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Twitter: Is Anyone Talking There Anymore?

I love Twitter. I really do.

But today’s Twitter is not what I fell in love with back when I joined in 2007.

Yes… last month was my eighth anniversary on Twitter. And things have changed.

Twitter, for me, used to be a great way to connect with people, one-on-one… have conversations, learn and share.

But it’s different now.

Recently, social media guy Gary Vaynerchuck said that Twitter will die if it doesn’t fix it’s ‘noise’ problem.

From an article at VentureBeat.com:

Juxtaposing the Twitter of “3-5 years ago” to today, Vaynerchuk noted that users once paid a lot more attention to what was being said on Twitter in general, and when they themselves tweeted, more people paid attention to them too. In the intervening years, he reckons, Twitter has “become a massive firehose.”

While twitter definitely resembles a firehose these days, I tend to agree more with Mack Collier.  Mack feels that Twitter’s ‘noise’ isn’t the problem, but rather it’s lack of ‘conversation’.  According to Mack:

The beauty of Twitter in those early days was that it was an incredible discovery tool.  You could meet new people seamlessly, and you could expand your network (personal or professional) all at the same time via simply chatting with people on Twitter.  It was a huge chat room open to everyone, 140 characters at a time.

Collier then goes on to his theory as to why Twitter isn’t the same:

More and more, Twitter has become a content stream where it used to be a conversation stream.  It’s not about interactions and discussions, now it’s about sharing links.  The way I use Twitter has completely changed in the last few years.  I used to use Twitter as a networking tool, I’d go there, say hi to a few friends, and over the course of a couple hours I’d reconnect and catch up with friends, I’d be introduced to some new ones, maybe even grab a work lead or two.

Today, the primary way I use Twitter is as a content stream.  Every day I send out more links to my own content than I would in a month in 2009.  The type of engagement when from conversations to clicks and RTs.  And we all changed our behavior as a result.  At least those of us that stayed did.  The result is that there’s more ‘stuff’ on Twitter and none of it is getting the eyeballs or engagement that it once did.

That’s exactly how I feel.

I have nearly 18,000 followers on Twitter.  But I had far more conversation and engagement when I had 2,000 followers.

Sure… part of it is me. I’m not nearly as intentional at using Twitter as  a connection tool as I was in the early days. But the number of people that read anything I write on Twitter (estimated at between 1-2% of my followers) is smaller than ever.

It’s hard to connect on Twitter these days… at least with conversations.  That war, unfortunately, is being won (and big time) by Facebook right now.

What does this mean as far as ministry implications?

I think for many of us, it means a slow migration to Facebook or something else.  Sure… we’ll still keep our presence on Twitter… but we’ll also pour into Facebook and always keep our eye out for new ways to communicate socially.

Your thoughts?

Todd

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