People are joining Twitter in record numbers – but do they need to?
What was once a niche of social media enthusiasts, PR people and real estate agents (at least in Vancouver) has now grown to include the ranks of talk show hosts, lip synching starlets and pranksters.
So the mainstream has gotten hold of this thing – but do they know what to do with it?
TWITTER REALLY ISN’T ABOUT YOU
On the surface, Twitter looks like a Facebook status update. It’s described as a microblogging platform, but Twitter is less about what you have to say and more about listening to what everyone else is saying.
The list of people following you is not important, unless you’re a brand, or marketer. The list that’s important for twitter users is the list of people you follow.
At least that’s how I use Twitter. It’s a news feed, a live stream of the zeitgeist of the world. It gives me news headlines, product reviews, and feedback on discussion topics for my radio program.
PEOPLE STILL DONT UNDERSTAND THE NEW FACEBOOK
Just look at the Facebook redesign. It has been heartily booed by users since it’s launch. MILLIONS have joined groups in protest for a design that was, without doubt, inspired by the Twitter interface. Facebook is now a real time update of what people are thinking, it’s not a place to just put a sentence about you, it’s now creating discussions. And people don’t like that.
24/7 – 365
I once asked on Twitter “Who should be on Twitter?” and the responses I received indicated that Twitter is best used by those who live their lives online.
That is the point I would argue: you need to be wired in to the borg to effectively use Twitter.
Here’s a screenshot of my desktop:
I have TweetDeck open full screen as I work with Tweets floating in behind. When I’m on the air, I have a Macbook off to the side with just TweetDeck running, it’s my Twitter machine.
I’m guessing people check their Facebook statii few times a day, so popping in to Twitter will have the same sort of usage by people, but that’s the problem between the new and old Facebook and people’s usage. People are not logged in full time to Facebook, they pop in and out. When they do that, they miss things in the live stream. Conversations will just fly by.
Twitter is meant to be instantaneous. It’s meant to be watched.
By saying that the mainstream doesn’t “belong” on Twitter, I’m not trying to be a protectionist. I’m not the fan of the underground punk band that’s about to have a song in a beer commercial and go mainstream, so I’m trying to keep them real before they sell out.
I’m just saying “Twitter is popular, and it’s awesome. But it doesn’t need to be for everybody.”
This argument, however, could all come crashing down if the proliferation of smart phones and mobile twitter apps continues. The ability to be truly mobile and interactive with Twitter is the key, although many in the mainstream will find just as much satisfaction by staying within the walled garden of Facebook.