I remember when twitter was fun. It was circa 2010, the good old days.
When a timeline consisted of really random thoughts; a global stream of (often witty) consciousness.
Back in the days before people became brands and social media had a strategy.
And that’s the real kicker in all this.
Twitter is boring and we only have ourselves to blame.
It’s us, the user, who wanted to give our profiles a ‘purpose’.
It’s we who starting screening what we wrote, making sure it was on message or wouldn’t come back to bite us.
It’s us who got lazy with all our different social profiles.
It was we who linked our Facebook to Twitter although the words in a status update never fit in a tweet.
It’s us who autotweet our Instagrams although Twitter doesn’t show the picture.
We use tools to preschedule content instead of having conversations, we stopped thanking people for all their kind mentions.
Then we got greedy, wanting to rush relations.
We asked people to share content they may not have even read.
We sent people DM’s asking them to jump into our bed, to start relationships on Facebook, a whole other platform instead.
Here was me, on the first date. Following you on Twitter, wanting to see if we could be mates.
Wondering if we shared interests, the same sense of humour.
A judgement I’ll make over time, as and when you pop up in my timeline.
But then you’re there in my inbox, asking for further commitment.
You want me to ‘like’ you elsewhere when we’ve only just met.
(You probably wondered why I dumped you instead.)
Our timelines are too big. Full of people we followed in the hope they’d follow back.
People who asked us to follow them. Directly in our @ mentions. It felt rude not to.
We did it to win contests, for the chance to be retweeted. We gave no thought to whether we’d be interested in what they tweeted.
Well who’s laughing now? We created these streams full of self-promotional tweeters.
We can’t blame Twitter for this.
Twitter didn’t mess with the chronology of our timeline. (Or at least they hadn’t when I wrote this!)
They don’t make us pay for ‘promotions’ just so our followers can find us.
But if we are the ones who made the mess, perhaps we are the ones who can turn it around.
We made the site this size, gave it the success it has.
Hell, we even invented the hashtag.
We made the tweetups, we unite on twitter chats.
We support global campaigns, are reporters on the ground.
We made the good with the bad. We can turn this thing around.
So I challenge you, dear Twitter user, to please join me in this cause.
To fill Twitter with bad jokes as well as your random thoughts.
To report on big news along with the Sh*t Your Dad Says.
For brands to thank and engage with ALL fans regardless of Klout scores.
Let’s not ask other users to do things we’re not ready for.
If we want to retweet you, like you or leave you.
Rest assured, we’ll know how to find you.
*Yes I did try to keep these statements to 140 characters or less. I am a true Twitter geek, hence the passionate plea to save it!
** I also imagined the first line sung to the tune of Elton’s Crocodile Rock. ALL.WEEKEND.LONG.
*** Help me!
17 thoughts on “We Need To Talk About Twitter”
Yes it is not like it used to be however with the Australian not being delivered to home any more I scan the 140 characters for interesting social, economic and political commentaries. Just found an interesting tweet by @Richard Dawkins that got my attention. And I have been meaning to stop the Instagram to Twitter feed for ages since the images do not show any more.
Agree. Love Twitter as a news source. Headlines seem to become even more eye-catching when confined to 140 characters.
And I am the same as you with Instagram. I do it myself, completely forgetting I find it annoying when I see others do it in my feed. This post was definitely a reminder to myself as well as others. I’m trying hard to practise what I preach!!
This really hits home. I’ve only been running my blog for a few months, and I can completely see myself falling into several of the traps that you mention above already. I just don’t know how to avoid them. I thought I would really enjoy Twitter when I began blogging, but I have to admit that I’ve found it all a little bit frustrating, confusing and saddening so far. It seems so much more about politics and tactics that people talking to people. Most of all, I don’t understand how even the most interesting, kindest, intelligent voices are heard through the noise.
I can totally understand how Twitter has evolved into what it is today, but yes, it does seem almost exclusively self-promotional now. I think the only people that actually ‘succeed’ on Twitter nowadays are those that built up large followings before it became what it became. Does that make sense?
Brilliant, thoughtful and insightful post. Thank you! 🙂
Aw thanks Bryony although sad to hear that your experience of Twitter is so different compared to when I joined. Although I would love to see it return to simply the social site it used to be in all seriousness I am not sure how that will be achieved now that people have seen they can use it for promotional gain. Perhaps if we all try to strike more of a balance between sharing posts/links/whatever it is we are promoting and just being banterous it might level the field a bit more. I live in hope!
I’ve found myself leaning away from twitter more and more recently, it does kind of bore me now (which I hate to say because I’m a social media manager!). I just find other social networks much more interesting and engaging (such as Instagram). Great post! x
I love Instagram and find it inspiring on many levels but not good for conversations. The comments feel a bit stilted – I wonder if they can/will change that to make it feel more like a live chat. Interestingly Instagram is much bigger here in Oz than Twitter is, so I’ve had to up my game just by virtue of location!
Yes, yes, yes!! I confess I am rather late to the Twitter party, and I was thinking the same thing just the other day, although not nearly as eloquently as you put it lol. It has gotten a bit… boring. A platform based around self-promotion and sharing links that no one has time to click. Honestly, how can anyone have enough time to click on every fascinating headline and read it? Where Instagram took heat in the beginning for people only sharing photos of their food, Twitter has moved away from conversation and witty sayings to being solely used for marketing. I’ll join in that effort to being back the human element!
Thank you! I’m not sure if we’re fighting a losing battle here but unless we all try and inject a bit more fun into it I don’t see how people will continue using the site…
Naaaaaaaaaaaa nananana naaaaaaaaa
Thanks for putting Elton John in my head.
I agree Twitter has become so fake and auto-DMs asking me to also follow on Facebook do my head in and also guarantee I will not follow said user on Facebook!
On another note, I’m enjoying your social media commentary here and I’m looking forward to what else you’ve got to share.
(I forgot to add Girl Tweets World to my RSS feed, which is why I’m catching up on all your posts tonight.)
Hahaha I am enjoying your binge/commentary on the posts.
I’m trying really hard to practise what I preach now. It can be a time suck trying to be more natural/present but what’s the point otherwise? Here’s to putting the social back in social media!
I agree and I’m a culprit too! Maybe social media saps the joy out of us?! I think making sure you have plenty of time away from it is key to having something interesting to say when you do hang out there 🙂
That’s a really good point. I think often we push ourselves to say things just to be present rather than waiting till we have something of value to share.
Ps Very funny that we are both on each other’s blogs right now 🙂
Totally agree, the fun has been taken out of Twitter. There are a few reasons why people are put off posting more ‘out there’ or personal things.
Sometimes the humour doesn’t come across or the twitter moral police shout people down. Also people can unfollow so quickly if they’re not interested in your Olympics/Eurovision/travel chat tweets.
I completely understand the way humour could be taken the wrong way – and I’d be scared of offending some of the scarier trolls online! But it does make me a little sad to think people would withhold from chatting about things they enjoy such as TV shows or sports in case it puts people off. If people are going to unfollow so easily they are probably not the audience for you anyway..
I totally know what you mean. My favourite people to follow are the ones who write random thoughts or conversations they’ve overheard on the bus. I do love Twitter for some of the friendships I’ve made though, especially with the members of my online book club. I always look forward to our monthly chats, as I know we all say what we think and we always have a good laugh together.
This is so true. I’ve met so many great people through Twitter, which I why I think it is a great site we need to put a bit of effort into making social again.