Twitter Is Dying!! (No it’s Not)

Twitter Is Dying!! (No it’s Not)

A recent article in The Atlantic proclaimed that Twitter is dying (Eulogy for Twitter), but The Atlantic is dead wrong and here’s why.

Twitter used to be a sort of surrogate newsroom/barroom where you could organize around ideas with people whose opinions you wanted to assess. Maybe you wouldn’t agree with everybody, but that was part of the fun. But at some point Twitter narratives started to look the same. The crowd became predictable, and not in a good way. Too much of Twitter was cruel and petty and fake. Everything we know from experience about social publishing platforms—about any publishing platforms—is that they change. And it can be hard to track the interplay between design changes and behavioral ones. In other words, did Twitter change Twitter, or did we?

twitter is dyingAuthors Adrienne LaFrance and Robinson Meyer claim, “Twitter is entering its twilight,” even though more people are using Twitter than ever.  And they offer no evidence to support their hypothesis. “A lot of this argument comes down to what we feel,” they write. “Communities can’t be fully measured by how many people are in them.  So as we suss out cultural changes, relying on first-hand experience is a first step.”

In other words, “Twitter is dying because we say it’s dying.”

Here’s our sense of it: LaFrance and Meyer just don’t get it. They expect Twitter to be some universal social communion where relationships, networks, and communities are sown, grown, and harvested, nurturing everyone who uses it.

And Twitter does provide those things, if only for those who grasp that all social media platforms are not born equal.

“Twitter is not Facebook or LinkedIn or YouTube,” posits Bill Sheridan at the MACPA blog.

“It is its own unique animal, one that rewards value, generosity, thought leadership and, above all, brevity.”

“It also punishes greed and narcissism. LaFrance and Meyer seem to want Twitter to entertain and inform them. They don’t understand that, in order for that to happen, they must first entertain and inform.”

If used optimally, here’s how we (and Bill Sheridan describe Twitter:

It’s a social sifter. “Thinking about information overload isn’t accurately describing the problem,” New York University professor Clay Shirky once said. “Thinking about filter failure is.” Twitter and other social media are the perfect social sieves.  If we follow the correct people, they’ll provide the information we find valuable — and let’s just forget the rest of the noise that’s being floated there.

It’s a broadcasting device. Owing to Twitter, we more increased value to more people’s existence, and we do it more rapidly than ever before. Doing so builds our brands, turns us into thought leaders, and makes the world a more intelligent place in the process.

It’s a listening proxy. People are “out there” are talking about us even right now.  For the first time we have the ability to hear and reply to those conversations. Twitter allows us to listen to what others are saying about us.

It’s a network facilitator. We can connect to more people than ever before, thanks to social media devices like Twitter. We’ll never know them all, but we now enjoy have the advantage to provide increased value to their lives — and to absorb knowledge from them in return. Priceless, no?

And finally, it’s a learning tool. It has been said that the most important skill going forward is the ability to learn new knowledge and skills. If we follow the right people on Twitter, we’ll learn the right things — things that will add value to our personal and professional lives. In an age of constant change and chaos, nothing is more critial.

“Used in many ways, Twitter is more alive — more important — than ever. Apparently, critics like LaFrance and Meyer aren’t using it in these ways,” concludes MACPA’s Sheridan.

We wholeheartedly concur!

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