Some might say that the good days of Twitter are through. Once it was a leading social media network, but recently all the hype about Twitter dropped, mirroring the trend of the company’s stock price. Yet amidst the growing cynicism few people realize that Twitter offers a unique bouquet of features no other social network can match, no matter how hard they try.
Access to Celebrities’ Thoughts
A lot of celebrities across the world manage their Twitter accounts on their own, allowing their followers a much closer look into the privacy of their lives and, most importantly, that of their thoughts. Instagram may be the default place for posting pictures, but few expect those to come in hand with deep and meaningful comments. Twitter, on the other hand, is more about thinking and personal opinions that have to be invariably succinct to conform to the famous 140-character limit (which may still be Twitter’ trump card).
Interestingly, Twitter is enjoying a growing popularity among political and religious leaders. Donald Trump, the president of the United States, relies on tweeting to engage with his people and communicate his viewpoints that are both professional and personal. Barack Obama also tweeted, although most of the tweets coming from his account were composed by the members of his team, much like is the case with most other political leaders around the world.
Fast News is Better News
If you are a news junkie, you already know it: Twitter is the place to find out about… well, literally anything! That’s the main reason why journalists across the world are active on Twitter. Unlike Facebook where people talk predominantly about what happened in their lives, Twitter is the place where people talk about what happened around them: a process oiled by the use of hashtags, a coding element brought into the realm of everyday life that makes it easy to track down news information and find latest updates.
The hashtag, by the way, is a Twitter invention, although Facebook and, consequently, Instagram quickly adopted it as well seeking to improve user experience. But frankly, the hashtag doesn’t feel the same way when used outside Twitter. It’s all about conceptual use. Using hashtags is extremely valuable under the 140-character limit, and not only because it helps to save space. The hashtag allows to wrap your laconic statement into a concept that was insinuated within but never stated openly, leading to fewer misunderstandings (willing and unwilling) and more opportunities for a creative play.
Those social media platforms that have been around long enough evolved significantly over the last decade. Facebook of 2007 and Facebook of 2017 feel like two different things, and if you are a seasoned user you may remember how much fury ensued in 2008 when Facebook underwent a significant change of user interface. Fortunately, this never happened to Twitter. The simplicity and consistency of its UI is highly appealing to a social media novice, making such people more likely to stick with the intuitive product. Even more experienced users end up ignoring a significant portion of Facebook features because it’s not easy to get to them. Twitter, on the other hand, is very straightforward.
The same simplicity translates into Twitter’s ad interface as well. People who do social media marketing know Facebook can make your head boil when you need to figure out a feature you don’t use on a daily basis. Twitter is much easier in that respect as you can expect to figure things out without doing a few Google searches.
Social media networks such as Facebook are used by people to show off their lives: that’s why if you aren’t strategic about whose posts are allowed to show on your wall sooner or later you’re going to drown in pictures of babies and kittens. Twitter, on the other hand, is used to show off your thinking. It is rather uncommon for people to post “cute” pics on Twitter: no, they use it to shoot snarky comments and observations. That alone ensures a broad and loyal audience that is unwilling to give up its online space.
This leads to another important distinction. While Facebook is about maintaining friendships with people you already know and, possibly, using those to form knew connections, Twitter is about connecting with people you don’t know yet but who share your views and opinions. And those connections can be very meaningful, resulting in clusters of individuals sharing common ideas and coming up with ways to improve the world.
Back with Vengeance, or a Matter of Time
So, with all that in mind, can we say Twitter are prospering? As of right now, hardly so. Its stock is still trading low, and major issues keep pestering the company. But is Twitter going away? I think only those who don’t understand life’s cyclicality can truly believe that. While Twitter doom’s talk has been a trendy topic, the unique blend of value propositions offered by this social network is too cool to be either neglected or successfully imitated elsewhere. It seems much more likely that the company is taking a step back to recuperate and soar back up to the previous heights, and higher. The only question is when it’s going to happen, but we better get ready to ride the new wave before celebration of Twitter becomes as mainstream as that of Facebook is today.