Twitter’s Here To Stay

[Update]: But, in 2016, many ask for how long and power-users say that Twitter must be saved.

[Update]: TWTR (Twitter Stock Symbol) went public on November 7th, 2013 with an opening price of $45.10

TWTR is in many ways, a livelier more valuable alternative to other social media sites. There’s real value in tweets, despite the critics.

Josh Constine begins his blog with this statement :

Twitter’s percent user growth is slowing.

Later, he takes a swipe at the Twitter timeline :

As Twitter users follow more accounts, they may lose track of their favorites unless they use the relatively buried Lists feature. That may decrease their engagement, and discourage them from following more people. This in turn makes it harder for new users to gain an audience, feel like they’re being heard, and stick with Twitter.

Let’s come back to this in a bit.

Value – The short of it

I’ll pass this on from Twitter’s S1/A form. What Twitter is :

Twitter is a global platform for public self-expression and conversation in real time. By developing a fundamentally new way for people to create, distribute and discover content, we have democratized content creation and distribution, enabling any voice to echo around the world instantly and unfiltered.

Our platform is unique in its simplicity: Tweets are limited to 140 characters of text. This constraint makes it easy for anyone to quickly create, distribute and discover content that is consistent across our platform and optimized for mobile devices. As a result, Tweets drive a high velocity of information exchange that makes Twitter uniquely “live.” We aim to become an indispensable daily companion to live human experiences.

What the value is :

Public : Twitter is open to the world. Content on Twitter is broadly accessible to our users and unregistered visitors. All users can create Tweets and follow other users. In addition, because the public nature of Twitter allows content to travel virally on and off our properties to other websites and media, such as television and print, people can benefit from Twitter content even if they are not Twitter users or following the user that originally tweeted.

Real-Time : News breaks on Twitter. The combination of our tools, technology and format enables our users to quickly create and distribute content globally in real time with 140 keystrokes or the flash of a photo, and the click of a button. The ease with which our users can create content combined with our broad reach results in users often receiving content faster than other forms of media.

Conversational : Twitter is where users come to express themselves and interact with the world. Our users can interact on Twitter directly with other users, including people from around the world, as well as influential individuals and organizations. Importantly, these interactions can occur in public view, thereby creating an opportunity for all users to follow and participate in conversations on Twitter.

Distributed : Tweets go everywhere. The simple format of a Tweet, the public nature of content on Twitter and the ease of distribution off our properties allow media outlets to display Tweets on their online and offline properties, thereby extending the reach of Tweets beyond our properties. A 2013 study conducted by Arbitron Inc. and Edison Research found that 44% of Americans hear about Tweets through media channels other than Twitter almost every day.

Twitter offers a unique experience. Where Facebook and Google+ replicate, Twitter’s secret of success is in simplicity and a 140 character limit. Consumption of content is quick and easy on Twitter. It offers real time value in a way that I haven’t experienced on any other platform.

Oh and revenue is at $422M for the first 9 months of 2013 (compared to $205M for 2012’s same period).

Mr. Constine does end his blog with, “Mobile helped Twitter double its Q3 revenue from last year …” – Well, there’s that.

So is there a timeline problem – even a problem with buried lists on Twitter?

This in turn makes it harder for new users to gain an audience, feel like they’re being heard, and stick with Twitter.

A list is a curated group of Twitter users. You can create your own lists or subscribe to lists created by others. Viewing a list timeline will show you a stream of Tweets from only the users on that list. See :
Twitter Help Center | Using Twitter lists

The list feature is visible and accessible from the homepage of users at twitter.com. It’s right there on the left side or from the gear icon dropdown menu. 3rd party apps probably provide greater access to the list feature than the official Twitter app though. From the iPhone for example, one must click on the Me menu icon, then scroll down a bit to see Lists. With HootSuite, lists can be quickly added to one’s streams for future access and viewing.

However, does this result in lower engagement?

Personally, I don’t like going into Twitter with the idea of building audience. That, blow the trumpet approach for numbers is not my style. I follow accounts that provide useful news, tickle my tea bone, or my interests in web design, social media, user experience or more mundane topics. I tweet about such topics and include mundane items as well.

For me, it’s not about audience – it’s about sharing thoughts or views. The more personal, the better even. There’s always an audience but when we begin to think and act as if our Twitter follower count determines our success, then it shows up in the content we share plus contributes to possible frustration.

I think when we stop worrying about being heard and worry more about sharing ourselves or our story in personal ways, the Twitter experience becomes unmatched.

While some may see the value of Twitter immediately, it might take some time for others to experience that ah-ha moment.

Personally, I’ve experienced so much value in tweets, that it irks my tea bone when so called experts or savvy media types try to de-value the Twitter experience. Where Mr. Constine enjoys bashing on Twitter, I enjoy sharing how valuable a tweet is compared to other types of social media posts.

I won’t hold back from sharing my opinions on the negative aspects of certain Twitter product decisions (e.g. #bluelines), but this is Twitter’s hour. Tweets are here to stay.

If you’re still scratching your head about Twitter, I encourage you to spend some time with Twitter search. It’s amazing how much live and useful information can be found there.

But it’s only 140 characters!

I close with this quote :

Good things, when short, are twice as good.

Twitter’s not going anywhere.

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