Twitter is possibly the social media platform I spend most time on; I’ve been using it with various profiles since around 2008-09 and have always liked it; Why wouldn’t I? It’s a micro-blogging platform, and I like to blog 🙂 However of late I have found myself using it less, and although I do still find myself on there it’s more reading than actually writing, and even then it’s a fair bit less.
In the past several months we’ve heard lots of people talking about the death of Twitter, saying it’s doomed, it’s been in decline in terms of growth, they’ve brought back Jack Dorsey (CEO) last year, and even more recently users have voiced their concerns with potential changes using the hashtash #RIPTwitter. Since I became a member of Twitter it was seen as the cool social network to be on, far cooler than Facebook which was full of parents and friends you didn’t want to speak to, celebs loved it and really took to it, so what has happened?
Celebrities Leaving Twitter
I believe there’s no doubt that celebs made Twitter what it is, I believe that’s true in the UK if nowhere else. Lots of famous faces really took to Twitter, and really promoted their accounts and hammered home they were on Twitter, encouraging others to follow them which obviously means having to sign up. Stephen Fry was probably one of the earliest adopters of Twitter, and people like Chris Moyles used to talk about it a LOT on his Radio 1 breakfast show, which had millions of daily listeners.
Lots of celebrities are now leaving Twitter, or at least many leaving then making a comeback. In fact Stephen Fry has removed his account only this week, saying “Too many people have peed in the pool“.
It’s Becoming Hard Work
Sometimes I go on Twitter and I want to write something, but what? It’s quite hard to have something to say, all the time, and to be engaging or relevant. This seems to be the same with others, who seem to not write anything too interesting, or just post up a quote or funny pic, because that’s less work and they feel like they have to say something, if they haven’t said something for a while.
It’s not like Snapchat, Instagram or even Pinterest, which are all about photos more than words, and in the case of Snapchat it’s a very quick and easy thing to do, which more people seem to be going towards.
It appears that lots of people are also finding it hard work, I see so many auto-tweets from brands and bloggers alike. I write all my tweets, but so many are now using time-saving, robotic and repetitive tweets in some cases account for ALL of their tweets. They’ve effectively almost already left Twitter and can’t be bothered with it anymore.
Offending And Being Offended
If you write in a public place then I think that you have to understand that some people will not share your opinion. We always hear about the hate, and the people who post offensive replies to others, but there’s not just people offending, but people being offended. In some cases Twitter has become a soapbox of people just writing how they are offended about something, it could be big and important, but much of the time it’s something really small. Twitter has given people a voice and people will use it, however they like without any thought. I have often joked about how having an opinion is now considered trolling, but there is plenty of truth in that, and if you aren’t allowed expressing an opinion without getting hate, it defeats the object quite a bit.
That’s not to say Twitter does not have the nice, normal people and communities, there’s plenty of cool, nice and genuine people, and it is an overwhelming majority.
The Coveted Blue Checkmark Is Loosing It’s Appeal
I would love a verified account, so would many others, there is no doubt. It used to be a status symbol, it used to mean something, but now, the once status symbol is now almost meaningless. Z-list TV personalities who are signed with the right management/agents can acquire verification, minor local news reporters whom you’ve never heard of with a few hundred followers can get verified, and then there’s the unofficial word that you can buy yourself verification via a Twitter account manager. On the flip-side there’s be people who are respected in their field, businesses or even celebrities which don’t get verified and have no hope of this. Twitter verification has lost it’s way and lost it’s appeal.
For Bloggers And Brands – Driving Traffic & Engagement Is Poor
Along with myself, there’s a lot of bloggers, brands, businesses and people who are looking at their analytics and have discovered that in general, Twitter is not that great for engagement or driving traffic to websites or blogs. If you are using Twitter to amplify your other content, how well is it doing, and how much resources are you having to put into Twitter to get it? Twitter has always been a catch-22 situation where if you post once about something many people will miss it, if you post a few times you may annoy someone who’s seen it multiple times and then unfollows you.
Twitter Ads Are Expensive And Poor
If you want to increase your following or engagement then one way to do this is to buy Twitter Ads. I have dipped my toe in the waters of Twitter Ads, and I have to say that I have not been impressed with the results. It could cost £0.50 per follower for an ad, which means that for £50 you could get 100 followers; That is not bad, but it’s not so good either. But once you’ve spent your money you could loose a portion (or even all) of these followers if they become dissatisfied with your tweets, they may never engage with you or they could just leave Twitter all together. Can you spend your £50 better elsewhere? I think you can.
Twitter Ads Are Annoying
From a user perspective the ads are annoying. I continue to see more and more, and it’s not just the frequency, but the lack of relevance these ads have. I see ads which I have absolutely no interest in, and I never will, and I feel for the businesses. I know they’ve paid for me to see this ad, and I also know I have no interest at all in their ad. Twitter ads are showing up in the trending tweets, in my own timeline on both PC and mobile, and even in others timelines if I look at their profile. I think Twitter needs to do a lot better at ads for both businesses and users.
Twitter Keeps Changing, For The Worse
The #RIPTwitter hashtag came around when Twitter announced changes which would impact the timelines, and how we see Tweets (and ads), as well as some thoughts that they may increase the limit of a tweet from 140 characters to a whopping 10,000, which effectively removes any kind of reasonable limit. Other changes they’ve made have been changing the favourite star to a like heart, and a new “moments” tab which is something I’ve still never used. They say if it aint broke, don’t fix it, so with all these changes happening it seems like the Twitter gods believe that something is wrong with Twitter, and perhaps there is, but can it be fixed?
The Good – It’s The Best Platform For Live Blogging
One thing I LOVE about Twitter is the live blogging, and I think it’s the only platform which you can do this on successfully. I’m talking about writing about events as they are happening; It could be watching the football or other sporting events, it could be watching a TV show. Live events are brilliant on Twitter, you can have your say and join in with others, there really is nothing like Twitter for that, and that’s what it does well.
It’s also brilliant for breaking news and finding out things first. I find out a lot of current information and minute-by-minute updates on news, there is not much like it.
Verdict – The Future Of Twitter
I really don’t know what to make of Twitter’s future as a user at this point. You’ll always have people talking about the demise of a platform (they’ve been saying blogging would die since it started!) and it can feel a bit false. It could be burning out slowly or it could go overnight pretty much like Myspace did. Would I loose out if I did not tweet? Can I live without checking Twitter? As a regular old user I think I can live without it, but at the moment, as a blogger, I think it’s still relevant for me.
Where do you see Twitter in 2016 and beyond?