Reality Check On Twitter

TwitterIt’s time to stand up and call "bullshit" on people who say Twitter is replacing blogs.

Don’t get me wrong – I love Twitter. I use it more than any other social media tool, I have a lot of connections on there and I get a lot out of it. But it’s not replacing blogs (not yet, anyway).

Time to break out of the bubble, people. Let’s look at this with a bit more perspective.

Sure, many of us in the social media circle use Twitter to fire off quick messages that may remove our perceived need to blog about those topics. We’re in a tiny minority though. The vast majority of people online haven’t even heard of Twitter.

What’s more (let’s be honest) we self-censor a lot less on Twitter than we do on our blogs. That’s not a negative – Twitter’s format lets us share links and thoughts much more easily than blogs do. Still, that means I post links and thoughts on Twitter that I wouldn’t write about here.

Blogs have a massive number of participants, both in terms of owners and readers. I’m talking tens of millions of sites. Despite that, most people don’t even trust blogs yet. To them, blogs are still an emerging technology. Meanwhile, Twitter currently has around 940,000 users in total and many of those accounts are dormant.

Jeremy Pepper wrote a great post about some of the other topics that caused ripples in the social media community this week. He sums it up well:

If we continue to live in our social media worlds, we might be leading in some technology way, but we are also in danger of missing what is happening in the rest of the world – the real world – that might have more of an affect on our products, our clients, our jobs than we want to admit.

We’re way ahead of the curve here, and we need to remember that. Just because we’ve found a shiny new tool that works for us, it doesn’t mean the average person in the street is doing the same thing.

  • Ike

    Aye!

    Here’s my litmus test: Twitter is only for the hard-core, the “do-it-yourself” people of social media.

    If I absolutely had to, I could talk my mother through the procedure of configuring an email account. I could also talk her through subscribing to an RSS feed. She could instantly get value from those actions.

    Twitter? It’s a total roll-your-own environment. It’s all dependent on who you track and the subjects and diversity of topics you can tolerate. I can’t tell her how to get value from Twitter. It’s for the individual to discover.

    Twitter is less about the technology, and more about the community. And that’s why there’s such a relatively small pool ready to run with it and evangelize.

  • Amen, brother! Sing it from the roof tops. I’m continually mulling over the difference between what we inside the technology bubble believe to be true, effective, etc., and what the real world knows to be. On example is a recent social media/traditional online advertising effort I was a part of. The social media element drew some great attention, but the click-thru rate on the banner ads brought just as much, in fact a little more. (Weird circumstance, compelling banner ads, but still.) If only we could detach ourselves and see the world through the eyes of the consumer more, we’d all be better.

  • Totally true Dave, although I do think Twitter changes the way many people blog. Many short, sharp, pithy potential blogs of a sentence or two have probably migrated into Twitterland. Nothing wrong with this: new media channels that are worthwhile always change other related ones but they almost never kill them.

    While I have no doubt Twitter and microblogging will grow, blogs will be with us for the foreseeable future.

  • Great post Dave. I am a baby boomer that feels like a fish out of water sometimes when I speak to techies about their needs on line. But what I do know puts me head and shoulders above 95% of the people I see everyday. They have no NEED to blog so extensions of that like Twitter have no place in their world.

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