Twitter’s wings have been clipped

I’ve invested so much time on Twitter I’d feel lost without it. I started tweeting in 2009 and already felt I had missed the boat and was a late adopter! I chose a stupid handle @supposeiam back then in an attempt to sound laconic and ironic: ‘suppose I am on Twitter.’ I tweeted. I just didn’t have the heart to change this identity when I started using my account  for business. Luckily my name is evident these days too.

How sexy is Twitter compared to some of the newer platforms?

But, and this is a very big but, people are starting their social media journeys elsewhere. How sexy is Twitter compared to some of the newer platforms such as Instagram,Vine, Blab or Pinterest? It seems incredible to be talking about Twitter in anything other than glowing terms but……. There’s something wrong and the old timer is not keeping up with other platforms that have joined the track and have already started to lap the Twitter car. Why is that happening?

Reasons why Twitter is losing the race right now

Their mission statement is:  To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers

But what has really changed  since the early days? OK we now have a little heart to show we ‘love’ a post but really? Where is the truly innovative development? Think about it. If you were to join today you would most likely feel like you’d walked into a club. You may have an invite but do you know anyone? Do you feel  afraid to say anything in case someone says ‘Sshhh’.

  • How user friendly is Twitter for newbies?
  • Where do you find content you want to read or matters to you?
  • How many suggestions are you given?
  • How do you start creating or being part of a community?
  • When can you expect anyone to actually engage with you?
  • How do you use lists?
  • What’s the etiquette of direct messaging someone?
  • Should you just use Twitter for news, grab the link and share and comment elsewhere?
  • What do you do when people simply ignore you? Start writing in capitals?

Twitter just doesn’t feel user friendly at times

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These might be a rash of questions but they all need answers and Twitter just isn’t very user friendly. It’s not very innovative either. Is that a surprise when developers have had their toys confiscated in the past? ‘If you don’t want us we’ll go elsewhere’ they said. Who can blame them?

So, what’s the solution? Is there one?

My advice is that Twitter honestly takes time and there’s no quick fix. Anyone that fell foul of the followers and following ratio will know just how bloody frustrating that was for ordinary users. Surely someone could have checked before slamming a halt to growth?

Twitter needs a granular approach and attention to detail

In my opinion it takes a really granular approach to ensure your community is exactly the right type of community. Careful choice means they will be pleased to hear from you and appreciate what you share. By the same token you will be spoiled for choice when you see what your community discovers and posts. You will want to comment. They will be personable and appreciate your shares. They abandon generic tweets and actually chat about what’s happening in your niche. Hell, you might even end up collaborating with other tweeps in your community and have real conversations that end up as emails, Skype calls, Blabs and all manner of collaborative platforms. Guess what, they even use your name as if it matters! Shock horror, drama probe!

Have a Moment on Twitter

Predictions for 2016 suggest that this year Twitter may well start a separate experience that will function actually outside of the feed itself. Moments is the platform’s response to potential oblivion. This helps them highlight great content that usually simply falls off the conveyor belt like sushi on a time limit. Does that mean that the famous feed will change? Will the thing we all loved in the first place be revamped? Can we hold on? Or should we really embrace changes that reflect the diversity and sheer numbers of users?

Still I can’t be too harsh. Photo posting on Twitter has become easier. Goodness, I even remember when there were no photos. I also remember lists of people actually on line at any one time. I also remember when DM’s were limited to 140 characters too and you would be forced to send 5 or 6 messages to say anything of note.

So, with Moments (sounds like something you should eat covered in chocolate) and auto playing videos we should have patience. But if I wasn’t committed to Twitter would I still be if I discovered it today? Erm…..maybe it should try the ‘upgrade’ meme itself!

Vivienne Neale is a social media commentator, manager, strategist and lead tutor at the SoMe Academy. Catch up with her outspoken posts in What I Think!

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