As many of you may know, Facebook experienced a major outage on Friday. And, as people tend to do, we flocked to other social networks to talk about it.
In my case, I turned to Twitter to see what folks were saying.
And I have to tell you, Twitter was the most fun it has been in months.
People were hanging out, making jokes and actually having conversations on the platform. It felt like the early days of Twitter when people gathered on the platform to connect with others.
Let’s try not to panic while #Facebook is down. Should we gather up with flashlights & tell scary stories?
– Blue Kite Marketing (@flybluekite) August 1, 2014
Twitter used to be my favorite social network and I credit it with creating lasting friendships and some of my most important business connections.
But now, Twitter seems to be a shell of its former self.
We’re far more focused on building an audience instead of truly connecting with other people. And, as a result, people aren’t really present on Twitter anymore.
We schedule our messages, automate conversations and broadcast promotional content in hopes of getting noticed. And we only really talk when spoken to, like obedient children at the dinner table.
I’ve been feeling this way about Twitter for more than a year now. But, I’m certainly not alone.
A few months ago, The Atlantic stirred the pot with its controversial eulogy for Twitter, creating a debate about the future of the platform.
Although I don’t have a crystal ball about what the future of Twitter holds, I can say that the platform has definitely evolved from its early days.
Is it Twitter or is it us?
Despite the changes with Twitter itself, I can’t help but wonder — is it the platform or is it us that has truly changed?
As the world gets noisier, it gets harder to create real, meaningful connections. And, as our networks grow, it becomes more time consuming to have the same level of conversations we did when starting out in the social media space.
Not to mention, the social media space has become even more fragmented than it was a few years ago. Now, you don’t just have Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. You also have Pinterest, Instagram, Google Plus, Snapchat, Vine and more.
The competition for attention has become even greater. And, it means people have to make choices where to spend their time.
The harsh reality is that some networks will eventually fade away as a result. Or, at the very least, how people use the networks will evolve.
Should You Quit Twitter?
Does this mean you should abandon Twitter?
I still think Twitter still holds tremendous value and I don’t think the network is going away any time soon.
However, if we want to create more meaningful conversations and connections on Twitter, we need to shift our focus and get back to some of the tenets that made the platform great in the first place.
How to Breathe the Life Back into Twitter
If you want to make Twitter more interesting and valuable for you, here are some things that have always worked for me. I’m going to focus on these in the coming weeks to help make Twitter more meaningful and fun.
- Strike up conversation. Don’t just wait for people to come to you. If you want more engagement with your audience, focus on answering other people’s questions first. That’s the best way to create conversations. Always has been. Always will be.
- Prune and refine connections. If you’ve been following everyone who follows you, it might be time to clean up your stream. You don’t have to unfollow everyone to do it. Create lists to help you connect with key people.
- Go outside your niche. Twitter can feel stale if you only follow like-minded people within your line of work. Connect with people outside of your industry or with those who have similar hobbies as you. That can help Twitter become more meaningful and fun.
- Join a Twitter chat. Twitter chats are great ways to join conversations and meet new people. Instead of jumping on the same old chats, find ones that you’ve never participated in and give it a try.
Here is a comprehensive list of Twitter chats.
- Go offline. If you want to get more out of your Twitter connections, take the conversation offline. In the early days of Twitter, I distinctly remember the day Ike Pigott picked up the phone and called me out of the blue. We were having a conversation on Twitter and the next thing I know we were talking on the phone. Although you might not be able to do this with everyone, identify key contacts that you want to get to know better. Start with email and grow the relationship from there.
- Get personal. If you truly want to get to know people on Twitter, it helps to start by sharing more about yourself. Ditch the non-stop stream of self-promotion and articles. Instead, talk about your hobbies or even what you had for lunch. Those are great ways for people to get to know a little more about you as a person.
I’m not giving up on Twitter. But, I know that I get out of it what I put into it. If I want to make the platform better, it starts with me.
What do you think – has Twitter lost its luster for you? Or, do you still find value there?
What tips would you add for breathing life back into Twitter?