Twitter Ain’t Dead. Two Steps to Fix It, Jack
This is an open letter to Jack Dorsey. Jack, you have your work cut out for you. No one can argue that. Twitter is stagnant. Wall Street is pooping all over Twitter. People are jumping ship.
Wall Street alternates between pooping on someone and kissing their butt. I seem to remember them pooping on Steve Jobs too.
Jack, you aren’t Steve. That’s a good thing.
Twitter is stagnant?
Again, big whoop. Twitter has 320,000,000 active users.
Being active on Twitter is not the same as being active on LinkedIn. Tweeters tweet often. I might update Facebook a couple of times a week. I might comment on LinkedIn four, or five times a day, and post long-form twice a week. A slow day on Twitter is 20 tweets.
Yes, many, if not most, of us are dedicated users.
It’s easier to build a following on Twitter than anywhere else. Twitter also has a pretty good API. Those two points make Twitter the absolute best public platform to publicize content.
Didn’t you ever hear that content is king?
If so, wouldn’t the best place to publicize it be queen?
Right now, the Queen is smack dab stuck in an identity crisis.
These types of situations tend to be temporary.
Twitter is like a thirty-five-year-old woman. A woman who was just called, “Ma’am,” for the first time. She stands in her full mature beauty. Yet, she doesn’t quite see it that way.
She is at the height of her womanhood but mourns the loss of her girlishness. There’s an adjustment period. Soon, she will realize she is more attractive, more powerful, more desirable than ever.
In time, she will understand just how much more interesting she has become.
For right now, she’s just pissed off at being called, “Ma’am!”
Step 1 — Back to Your Roots, Plus a Little More
The origin of Twitter’s 140-character limit is due to texting (SMS protocol). SMS can handle 160 characters. Take off 20 for back-end stuff and you have a 140-character Tweet.
SMS is the holy grail for marketers and content creators. Text message open rates are light-years ahead of email or social media. There’s only one way to get better engagement rates than SMS. You need to grab someone by the shoulders and yell your message into their face.
That would be somewhat invasive, though.
So, Jack, include a text option on follows. I should be able to choose to allow someone to text me a link to his/her tweet — within certain limits.
Technically, it would be easy.
Logistically, not so much.
You need to protect against text-bombing. Mind you, just making it easy to cut texting rights would fix the issue. Include a quick-remove link. Text-Tweeters would think twice. Tweets are 140 characters. Texts are 160 characters. You have room.
Given the international playing field, text-tweet scheduling would be a must. I wouldn’t leave it to the Text-Tweeter. A Text-Tweeter should be able to specify a time to tweet-text (text-tweet?). Adjust broadcasts for time zones. If I say, tweet-text at noon that means noon for each time zone.
Nobody should get more than one text of a particular tweet. You would need an anti-plagiarism algorithm to recognize whether a tweet-text is a repeat.
I’d limit it to opt-in ads, major announcements, new content, etc, but, hey, that’s not my call.
Step 2 — The 10K Question
In two words, “Do it!” But, don’t just flip a switch.
Ten thousand characters is a helluva lot. That’s big enough for case studies. That’s big enough for smallish white papers. I’ve seen a few eBooks shorter than that.
So don’t just flip a switch. Incorporate a blogging platform.
You don’t need anything too fancy. A clean, flexible user interface would be fine.
Your buddy over at Medium has it right except for the way he treats images and comments. Images there are weird. Comments and engagement methods are next to non-existent. Bloggers/authors who don’t interact with their readers are missing the boat.
Nothing breeds engagement like engagement.
I wouldn’t bother with “featuring,” “showcasing,” or any crap like that.
By all means, make channels. Actually, no, don’t bother. Just create specific hashtags that auto-attached. Posts can have tags that correspond. Auto-cut any use of those hashtags in a tweet. They should be system added only.
Here’s an alternative to “featuring.” Rank posts by interaction as a ratio of followers. Call those, “Most Engaging Posts.”
I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to have a toggle to list posts by simple number of interactions.
Details, details, the devil is in the details.
Don’t underestimate the numbers.
I predict you will hit 500,000 monthly posts within the first year. You don’t need millions of publishers to do that. It’s sort of like crowd-sourcing. One independent blogger doesn’t amount to much. But, taken as a group, we kick the ass of any news agency you care to name.
Who provides LinkedIn with its content? It sure as hell isn’t the relative handful of Influencers. It’s about 150,000 professionals sharing their thoughts and ideas with each other.
If you build it they will come.
Never has such a large, productive group been so poised for flight. Never has such a large audience been so slandered.
So there you have it. So easily said.
Not so easily done.
You get it. I get it. The Unwashed Masses get it. You have access to 320,000,000 minds. Wall Street doesn’t get that.
Free those minds and they will drag you along. Then you can take all the poop Wall Street threw at you and serve it back up.
Use fine china and quality silverware.
They have their standards, you know.
Note: Base photo is from http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/227111