I wish I had a Facebook fan for every person who told me they didn’t understand Twitter.
Twitter has gotten a lot of attention because of its early adopters: food trucks, celebrities, polical activists and other news-makers. Now brands are all over the service.
The only people who don’t use Twitter are people I know.
The few friends of mine who use it regularly are people I know from journalism school (more on this later). No one else seems to see the point. ‘What?’ you say. The first users of Facebook aren’t hip to the new social network?
No — because Twitter isn’t a social network.
Sure, you can use it to connect with friends, but it’s a pretty awful platform for it. (Conversations aren’t threaded; profile info is limited to your name, location and 140 characters; direct messages notoriously become public, etc.)
In reality, Twitter is a microblogging platform.
This, of course, only makes sense if you understand blogging. Blogs are for people passionate about a particular subject — food, parenting, tech, politics, advertising, celebrity gossip, knitting, you name it. The popular misconception about blogs is that they are online accounts of one’s life. This is a problem on Twitter as well.
It is usually more rewarding to read a stranger’s blog about a topic you care about than to read a personal blog written by someone you know, unless your friend is a brilliant or hilarious writer. Same with Twitter.
Unfortunately, most people I know would describe Twitter as ‘like your Facebook status but it has to be 140 characters.’ Hard to see the appeal in that. My friends from journalism school, however, seem to understand Twitter as the microblogging service it is, and they are drawn to it because they are avid consumers and sharers of information.
In short, I don’t see Twitter ever reaching a billion users like its founder thinks it will. Twitter is currently an important part of what I do as a social media coordinator and community manager for brands, but it is much harder to find value in and and is much more easily replaced than Facebook.
And I’m not just saying that because I love Mark Zuckerberg.