Times change. Often, it changes the things we most wish would stay the same.
Most recently, the winds of change are touching a place that I’ve held quite dear…Twitter.
I’m beginning to come to terms with the reality that, perhaps for me, Twitter just isn’t ever going to be what it used to be.
Following are the top three reasons (I think) Twitter is beginning to suck.
- It has reached a saturation point. Sure, there are new accounts being opened daily and Twitter is still, essentially, “growing.” From what I’m seeing, though, we’ve reached a point where the people who are going to be active users are there, and the new accounts are robots, un-engaged brands, or spam. Take a look at the results of the recently conducted Social Habit study; Only eight percent of Americans are using Twitter, which is the least used platform among Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn. Even when we cringed as Ashton and Oprah were “bringing Twitter to the mainstream,” 92 percent of people have yet to take interest. I’m one who visits the Twitter page of new followers to determine whether or not to follow them back. Lately? Not a whole lot are making the cut.
- It has become an echo-chamber. Compared to a few years ago, Twitter has become filled with a lot more noise, and unfortunately, that noise is not original content. As our networks grow, it stands to reason that we’ll automatically share content from our friends and contacts. And, when we create our own stuff, we’ve learned that tweeting it multiple times will give us greater reach. Even the Twitter interface itself has changed to reinforce the noise with the “new” RT feature and “suggested follows.”
- Some people have stopped playing altogether. A handful of thought-leaders who I used to really enjoy having in my timeline have grown their networks to the point where the possibility of engagement is almost non-existent. When you have more than 20,000 followers, you can’t really stop using the platform. I think that, in order maintain presence, their content has become very robotic and sanitized, void of any true engagement. My guess is that they’ve moved to other platforms for their engagement and are doing so with a smaller, more manageable (and “elite”) group.
Today’s “Twitter newbies” will have a very different experience with the tool than the one I had when I started a few years ago. The reality is, it’s just not the same atmosphere and there’s more change on the horizon, especially as Apple has introduced the integration of Twitter and iOS 5.
Change is inevitable. I don’t fault anyone for changing the way they use the tool or developers for trying to advance it. “Twitter is going to change” was something I heard going in, and I knew it to be true then. It used to make me a little sad, but now I’ve just come to accept it.
What do you think?
Kary Delaria is a digital PR strategist and social media research analyst for Kane Consulting, a communications firm specializing in integrating social media into marketing and communications processes. She can be reached via email or well, still on Twitter.