Welcome Back to Twitter! Don't Get Too Comfortable!!
I was one of the very early users of Twitter after receiving a private invitation from a friend, way before invitations to join were being sold on eBay. Like so many of us, I got hooked into the hype but soon after I realized there wasn't much of an incentive for sharing my life in 140 characters. Seven years later, after being out of the Twitterverse for a while, I decided to login to my Twitter account only to share a practical article with a few followers, something I should have done on Google+ instead. This of course triggered the "Welcome back to Twitter" email, which I found somewhat awakening. It had me question the value of being on Twitter in comparison to other Social Media platforms, such as Google Plus. No comparison actually but it is simply a question of how or where should I spend my limited time as designated to online social networking.
Here's what the email said:
"Take 2 minutes to make Twitter work better for you. We have one suggestion: follow more people. Yes, more. Following is how you build your home timeline. Building a great timeline is at the heart of making Twitter work. By building a timeline that reflects you and your interests, you'll see how quickly Twitter becomes an invaluable part of your life." Really… is that the best suggestion they could come up with "follow more people"?
In other words: Follow as many people as you can --> build your timeline so that we sustain a growing product --> naturally, you'll be addicted and our Twitterverse is forever expanding.
Where's the value for me, personally? What tangible value are we (the majority users) truly gaining by being on Twitter? You see, I've always understood success as input versus output. My observation has been that the level of input from majority of Tweeters contributing to the Twitterverse versus the output, is Inadequate, with the exception to the relatively few and famous.
I get the fact that there has been great stories on how Twitter affected change - political, brand awareness etc. Arguably, it isn't the platform that caused such change more so than critical mass of the user base, which would have benefited just as much using other platforms. All that was needed is the realization of the power behind social collaboration. So, maybe, thanks Twitter… we'll take it from here!
I mean, are we all finally convinced that critical mass trumps the need to demonstrate value for the end user? At least to me, that's what Twitter seems to believe judging by their lame attempt, or lack of, to bring real value for the majority of their user base. Obviously, they believe otherwise and I'm sure many would disagree with me. But really, the proposition of following more people to make Twitter work blatantly suggests a pyramid scheme at play. It seems like the more I follow, the more I benefit Twitter and potentially the top few at the peek of the followers pyramid... the more I share, the more I'm addicted and the more addicted I become, the bigger Twitter gets, at the expense of the majority of users, like myself. BTW, less than 21% of twitter users are actually active, which I believe is ~6% less than the year 2012. Feel free to look up the actual numbers.
Don't take me wrong. I am not looking to discredit Twitter, however, it is important to understand that there is close to zero value in being an average Tweeter, or another one of the 79-80%. I strongly believe that with Social Media you have to go BIG or GO HOME. I am convinced of this being more true with Twitter than any other social media platform, and that for the majority of users the opportunity to grow big with Twitter is NULL. Sorry, but I'm just not seeing it.
I believe in the past, present and future of Social Media, but I believe more in the value proposition - Google+ is a great example of this. Not only the quality of content shared on Google+ is better than that on Twitter, but also there is so much more to do with Google+ than just to follow updates, i.e. Communities, Hangouts, Circles, events, photos, short or long blog-like updates and much much more.
Prediction: I am starting to realize that Twitter, as we know it, will likely not play a useful role in the future of Social Media. Maybe that's just wishful thinking, however. Unless, they somehow deliver tangible value to the majority of their user base - a value proposition beyond "follow more people… build a timeline to make Twitter an invaluable part of your life", I am betting Google+ will overtake what mostly are un-loyal crowd of Twitter followers/users.
So, if that's all Twitter has to say or offer, I say thank-you for all that you've done but perhaps the time to pass that baton is coming. #googleplus #Twitter #socialmedia