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Is Twitter’s Impact Waning?

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I say NO… it’s evolving. The social landscape continues to shift, and Twitter is no exception. However, it’s still one of my favorite social platforms for several reasons:

  • It keeps me “in the know” with up to the minute new
  • For “on the go” people like me, the short format makes it easy to connect on the fly
  • I love the lists and stream
  • Most importantly it allows me, and brands I work with, to reach out and touch people… engage, interact and build relationships, at scale, with ease.
     

Twitter’s reach goes way beyond Twitter, beyond its signed-up users, and touches many more than its reach numbers demonstrate. In fact, a recent Bloomberg tech article stated that Twitter’s CEO, Dick Costolo, reported at the company’s first “Analysts Day” that 500 million people access Twitter to check out profiles or tweets each month without logging in.

Sure, it has slower user growth numbers than Facebook, but it’s really a different medium for a different audience. I don’t think you can lump them in the same basket. In fact, Tweets and Hashtags are posted in every form of media, and every TV show—something that doesn’t apply to Facebook. It’s the ultimate media outlet for breaking and real-time news. In my opinion it has become the “global town square,” yet people don’t need to be in the town square to hear its clamoring. With over 500 million tweets a day, news and conversation emanating from Twitter finds its way into daily conversations of the masses on an immense scale.

It’s a listening tool. It’s a conversation tool. It’s a connection and sharing tool. One can find a path into most communities via Twitter. In fact, smart brands should think of Twitter as the Swiss army knife of social. And if the rumblings from the company’s executives are any indication, the platform is slated to make it even easier for people to connect, organize their timelines and share content. I’m a bit excited to learn about the new things coming next year, including the ability to take, edit and share video in real time, and to share public tweets through private messages.

One of its greatest features, however, is still the Twitter list, yet many don’t take full advantage of it. In fact, I came across a blog post by Buffer last month that lists 23 ideas for using Twitter lists. You should check it out. No doubt about it, the power of a great Twitter list is immeasurable!

In just a few short years, Twitter has had a huge impact on our lives, from breaking news to influencing language and conversation. People are even talking in Hashtags (check out this hilarious Jimmy Fallon/Justin Timberlake video…), and use of the Twitter-born symbol has spread to many other social channels, and has great impact and power on Instagram. Do I think it will continue to have the same impact? Much depends on how the platform does or does not meet the expectations of its users. The one thing we can count on in the ever-shifting social landscape is change, so time will tell. However, I think the more important question is—how adept are we as individuals and brands in using social tools like Twitter to make connections and build relationships? The tools that continue to fill our needs in achieving Return on Reationship (#RonR) are the ones that will stick around. It’s up to us to make good use of them.

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