If you know me, you know I used to be a Twitter devotee. And if you follow me on Twitter, you also know, not so much in the past year. Sure, I still use it on a daily basis, but much less than I used to use it. Apparently, I’m not the only one with Twitter fatigue, or maybe Twitter has just reached critical mass and anyone and everyone interested in either communicating in 140 characters or following other people’s Tweets has tapered off--whatever the reason, Twitter’s user growth is dwindling, as is its valuation
While I certainly can’t speak for everyone in the world, here are a few reasons I’ve really cooled on Twitter:
- Too mainstream--When I joined Twitter almost six years ago, it was a lot about novelty. If I had a dollar now for every training, presentation, blog post or just personal conversation trying to convince someone of the value of Twitter that I’ve done/had, I’d have a lot of dollars. Now, though, it’s like I’m a victim of my own and other Twitter enthusiast’s success in convincing the world that they should be using Twitter. It is EVERYWHERE. I listen to the news and every news snippet is followed by “And you can follow me on Twitter at ….” I try to tune out the sports TV shows that plays incessantly in my house and at the gym, but can’t help but noticing how Twitter is frequently mentioned--in ads, in reports, as the subject of reports, etc. Ditto the Today show and just about every other show. Now it’s more the exception than the rule to watch a show on TV that doesn’t include the hashtag in the bottom corner of the screen. I don’t know about you, but the mainstreaming of Twitter has just wrung a lot of the fun out of it for me.
- Too busy--Twitter is just too much for me to keep up with these days. Too many tweets, too much content, too many promoted tweets and stuff I don’t care about--it’s just overwhelming and feels like junk food to me in a lot of ways. Sure, there is a ton of useful stuff there still, but finding it takes time I don’t have, or at least don’t feel like spending weeding through thousands of tweets. Part of that could be controlled by me by unfollowing people or making lists, but again, that’s just time I don’t feel like spending weeding my Twitter garden. Seriously--at a current volume of 500 million tweets per day, who has time to weed through even their own tiny slice of that? You can keep up with the Twitter firehose for a while but eventually it just pulls you under--or at least it did me.
- Photos are easier--Why try to wordsmith your ideas down to 140 pithy characters when a photo can convey a thousand words? Maybe not my photos because I’m a terrible photographer, but still, I know that for me, the rise of visual social media has definitely meant I am drawn more to Instagram and Pinterest and less to Twitter. Maybe it’s because those streams are much more manageable for me because I’m newer to those platforms, or maybe I was just going to be over Twitter no matter what, but I definitely find myself using Instagram and Pinterest more than Twitter over the past year. And that’s coming from a person who never would have seen herself using Instagram--but it sucked me in, just as Twitter did nearly six years ago.
I was talking about Twitter for personal use for those three things, but here are two additional reasons why I think Twitter has also jumped the shark for businesses:
- Click-throughs are terrible and Pinterest drives more traffic. I fully admit this is anecdotal and based on my own personal blog traffic as well as what I’ve witnessed for several freelance clients as well as my current and former associations, but I have a hunch that based on the sheer volume on Twitter per #1 and #2 above, it’s likely something a lot of businesses and bloggers are seeing the same thing--the click-through rate for Twitter is terrible. Now I know this is not true across the board, as social sharing across all sites does improve SEO and drive web traffic. But Twitter specifically? At least in my handful of cases--although two of those are large organizations with decent Twitter followings--Twitter click-through has not been good for several years now. I will say that for this blog it is still the #1 social referrer, but my blog doesn’t get great traffic anyway, and Twitter is the main way I share posts. And for Chic n’ Geek, as well the other associations I currently manage or have managed in the past several years, Pinterest drives more traffic than Twitter.
- Twitter requires more and more time and effort to get results. Five years ago when I managed the Twitter account for an association, we Tweeted once per day to not overwhelm our followers’ feeds. These days, apparently the sky's the limit as far as how often you can Tweet without alienating your followers (I personally think this is not exactly true, but I do see brands thinking that something like once per hour or at least five times a day is what it takes to succeed on Twitter, at least if you go by job postings for social media manager or community manager positions, where “Tweeting hourly” or “Drafting 10-20 Tweets per day” are things I frequently see). The bottom line is that because Twitter is so crowded and there’s so much competition for eyeballs and people are more inclined to just retweet without clicking/reading, it is only going to become more time-consuming to get results from Twitter. At some point brands are going to start asking, why bother?
What are you seeing? Is Twitter still awesome for your business or do you agree that it’s driving less traffic and click-through rates are lower now than they were several years ago?