An explosive start that even surpassed Facebook’s stratospheric launch; highly-used by an incredibly engaged audience; simple, and free. What potential… spoiled.
Twitter has become a nearly useless tool, overrun by chatter and incoherent missives of daily nonsense, overt narcissism, and celebrity worship.
Cluttered with ads, celebrity Retweets, trolling venom, and nonsense about nonsense, Twitter is ineffectual, bootless, unless you’re a celebrity or have something hilarious to share. And forget about spelling or grammar, there’s no media that would so offend literacy champions. Marshall Mcluhan would struggle to interpret how such a media is so poorly massaged.
How trying and futile it is to cut through the useless chatter to deliver a message to what once was an engaged crowd. There was a time when I would Tweet to a mere audience of only 1000 to 2000, and receive dozens of Retweets. Now, with two to three times the followers, the average Tweet receives zero Retweets, and barely a notice from anyone. Each Tweet seemingly lost in the void of infotainment glut.
This is hardly new: Twitter’s growth has slowed, use amongst once core users has nose-dived, and some analysts have started to openly muse about its imminent death. This is nothing new, Derek Thompson, a contributing editor to The Atlantic, penned his column “What Good Is Twitter?” on the flagging effectiveness of Twitter nearly two years ago.
“For a lot of other people, though, Twitter has little to offer,” says Scientist Chad Orzel, in his column “Twitter Is Kind of Useless. “If you’re doing the kind of science that involves being in a lab turning knobs, Twitter is worse than useless. It’s not much use for getting questions answered without a critical mass of people who do the same kind of thing you do– if I want to know something about theoretical cosmology, I can tweet a question and get an answer, but if I have a question about my own field of AMO physics, I’m much better off sending an email. I could tweet a question, but I’m just going to end up emailing the relevant people eight hours later, after nobody responds on Twitter.
Orzel shared this missive nearly two years ago, when in fact Twitter still showed some semblance of relevance.
I have more than 3000 followers. My company, Prescient Digital Media, has 1000. We host a monthly webinar series on issues relating to intranets and digital workplaces, and we use Twitter to promote the webinar, which is free. I could rely on Twitter to secure dozens of registrations three years ago. Today, nothing. In tweeting our next webinar later this month, The Comcast NBCUniversal Digital Workplace case study webinar (Feb. 16), the webinar received zero registrations in the six hours following the tweets. Zero registrations.
In the first week of promoting the webinar, solely through this blog and LinkedIn, the webinar has 41 registrations. Email though continues to drive great engagement. On average, email alone will secure some 200-300 registrations. This webinar will be no different.
In fact, a McKinsey & Company study found that email marketing is 40 times as effective as Facebook and Twitter, combined.
A once fabulous communications tool has been rendered useless by marketing and celebrity. And for all of those who predicted that email was dead, get a life.