube channel when I stopped posting to Twitter? Let's find out!

The Blog

This blog's analytics are totally public and you can check them out here to check my work. In short, over the first 1/3 of the year:

  • 2022: 66,000 pageviews
  • 2023: 100,000 pageviews

I did have one week in April that spiked that number by about 25k, but in general my site was getting slightly more views than last year. But how many came from Twitter?

  • 2022: 1,419
  • 2023: 307

That's a result! I posted everything to Twitter last year, nothing year, and my hits from Twitter dropped by 79%.

Now, proportions matter, so another way to look at this is that my share of traffic from Twitter went from 2.1% down to 0.3%. I'm not thrilled to lose anyone, but the impact to my blog was not significant, and was more than made up for by other sources of traffic.

Of note,  Mastodon doesn't show up as a source in analytics, and is instead bundled under "direct", so it's impossible to tell how much traffic Mastodon is generating for me.


You can see the views on any one of my videos on YouTube, but detailed data is tucked inside YouTube Studio. I'll use screenshots here to break down the data.

In the first 4 months of 2023, my videos got 408,000 total views. Let's look at where that came from. It's important to note that 83% of my views come from people already on YouTube, and only 10% is from people being linked to videos from elsewhere.

Where people find my videos in 2023

Let's look at the breakdown of that "External" section.

268 views that came from Twitter, or about 0.06% of my views. Let's see how much better it was when I was posting every video to Twitter last January through April:

645 views came from Twitter, which accounted for 0.2% of my total views (307,432) over that time period. Again, that's an approximately 70% loss, but we're talking about slivers here.

My takeaway is that while I am technically reducing the potential traffic I could get from posting to Twitter, it's never been more than a sliver of my traffic sources, so the loss is basically nothing.

The Twist

Now while Twitter is not a place where people click on my posts or videos to see what I'm doing, it could be argued that Twitter introduces me to people who would not have known about me otherwise. Someone might subscribe to my blog from a link in my profile, but their readership doesn't count as being from Twitter.

Sadly, by its very nature, I can't put a number on this one, but I have to think that a decent number of people who follow my site are doing so because they found me on Twitter. I think this because I know I've found numerous blogs this way and I can't be the only one.

The Real Question

Ultimately, the question of whether you should pay for Twitter Blue or not really depends on how much of your audience (or potential audience) is on Twitter and whether spending $8/month on boosting your own posts in the algorithm is going to move the needle for you.

Put another way, Facebook has way more people on it, so should all creators spend money creating a Business account there and buy ads so that they can be sure Facebook users see their stuff? It depends!

No one is going to be big everywhere, and in my opinion, you should focus your efforts and money on platforms that help you grow the best. If you're a writer and your business success correlates quite closely to your presence on Twitter, then sure, pay for Blue. For someone like me who is mostly invested in YouTube, Twitter means essentially nothing for me. For me, optimizing my marketing efforts around YouTube is far better and returns far more significant results. I sadly can't provide a blanket recommendation here.