Twitter, we don’t talk anymore

Twitter, we don’t talk anymore

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Saturday mornings on Twitter used to be a lot of fun. People relaxed and eased into the weekend talking about how their week at work had been and what they had planned for the weekend.

No longer.

My early morning timeline this weekend was dominated by syndicated tweets (Instagram, RunKeeper, Swarm, media etc.), scheduled tweets (media and brands pushing campaigns or people wanting to appear present) and humblebrags (“I'm so proud..." or “I’m so pleased…”).

It’s dull and it’s tedious and it’s an issue that Sally Whittle called out on her blog this week.

I ranted on Facebook and Twitter and received a flurry of responses broadly in agreement.

Therein lies a lesson: no matter how noisy the platform, a strong point of view will always prompt a reaction on social forms of media.

Numerous people in my network suggested that Twitter has become a plaything for brands and the largely intolerant liberal classes.

There’s a game to be played with brands on Twitter or any organisation that promotes tweets. I dare you to try it for yourself. Respond to a post with a comment and see if they reply. My experience is that you’ll get a response to less than a fifth of your posts.

Social media for many organisations is still a form of push marketing. Engagement workflow remains a work in progress in all but the most progressive industries such as technology and travel.

Twitter isn’t social anymore - or at least it isn’t for me. The conversation is muted. It is becoming less relevant and useful to real people and is turning into another broadcast marketing platform.

The solution lies within our control. It is a truism that we get the media we deserve.

I could unsubscribe from accounts that aren’t real people or are plainly anti-social.

Hardened Twitter users segment their network using lists but it takes effort and commitment.

You can create a list around a market (media, technology etc.), topic (entrepreneurs, public relations practitioners etc.) or geography (Northumberland, London etc.) and then check your list rather than the full stream.

SnapChat, WhatsApp and other messaging apps fill the gap left by Twitter. They provide direct engagement but like other person-to-person media such as email and the telephone they aren’t necessary very social either.

Don't get me wrong I still get a huge amount of value from Twitter. I’m not ready to leave just yet.

My weekend rant resulted in a dozen or so responses. Curiously the same comment on Facebook had three times the engagement with a twentieth of the audience.

Therein lies another lesson. Inspired by Euan Semple I’ve returned to Facebook in the last 12 months to post long form, think out loud and road test ideas. The audience is more forgiving and engaging than any other platforms.

As Twitter pushes to profit, brands are saturating it with broadcast and paid content in a bid to break news or own the moment.

Twitter’s business model is based on traditional brand and interruption advertising.

The very essence of Twitter’s value is in danger of being destroyed. The newsfeed changes that are coming in 2015 may go some way to resolving the situation. Instead of seeing the raw newsfeed tweets will be served by an algorithm based on relevance much like Facebook.

Watch this space. In the meantime unfollow some people, persevere with lists and follow some new people. Saturday and Sunday mornings on Twitter may again be fun.

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