We’ve been reading a lot of stories (and, ironically, tweets) lately asking if people are “over Twitter,” or if “Twitter is dying,” or in the case of this Atlantic article, the conclusion that Twitter has already died. No one is denying the fact that the 140-character-limited, strange-to-initially-use platform has changed the face of publishing, but the claim is that there’s too much noise, or that its just an “echo chamber” of the same stories. Or maybe even that “the cool kids aren’t using it anymore.” If those are your claims, then I’m here to tell you that you’re using Twitter wrong.
Its undeniable that the platform has had very distinct moments in its lifetime – from “wait, how does this work?” to “okay, this is pretty cool!” and even “I go to Twitter for my news before anything else.” Then, unfortunately, and thanks to the analytics-hungry marketers out there, somehow parts of Twitter absolutely turned into the “echo chamber” mentioned above. The Atlantic article even goes so far to talk about how several journalists who made their name on the platform (i.e., Ezra Klein), have abandoned Twitter all together.
The problem isn’t Twitter, its people’s expectations of Twitter, and their subsequent use of the platform. Instead of trying to connect with people and actually have a conversation with someone across the globe (or next door, for that matter), they’re tagging Shaquille O’Neal with the sole hope of a response or retweet. Instead of sharing a colleague’s thoughts about the new restaurant down the street, people are pushing their own (watered-down) blog posts in an attempt to get more page views. And instead of continuing to provide original thought and having the unique persona that helped them rise to fame, they’re only pushing out information from their new employer to get more page views (yes, that was a not-so-subtle Erza Klein dig).
Twitter is still a great platform for breaking news. It’s still a fantastic platform for finding out what is going on in real time during events (concerts, conferences, TV shows, etc.). And, most importantly, it’s still a great place to have a voice, and make some really great connections with actual people. Once you stop with the self-promotional, non-transparent, look-at-me-and-click-my-link approach, the value of Twitter is readily apparent.
Jim Licko is a Vice President at GroundFloor Media and occasionally jumps on his soapbox about things like claiming Twitter is dead. Fortunately those rants are typically brief – about 140-characters or so.