Twitter Problem – Person Based

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Q: You’ve said that Twitter is the weakest of the main social media platforms due to its lack of features. Are there other limitations that you feel are going to drive Twitter into closure, or being taken over due to lack of interest and revenue?

A: There is one thing that comes to mind. Platforms tend to be set up to focus on people, or focus on “content topics” (there are other possibilities too). Neither is good or bad on its own. Twitter is set up so that you follow PEOPLE, rather than topics and they’ve tried to convince users to make use of hashtags (the # before a word) to designate tweets that share common topics. The hashtag convention is one that is informal, and so it will work to the extent that users use it properly. The notion behind it is that if you are talking about a topic, say socialmedia, if you include “#socialmedia” as the hashtag, people can search just for that and find the content posted by those using that tag.

Unfortunately hashtags are a bandaid, and Twitter still remains set up to track people one by one. That works really well for friends, celebrities, politicians and public figures since those interested in these people and everything they might do and say can follow them and know they can see everything the person tweets. It’s no surprise that the numbers suggest that the most popular stuff over time is connected to celebrity type people.

Now here’s the problem. It’s possible to make a living catering to the needs of those who are interested in celebrities, but if we are to be realistic, it’s much better to also make it easy for users with other things to do, and varied interests, to interact about those interests. Hashtags don’t work very well.

That’s why people looking, as an example, for professional discussion about a professional topic, go to LinkedIn, or some other platform that make sit simple and easy to interact on a CONTENT topic.

Without the ability to bring folks in to discuss TOPICS, the growth potential of Twitter is limited.

Q: Do you think Twitter will come up with a solution or if they are even interested?

A: I don’t know. The problem is that real discussion on serious topics is almost impossible to do in 140 characters, so even if they came up with other ways to make topic discussions simple and easy, they’d hit that limit, and it’s the 140 character limit that was a major “hook” to use to draw people to Twitter. I understand there is a significant market for gossip, and feeling connected to people — strangers, friends, and celebrities, but I can’t see Twitter breaking out of an almost exclusive people focus. Which is why I don’t see Twitter as viable without major change, and it has to do that fast!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Robert Bacal
Robert began his career as an educator and trainer at the age of twenty (which is over 30 years ago!), as a teaching assistant at Concordia University. Since then he as trained teachers for the college and high school level, taught at several universities and trained thousands of employees and managers in customer service, conflict management and performance appraisal and performance management skills.

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