Standing in a room shouting: Rethinking Twitter

Meta! A Tweet embedded in a tweet as a blog post about a blog post.

Meta! A Tweet embedded in a tweet as a blog post about a blog post.

The other day, we were talking about social media, and especially about Twitter. And from my experience with Twitter so far, I remarked that Twitter is a lot like a bunch of people standing in a room shouting.

It’s a marketing tool, I suppose. I certainly use it that way, like most blogs, and like my professor recommended: tweet each of your blog posts. But the more people you follow, the more that reading Twitter is an insurmountable task. I looked away from Twitter while writing these first two short paragraphs: 7 new tweets.

I am finding that Twitter is not particularly a good place or way to read what people are writing and putting out there. Which begs the question, how should tweets be read?

What good does Twitter do us?

THE TWITTER SUPER-FOLLOWER

Notice that the followers and following are very close to one another... Very interesting...

Notice that the followers and following are very close to one another… Very interesting…

For instance, and not to disrespect any of my followers, but many people on Twitter seem to be hunting people out and following them so that they will be followed back. My evidence for this is when you see a person who has about as many followers as they have people they are following. Often, the more successful seeming ones have tens of thousands of each of these.

Okay, I’m following 118 accounts right now, and in a few moments I had 7 posts… multiply that by ten… nope, not reasonable to keep up with that.

This is a total example of Twitter as marketing and advertising, and not as a reading platform. Though I am sure if you mentioned or interacted with a super-follower, they would reply or re-tweet you… increasing their presence.

THE HASHTAGS

Alright, as an information science student, I am fascinated by hashtags. They are an invented method of adding meta-data to your incredibly short data.

#savealexis But wait, that's not the photo I was trying to share...

#savealexis But wait, that’s not the photo I was trying to share…

However, when I see some of the currently trending items, I think of adding something with that hashtag, not reading what others have said about it. So again, this does not generate reading, but only more content. And when someone tries to push an item (like @Castle_ABC‘s recent #savealexis hashtag), how much does it really generate new thought? Or just more marketing? I mention this one because I participated (with my other Twitter – @compgeeksdavid), and tweeted from ABC’s site, and everything. However, the whole campaign pissed me off a little – because the hashtag itself is a spoiler for the two-parter they just finished up last night.

Oh, whoops, SPOILERS for Castle.

My favorite thing on Twitter might just be seeing what crazy hashtags others have come up with, and it’s one of my favorite parts of tweeting as well. But these are also fairly useless as meta-data, because if no one else uses them, they’re not helpful as keywords.

Fun with hashtags, and meta observations about the blog, AND learning about how Twitter works with the blog. Sold!

Fun with hashtags, and meta observations about the blog, AND learning about how Twitter works with the blog. Sold!

SO IF IT’S NOT A READER…

From using it, watching it a bit, I have found that Twitter is really not about reading. It’s about marketing and presence. If you want to actually be read, I think that having Twitter feeds on your blog or Tumblr (I have both) is one way to actually have them read. You can also feed them into Facebook; I’ve been contemplating this. But if I am duplicating my marketing – by posting on both the Facebook page and on Twitter – then that would double up.

So I’m rethinking Twitter use. If the only place it is being read is on my blog itself, then it does not actually need to market the blog. From our stats, we can see that no one is actually clicking into our blog from our Twitter accounts. Instead, it is a place to share short pieces from around the community: to post about good blog posts, or share pictures and other news and information.

Think I’m wrong? Then “Follow” me on Twitter! Think I’m right? Then “Follow” me on WordPress 😉

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About CompGeeksDavid
Co-founder, editor, podcaster, web comicer, forum moderator, and writer for Comparative Geeks. Father, husband, geek, nerd, gamer, librarian, Christian, Libertarian, Science Fiction philosopher, and probably a number of other descriptors.

3 Responses to Standing in a room shouting: Rethinking Twitter

  1. I’d like to share what I’ve discovered so far. Out of my 164 email contents, only one had a Twitter account. At my husband’s work (a technology company) he has yet to find anyone using Twitter. My college son and high school daughter (both into gaming and sf) use Twitter only to receive updates on new releases and announcements.

    It’s a place for immediate, time-related announcements: meet me at so and so restaurant, I’m at this convention and it’s awesome, coupon available for the next hour, etc… I also think it’s easier if you are an established company with a product that is desired or a celebrity.

    Twitter has a place in the marketing plan but it isn’t the all that.

    Like

    • Agreed! I kind of like how I can work it into the side of a WordPress or Tumblr blog, but I wonder if anyone even reads it there or if it is clutter?

      I have stopped advertising my blog posts on Twitter, though, because that at least I did know the stats for: People were not making their way from Twitter to the blog.

      Like

      • I’m new and still trying to figure out how I will use Twitter for myself. One angle for me is the local one as I want to connect with others in my community. This gives me an automatic hashtag I’ll want to use on those posts #sgf for example.

        One thing to consider is social media hyperlinks will be considered by Google in ranking your website. So if you have links at your Twitter to your blog posts you are building those links.

        JMO the internet is for amusement or information. Posts have to fulfill those needs or people won’t visit, whether that is through Twitter or Facebook or Websites etc…

        Like

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