Are you too Twitter-obsessed in your social media approach?

Twitter’s role as a Magic 8 Ball for our shared culture is unrivaled, and it has almost single-handedly ushered in the era of real-time search and social customer relationship management.

But Twitter is the online equivalent of HBO – important more because of who uses it and the media’s infatuation with it, rather than the actual size and impact of its audience.

Don’t get me wrong. I advocate participating in Twitter, and I’ve certainly grown my own audience via that channel.  Twitter indeed should be part of almost every company’s social media tool kit. (See the great post here on how to methodically grow a Twitter following.)

However, Twitter alone does not constitute social media, and you’d think it does given all the disproportionate attention being paid to it at conferences and in trade publications.  Let me provide seven reasons why you shouldn’t focus solely on Twitter…

As an aside, I presented a half-day workshop at the Email Evolution Conference on social media strategy (slides here) recently with DJ Waldow and Mike Corak, and the majority of the questions were about Twitter. That got me thinking that perhaps social media types aren’t fully recognizing Twitter’s limitations?

So, fully expecting each of you to tell me I’m wrong in the comments, here are 7 reasons why Twitter is not the Valhalla of social media:

#1: Growth Is Slowing

The true size of the Twitter audience is a bit tricky to pin down because 55% of its users access Twitter via third-party and mobile applications. But new data from shows a clear stagnation in Twitter’s runaway growth.

Has Twitter Peaked?

Has Twitter Peaked?

According to these numbers, the audience using Twitter actually declined from August to December 2009 (during the same period, Facebook went from 250 million to 350 million members).

#2: Young People Don’t Use It

Today’s marketing coordinator is tomorrow’s CMO, and younger Americans don’t embrace Twitter. A new Pew Research study shows only 8% of U.S. teens using Twitter, compared to 66% engaged in texting. Do young people not appreciate the m:any-to-many nature of Twitter, preferring the one-to-one paradigm of text messaging?

Regardless of the reason, as the current teen population ages, it threatens Twitter’s preeminence unless adoption rates soar.

#3: New Features Aren’t Being Used

Last Fall, Twitter rolled out the option for users to “tag” their location onto Tweets, to add geographical context. In true Twitter fashion, it wasn’t “rolled out” per se, it just appeared as part of the API that third parties access. Since then, .023% of all Tweets include location data, according to Sysomos. Not an overwhelming participation rate.

Twitter lists, while useful for categorizing people to follow, haven’t really taken off either. Nor has the new, integrated retweet capability.  With each new release of features being met with tepid response, Twitter users are making the statement that they like Twitter just the way it is. That’s great for keeping the existing user base satisfied, but further impedes growth potential.

#4: Facebook Sharpening the Knife

You may remember that Twitter refused Facebook’s $500 million buyout offer last September. So as expected, Facebook just added Twitter-style features and functions to its service, to evaporate Twitter’s competitive angle.

Updating Facebook from third parties like Tweetdeck? Check. Tagging people with @ within status updates? Check. Posting to Twitter directly from Facebook? Check. Stripped-down interface option, with status updates at the core? Check (Facebook Lite). Retweet-style sharing tools? Check.

Functionally, everything Twitter does, Facebook does just as well, with the exception of mobile usage. Because Facebook has so much more overall functionality than Twitter, the mobile experience is a bit more clunky than Twitter. However, it’s important to recognize that 3 times more people use Facebook from a smartphone every month than use Twitter at all.

#5: The Better You Are at Twitter, the Worse You Are at Twitter

Being a new user on Twitter is as lonely as Michael Boublé at a Green Day concert. “What’s happening?” it asks, followed by a box and a blinking cursor. Twitter success requires an understanding of the unique rhythms and cadences of the community, and a give first, get later mentality that is a bit counterintuitive at first. The site is exceptionally poor at welcoming and training new users, which may result in its high churn rate.

But a bigger problem with Twitter is that like CB radio, it doesn’t scale well. If you have a few hundred followers, you can semi-coherently keep them straight, and watch what they are doing via your public stream. But once you get into the many thousands of followers, that public stream is a cacophony at best. Twitter lists can help in this regard, but many Twitter power users lament that the way they use the service is forced to change significantly as their own Twitter connectivity increases.

Much less time is spent in the public stream, where discoveries occur, and much more time is spent answering replies, and monitoring relevant topics via Twitter search.

When your most popular users are the ones who have the hardest time using your service to its full advantage, you have some issues to consider.

#6:  FourSquare and Gowalla Go Back to the Future

The new location-based darlings FourSquare and Gowalla are stealing a lot of the place-based intimacy that originally propelled Twitter. The “original” Twitter contained a substantially larger percentage of tweets about the author and what he or she was doing in his or her own life at that moment. That type of status update has been migrating, first to Facebook, and now to the location services.

Because you actually know the people you are connected with in most cases, FourSquare and Gowalla feel a lot more like the original Twitter, with a sense of engagement that today’s Twitter can’t deliver.

#7: Measurement Lacking

Other than retweets and clicks – data that inexplicably is only available from third parties – Twitter provides no statistics to its users other than followers/following. Meanwhile, Facebook has been busy adding layers to its Insights platform, which provides a nuanced dataset enabling business users to test, optimize, and evaluate the efficacy of their time spent on Facebook.

The lack of integrated metrics on Twitter may not be a big deal for personal users, but for corporations looking to embed Twitter into an integrated social CRM approach, it’s a gaping hole that is currently being patched by inefficient, home-grown workarounds.

