An Ode to Twitter
The Blog Where I Profess My Undying Love for Twitter and Nothing You Say Will Ever Change My Mind
This is not a think piece. I mean, I thought about what I was about to write, but my capacity to think-piece and thought-lead is not large enough to warrant such a big word. These are merely my musings on the possible future of my favorite app: Twitter.
These are my musings as a conversation between myself and … myself—because I am a very important person with important musings and ideas that only I can unearth. Or maybe it’s because I wanted to add a different narrative style to the usual normal structure of my blog contributions.
Twitter’s simplicity and directness intrigued me as an aspiring copywriter.
Either way, I hope that you read on and that this is a useful look into the past, present, and possible future of my favorite “microblogging app turned news app turned live-streaming live-TV community” app. (Right? Wouldn’t that be cool?)
Love at First Tweet
Twitter, you say? But why would Twitter be your favorite app?
I fell in love with Twitter back in the dark days of the late 2000s. Long before Snap Inc. was an actual thing. Way before Medium was around, breaking news, barriers, and digital publishing relevance. Eons (possible use of hyperbole) before Insta Stories, Slack, Outbrain, and Grammarly were a thing, Twitter’s simplicity and directness intrigued me as an aspiring copywriter. I relished the quick, conversational, informal aspect of the UX. The UI was incredibly sparse and to the point, and the function of Twitter was one that I instantly connected with.
Then I started making connections.
Twitter Is and Has Always Been a Great Platform for Making Connections
But isn’t Twitter just a chat room or a place for people to talk about nonsensical, unimportant aspects of their daily lives?
I can credit my current role at this company in part to my use of Twitter. I met people on Twitter that I then met in real life and that through IRL networking laid the groundwork for my current place of employment.
It’s the one channel that rewards its users based on a higher frequency of publishing.
But not a lot of people have considered Twitter for this purpose. There are tons of vibrant communities of people on Twitter. Passionate higher-education peeps, content strategists from all over the globe, local community activists, and evangelists can all be found on this app.
There are hourly, daily, and weekly Twitter chats and live streams (Periscope integration) that further foster community and allow for networking and making new connections. All you have to do is find them and make an effort.
When you start seeing the value in using Twitter for this purpose (if that’s one of your goals), I dare say that you will also fall in love with this lovable scamp of a microblog.
Twitter Is Your Brand Megaphone, but Please Don’t Interrupt People by Yelling
But what about using Twitter for your organization, company, brand?
There are many things written about Twitter marketing. We wrote one a while back on its native features and how to optimize your content for the platform. We believe Twitter can be a good option for brands to use in their multichannel mix.
Of course, a blanket statement like this can be easily debunked because there are so many variables to consider. Objectives, goals, tactics, strategy, audience, content—once these parameters are defined, you should have a better understanding of whether or not Twitter is a good choice to include in your mix.
But when used the way it should be, the channel can be extremely effective. Especially as it relates to creating urgency and top-of-mind awareness for your brand’s products and services. It’s the one (mainstream) channel that rewards its users (higher engagement rates) based on a higher frequency of publishing (of course, there’s a ceiling to the number of daily tweets before your engagement could start decreasing).
There’s nothing worse than a brand that just keeps pushing promotional messages.
So if your brand’s capacity allows for it, test what frequency of tweeting is your sweet spot and commit to it. It’s amazing how fast and easy it can be to position your brand as a valued member of a niche community on Twitter.
Spam in 140 Characters
But higher frequency means more spammy crap and promos, right?
As with any marketing channel, make sure you follow the unwritten community rules, codes of conduct, and user experience of the channel. There’s nothing worse than a brand that just keeps pushing promotional messages. You’re not adding any value beyond the last tweet if this is the approach you decide to take. If it is, prepare to have your brand looked at as a commodity with only your price as the point of differentiation.
You can’t watch a television show anymore without seeing a hashtag.
On the flip side, if you make a concerted effort to share community content, engage with people (on the platform, not by sending them down a rabbit hole lined with toll-free numbers, emails, and website forms), and be a contributing member, you can derive some unexpected—and expected—brand clout and positive sentiment that can directly impact your brand’s bottom line. So just be cool. Be kind and helpful.
But why is Twitter in such dire straits?
Fast-forward a few years and I still hold this unqualified affinity for the platform. So it hurts me to read story after story about its demise. Editorial upon editorial about its broken courtships with potential suitors. Blog post after blog post about its inability to grow its user base. Think piece after think piece about what the platform needs to do in order to pivot and raise capital (cue additional venture capital lingo that my brain does not fully comprehend).
What I do know is that on any given day, Twitter is one of the more popular (from a user standpoint) online networking apps. Furthermore, its footprint on pop culture and entertainment is hard to dispute. You can’t watch a television show anymore without seeing a hashtag. This native feature has been so widely adopted by entertainment media that it’s commonplace and the new normal.
Reporters and journalists read tweets in real time. There are tickers with trending tweets. All this stuff points to a digital ecosystem that transcends Twitter’s user base. Its network is larger than just its native timeline. It’s grown beyond the confining walls of its own architecture. It’s grown too big to fail (at least I tell myself that).
And that’s why I still have faith in Twitter.
Future Twitter Equals Live TV All Day, Erry Day
But where does Twitter go from here?
Twitter can’t compete with Facebook. Nor can it compete with Instagram or Snapchat. Nor should it. Twitter should focus on building upon the current infrastructure that allows for easy live-streaming of video while also doubling down on live-TV content.
Live TV is the answer.
This is the big differentiator for me. Live-TV integration on Twitter is what could make Twitter great again. Not just hyperbole and empty rhetoric about things that don’t matter to its core audience. The challenge Twitter has always had is to be “sticky.” People sign up, try it, and don’t see the value in it. Well, I’m telling you right here that the value is in live-TV conversations. Twitter should take the second-screen approach and partner with a content producer that is established and start integrating live TV into daily Moments. This is the thing that could make Twitter work, make people stay longer, increase adoption rates, and appease a user base that is incredibly passionate.
Live TV is the answer. At least it’s an answer, and it’s mine. In summation, I think we gotta install microwave ovens, custom-kitchen deliveries. We gotta move these refrigerators, we gotta move these color TVs. Otherwise, it’s all money for nothing and Twitter’s gone.