They say “I don’t understand Twitter”

There is a lot of noise out there about Twitter. Is it failing? Did it reach a crystal ceiling and user growth is simply not possible? Is its learning curve its biggest challenge? Bloggers, journalists, users and even people who have never used the blue bird icon tend to compare it with Facebook, with Instagram.

I think we can compare social networks only to some extent. ‘Cause each of them is fundamentally different, they serve different purposes, they seduce different people, they support different communication objectives for businesses.

I may be biased but, I mean, I consider it’s “easy” to run a social network whose content is people’s lives, where we spend time browsing our friends’ life through pictures, videos and phrases, or even our enemies’. Our human appetite for gossiping is frequently restless, visceral, morbid.

Content production in social networks such as Facebook and Instagram is “commoner”, it’s “vulgar”. Please, don’t get me wrong: I am a big admirer, for example, of Instagram’s simplicity, of its straight-forward raison d’être. But we need to admit that creating a lovable picture is way easier than writing an article on Medium or curating and sharing an article via Twitter. These social networks are less about picturing the rush of our lives, the moments of our present, and more about our thoughts and beliefs, our political preferences, our opinion about the world. The audience is not our friends, it is the rest.

Hey, I don’t mean you cannot share your political views on Facebook! But among the hundreds of things we share, politics or our job issues are not precisely the most common ones. And that’s fine: Facebook is not meant to be used that way.

Where do I want to go with these ideas? Well, Twitter will never be Facebook, or Instagram. Where I work people tend to classify social networks as “for business or not” (I’ll write about that in another post) using a “ light” understanding about them. They say “I don’t understand Twitter, that’s for teenagers, I prefer LinkedIn”.

LinkedIn recently hit 400 million users. But, honestly, based on my experience, tons of people sign up to LinkedIn because they have to, not because they want to. And a large number of users still think that having a relatively decent profile is all they can do in the network. That is to say Twitter will never be LinkedIn, it is simply not comparable.

I think the blue bird faces several challenges but the first one is clarifying what it is for. People don’t understand it, simply. Even if they do, they say “I don’t know what to say”. ‘Cause the type of content Twitter needs, that magical word in the social web, requires a different users involvement, a different users commitment. Let’s admit that, so we can start accepting its limits and imagining a different scenario for the network. It already made its way making 140 the most repeated number between 100 and 200. I think it can make a new way and find some clear light at the end of its foggy present.

I don’t if it’s fair to say Twitter misadventures started from the day it went public (but my blue bird supporter heart has secretly thought so time ago). Whatever the case, I bet for it every morning when I read the news or when I want to discover any trend. No, I don’t plan to abandon the blue bird any time soon.

Vive le blue bird!

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