Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Is Twitter Loosing its Relevancy?

twitter-birdHow many of you still have a Twitter account?  Of you, how many of you use it?  Of those that use it, do you use it as a means to actually communicate with friends, or as a simple status updater to help tie in your various social network profiles?  If you use it to just update your status on Facebook and Google Buzz, then what is the point?  How about your Check-in networks, like Foursquare?  Most of these various websites tie into Facebook and can post without Twitter in the middle.  Honestly, besides giving users like myself the ability to freely and easily keep everyone updated on new articles, what good is it?  Any ideas?

Twitter has already proven itself useful to help share bits of information amongst circles of friends.  Before everyone got into Smartphones, SMS and MMS was the only real way to share status updates while on the go.  Believe it or not, this was literally just a couple of years ago.  Twitter comes along and makes it amazingly easy to share what is on your mind without having to do anything majorly special.  And if you wanted to comment on a friends status, just slap in a @ before their username, and there ya go!  The relevancy of this today, however, has dropped.  Facebook has superior mobile integration between smartphones and SMS/MMS now.  Twitter just FINALLY jumped into the game of offering built in photo services, which not every app developer has integrated yet.  Facebook makes it a bit easier, and has always been integrated.  Google has been getting more and more competitive with its services, and especially now with the soon to be public Google+ service.

Thanks to its ability to quickly post status updates, it has become a relevant way to share breaking news.  This has been evident in the last couple of years with events such as the massive quakes in Cuba, and the more recent government coupe in Egypt.  Many celebrities use it to post updates on their current lives and events, as well.  Various news outlets use it to help scoop competition.  This is great when they need to get something out to get the readers attention, even when an article, or video, hasn’t been posted yet.

Honestly, beyond these two, there aren’t really much more.  The first “idea” really isn’t all that substantial as the paragraph went on to tear itself apart.  Services like Google’s Google+ Project, and Facebook have really tapped into what Twitter was great at doing.  On top of that, Twitter really hasn’t evolved much since its inception.  There are HUNDREDS of celebrities on Twitter now, each sharing their almost pointless banter to help solidify their popularity, even when they aren’t really doing much.

As far as giving companies that used to use those “Third Party Premium Content” providers that charged $9.99 a month for silly text updates, Twitter gave them a lucrative alternative.  They had more control over what was put out, and a much larger viewer base.  This also gave the average user the same ability to keep friends and family updated of new updates to their blogs without having to email everyone.

However, again, going back to alternatives.  Twitter is loosing its relevancy to the goliath social network that is the book of face.  Facebook allows a company or business to keep users that “like” their product or service up to date via their Facebook “Pages”.  A tool that has proven exceptionally lucrative when it comes to marketing and advertising.  In a lot of ways, Facebook Pages has given the small business owners equal footing with the big companies.  Twitter, still allows this, but still doesn’t offer the face time value a Page offers.

In the article I wrote “What Could Make Twitter Even Better?”, I discussed the need for integrated URL shortening, photo sharing, and video sharing.  Twitter has two of the three integrated directly into their services now.  However, it could be a case of being too late.  Twitter needs to find a way to be more relevant to its average user base.  Find something that makes it exciting and useful again.

To stay relevant, Twitter needs to start bringing in major changes.  Look at the playing field, and find out what is working.  Start integrating it with the already existing services.  If not, then get ready.  Facebook isn’t loosing any steam, and Google+ has a LOT of major promise.

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