The Trouble with Twitter

If you are using Medium, chances are good that you are also on Twitter. Am I right? Congratulations, you’re part of the technological elite, at least according to the analysts I read on twitter and hear on CNBC almost daily. What’s wrong with twitter? Not enough MAU’s (Monthly Average Users). only 300million, one fifth of Facebooks MAUs, or something. The reasons…there are many.

  1. My favorite is it’s too complicated. If Twitter is too complicated, then yes, you should stay with Facebook. Here’s the deal. Go to Twitter.com and setup an account, add an avatar (please) and then follow the friend who turned you on to twitter and finally convinced you to join the rest of the world. See who he or she is following and then add them. See their tweets added to your timeline in chronological order and then follow the ones you like. Rinse and repeat. Add your local news and weather, then national news, then sports, sci-fi or whatever your favorite diversion(s) happen to be. Sit back and engage. Or just sit back. If your really tech savvy and have a smartphone or iPad, then download the Twitter app. It’s simple, clean and uncluttered. Later you move up to Hootsuite or some of the big boy apps. Full disclosure…I still use the twitter app on my tablet.
  2. The timeline doesn’t make sense. Maybe I’m just used to it, but I think it’s just fine. I don’t use any fancy apps to jumble up my screen, tho I wish I did as all the power twitter users seem to. It’s pretty easy (at least to me) to scroll to the top and then read down to see what’s happened in the last minutes or hours since I last checked my timeline. Here’s an example of how to follow the timeline. A few years ago, I was working on an oilrig in North Dakota when I saw word of a shooting in Arizona. Details started to come in that Gabby Giffords had been shot and several people were dead. I followed her progress and details of the shooting as they came in from both professional reporters and people on the scene. Not all of it was true, but it was real time, and several minutes later CNN and the other news networks had the story. With Periscope (twitters real time video streaming app- but that’s 3rd year stuff, lets stick to baby steps for now) the coverage of citizen reporters would have been even more complete. To summarize, I start at the top of my timeline, the stuff that just happened 7 seconds ago or so, and scroll down, back in time to see what I’ve missed. Complicated? PS..Ms Giffords thankfully lived, but much of her potential was lost with that bullet. Her gay intern probably saved her life by holding her head in his lap.
  3. It’s not a Social Network. I heard an analyst on CNBC say this the other day and I’m still cleaning up the coffee I spit out across the room. If engaging with several hundred friends and strangers (who then become new virtual friends in some cases) while watching your favorite tv show (Breaking Bad in my case) or sporting event etc, etc… using the infamous #Hashtag, then yeah, he’s right, twitter is not really social. My wife, Lynne, used to run grass roots campaigns and joined twitter after watching it consume so much of my time and sparking so much conversation. She now tweets from several accounts depending on mood and subject matter. She has a home account in which she tweets everyday stuff dealing with Pinterest, autism and general household tips. She has a business account to tweet out pertinent info to our business. And she has a sports account in which she blasts out about her favorite sports teams, good and bad. From these, she has made many virtual and real friends. Her energy and enthusiasm led one Football players foundation to put her on the board and take over day-to-day operations while he plays. Recently, one of the members of her sports community unexpectedly passed away. They have set up a scholarship in his memory and are recieving donations from others in this mostly twitter community. CNBC has even reached out to her for their focus groups based almost entirely on her tweets to them. Wow, as I write this, I see how twitter is not really social.
  4. What is this hashtag I speak of? It’s basically just a way to search and find all tweets on a certain subject. Do a search for #PGAChampionship (with or without the hashtag) and you’ll see what people are saying about Tiger’s latest blowup, or the greatness of Jordan Spieth. You can also search for Tiger or Spieth alone and without the hashtag. It may take slightly longer for Twitter to aggregate all the tweets, but they’ll show up. One thing twitter could do better would be to have a more standardized way of organizing hashtags. Many tv shows have gone to even showing a hashtag ‘watermark’ during the show to show how you can join the main conversation. Is that too hard? Oh yeah, I wouldn’t even know about Medium if not for a twitter chat group (a virtual user group) called #FlipboardChat that I happened to see from my virtual social networking guru @Chevd80 and mentioned by several users in the chat including my new virtual mentor in all things Flipboard @Tporter2. Like all user groups I’ve attended in the past (Apple Users, Cisco Users, iPhone Users etc..) in person, this chat group has really ‘upped my game’, only without the need to put on pants (jk..mostly). BTW…Flipboard is really cool, check it out.

Finally, I pretty much abandoned Facebook many years ago. Saw alot of people wasting time *farming. I now use it for checking up on the neighborhood Facebook page to see what’s going on the neighborhood and our classifieds page. I do this a couple times a week. I’ll occasionally see what my extended family and friends are up to, but really nothing that can’t wait. Twitter is much more instantaneous. I’m an info junkie and like to know what’s happening now…like an explosion in China, the latest progress of the Kurds against ISIS, Trumps latest, or even a no-hitter in progress that I can flip over to. For me and others like me who like to stay informed, twitter is a lifestyle changer. If your content with Facebook, then bless you.

*Farmville — saw many underlings waste hours doing whatever this time waste was and maybe still is…I don’t know.