Confused by TwitterConfused by Twitter?

Having been a regular Twitter user since 2009, it’s easy for me now to understand how Twitter works, or perhaps better, how it doesn’t work. But for those who are new to Twitter, I can see that little has changed since 2009, when it took me four tries, and a few months of frustration before I stubbornly began to comprehend how it worked. I was totally confused by Twitter for months in the beginning.

Few people though probably have the time or patience that I had back then to spend on trying to understand how Twitter works now. And if and when they do, it is becoming clear that the fall off rate is then very high.

This article in the Business Insider illustrates the problem with some startling statistics.

Of Twitter’s 284 million users, 24 million are just machines — apps or pieces of software — that ping Twitter’s platform automatically.

741 million people have opened a Twitter account and then abandoned it, and that a majority of Twitter users don’t tweet in any given month.

And now it would seem that overall growth in Twitter users is falling away. From the New York Times regarding Twitter’s stagnation.

288 million regular users on its platform at the end of 2014, an addition of only four million people from the previous quarter and roughly one-fifth the number who visit Facebook on a monthly basis.

From my own viewpoint, I can clearly see that every month a large and increasing number of my followers on Twitter become inactive. My definition of inactive is not the same as Twitter’s however, as I class an account which hasn’t posted a Tweet in 30 days as inactive.

At the same time though, I gain new followers on my Twitter account. With a large account of over 85,000 followers, I gain a lot of new followers every day, but with the drop-off rate and the speed in which new accounts become inactive, my number of real and active followers is probably only remaining steady at best.

This churn of new Twitter users replacing those who have given up on Twitter is more than likely one of the reasons why there are 24 million automated accounts on Twitter. Why bother interacting and communicating, when the drop-off rate is so high. Simply bang out the same promotional material to the new users, and hope to make a couple of sales before they become inactive. Rinse and repeat.

But back to my original question. Are you confused by Twitter? The answer may be that you have a false expectation. If you are expecting interaction, conversation, exchanges of views or any other social benefit from Twitter, you are on the wrong platform. Go directly to Facebook.

Twitter is in my view, something akin to advertising billboards lining a highway. Unless you have something to flog, there’s probably little reason to Tweet. And if you don’t want to buy anything, there may be little reason to read.

For Twitter to succeed, it really needs to be less confusing and define what it is, and then tell the world. For now though, I don’t think it really knows itself, so many new users who are confused by Twitter, give up in frustration.

Are You Confused By Twitter?
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