Is Twitter dying? The social network that’s barely social

For a few marketers, like the team at Legendary Social Media, the word “social” still matters in social media. From the first days of Facebook, social networks were all about providing a platform for people to connect and communicate easily, online. Twitter, though, has lost its way.

First, let me clarify: Twitter isn’t a lost cause. There are still amazing, active communities of friends and strategic connections on Twitter. They exist, and they love the platform. For businesses using Twitter in their social marketing strategy, the platform can hold a lot of value. For some, not for all.

Is Twitter dying?

Before we answer that, here are some Twitter usage statistics:

  • The number of monthly active users on Twitter has grown from 30 million in 2010 to 320 million monthly active users in February 2016.
  • Since early 2015, the number of monthly active users has plateaued, even diminished.

Source: Statista

  • About 500 million tweets are sent out every day.
  • That’s 6,000 tweets per second.
  • The number of tweets per day grows by about 30% each year.

Source: Internetlivestats.com

Tom Webster authored a blog post in 2014 pointing out Twitter’s decline even then. In his article, he writes:

While Twitter’s origins were centered around “what is happening,” these newer, mobile networks are based around “what are you doing?”

Webster points out that Twitter doesn’t give us the opportunity to share our experiences the same way that networks like Facebook and Instagram do.

And on another note, despite implementing Twitter images for better visual marketing, Twitter still feels like a mainly text-based platform, whereas other networks have really adopted the visual marketing trend is a much more serious way.

The social part of social media is missing from Twitter

Have you been on Twitter lately? Here’s a challenge.

Tweet to a few local businesses or organization, maybe about an event they’re hosting. See how many reply to you.

Try sparking a conversation about something happening in your city or neighbourhood by using an appropriate hashtag. Here in Vancouver, I’d use something like #kitsilano or #yvrevents. How many people respond to you?

Chances are, the response you’ll get most often is a ‘like’ for your tweet. How rewarding is that, really? You’ve reached out to a business with a compliment, or helped them spread their news with a retweet and the thanks you receive is a like?

How hard is it to just tweet a “Thank you”?

The fact is, the number of Twitter users willing to have a real conversation on Twitter is diminishing. The social aspect of the social platform is petering out.

As a normal person who uses Twitter from time to time, it’s sad to see that businesses don’t use Twitter as a way to connect with real people (read: customers) anymore – not like they used to at least.

Maybe there are just too many companies/businesses on Twitter.

Maybe it’s the overuse of scheduling software like Hootsuite and TweetDeck. These tools allow businesses to have one-way “conversations.” They send out tweets, but never check for replies.

How to do Twitter the right way

Here are our tips for businesses to get it right with Twitter:

  • Treat Twitter like the social network it truly is.
  • Because Twitter is text-based, and its hashtags make it easy to follow things you’re interested in, having conversations on Twitter is fun and rewarding for businesses!
  • Start conversations. Ask questions, disseminate ideas.
  • Follow more real humans than other businesses.
  • Be available. Reply to tweets about you.
  • Thank people for retweeting your tweets – not with a like, but with a “Thank you.”
  • Share great content and news that your followers will care about.
  • Be gracious, friendly, and most importantly, social!

Think Twitter has lost its “social” status? Do you use Twitter? Tell us what you think in the comments section!

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