I love Twitter. It enriches my life every day. I hope it sticks around for a long, long time. But, figuring out what you want to do on Twitter is not your “social media strategy” – it’s just a short-term, tactical plan for a platform that survives despite its shortcomings.

What do you think? Are you still sold on Twitter? Please leave your comments below.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Get Social Media Examiner’s Future Articles in Your Inbox!

Join 465,000+ of your peers! Get our latest articles delivered to your email inbox and get the FREE Social Media Marketing Industry Report (56 pages, 90 charts)!

More info...
  • Ben

    Oh Dear! Only 28 million unique visits?!? How will they cope with such poor figures.

  • kkwiatko

    I completely agree that although Twitter can be an effective tool, it just can’t be the only one. For us, the main reason is the most obvious – not everything we need to say can be done in just 140 characters. So while we can get part of a message out there and get a conversation going with those limitations, sometimes we’ll need to push back to a blog to share our whole story and continue the discussion.

  • This is an interesting article for sure, quite accurate in describing how your personal twitter world can change as your follows grow. I see 4square and Gowalla propelling forward because of their connection to FB and Twitter and the “shout out” feature at this stage as new users discover those tools via their friends tweets and updates. But in the end, I do wholeheartedly agree that all eggs in Twitter basket is a little short-sighted. Thanks for sharing this information.

  • Great post!

    I agree with not just focusing on twitter or any one particular social network for that matter. The key is finding where your customer base is and engaging there.

    As for the adoption rate for kids/teens being real low, I think that should change as they grow older and see it as an awesome tool to find and spread information and not just another “status updating service”

  • Maybe #4 is the case (and I agree with the premise of your post as a whole anyway), but no matter how hard it tries, Facebook can’t replace Twitter. Since I share so much more information on Facebook, I’m not likely going to have the same friends as followers. Facebook is more for the people I know and I want to show them pictures of my kids. Twitter is my resource for both personal and professional interaction – followers probably don’t care to see pics of my kiddos.

  • dominiq

    Very good article. More generally speaking I think it’s wring to view Social Media with a “Chanel” approach.

    People don’t market to Twitter or to Facebook (unless they spam or use it as TV…), they market to communities and niche audiences like Moms, Geeks, Gamers, IT Professionals, Small Biz ..) and instead of building platform specific program they should start looking at the value proposition and messaging for these community and mapping and identifying these target wherever they are.

    Twitter is a good solution to seach for people in a community (specially Twitter search). Then, depending on the tactics that a brand will use, Buzz (blogs and RT), Outreach in FB, LinkedIn or email, Content Marketing, Private Communities or Plain advertising are all different tactic one brand can use.

  • Best point you made is made is that Twitter is not a strategy – it is a component to an overall program that may be appropriate for many markets and products. And may be pure noise to others.

  • Hi Jay,
    thanks for this insightful post. Usually, I would agree with the title of your post, one should not solely depend on one source, regardless how good it is! To start off, let me just say, I am still sold on twitter and i’ll tell yo why:
    Twitter was never intended to serve direct marketing, as is the case of Facebook. Twitter is viral, is all about the buzz, the word of mouth – in my opinion twitter sees no age, no race, no color, no preference – it talks to everybody and it’s up to every individual to create their own filters. You would certainly be missing the point of twitter if you use those auto-follow applications or others that pile up your list of followers – you can be as selective as you want, but it requires a lot of patience.
    Twitter serves as a tool and not a strategy. I use Twitter to drive traffic to my blog. In parallel, I use Faecbook, Plaxo, LinkedIn, and others to support such directional traffic – so that’s how i agree with the title of this post. You should never build a conversation in Twitter, after all, it’s rude to be talking to one person at a cocktail party. Take their card and agree to carry on the discussion later, the same goes to twitter.
    As for the statistics, one, i have to agree with Ben who insinuated that the current number is already massive, so the size of twitter is unquestionable. secondly, you raised a fact that twitter is trendy amongst the youngsters, but the scope of the study is limited to the US – when you’re on twitter you’re addressing the world – Twitter in the MENA region is picking at a very rapid case, still far behind Facebook, but it’s getting there.
    I really appreciate your post, and I do understand that you’re simply laying out a warning, but what can I say, i’m still hooked.

  • Facebook, you find your friends quickly; Twitter is more like a bar/pub. You wander in, overhear conversations going on, join in, drop out, move on, until you find those who are talking about what you want to talk about. Very time consuming, so it is long-term, but some excellent contacts/curators can be found.

    I have found most people on Twitter are on Facebook; many of my friends on Facebook are not on Twitter, or have tried it and given up.

    Twitter is shaping up to be packets of info shuttled all around & back and forth; Facebook is the same yet more, and seems to let more of the human touch in for skeptics.

  • I think much of what you say is true…

    However, in a targeted niche like dogs, the percentage of subset groups sky rocket relatively. Nearly half of the households in the US own at least one dog.

    I’m sure that applies to Twitter users as well.

    For sure, don’t bark in only one place… but don’t tuck tail and run just yet either 🙂

  • It really comes down to using a steady stream of resources all at once. If using a platform like, I have found Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, my new Blog, and my Website can act as a “waterfall”. But you are so right, Michael. I would agree with your post not to rely solely on any one method for social media.

  • I agree. I see Facebook catering more to personal interaction and Twitter becoming more of a professional/commercial space. Business oriented individuals will probably cater more to Twitter especially as Twitter improve upon capturing demographic type data from its users. It is also easier to increase your market reach on Twitter. Because of the less personal touch in Twitter, it is easier to get Followers than it is to get Friends (or Fans) on Facebook. I also think Twitter is better from a branding perspective.

    All in all, Twitter and Facebook are two different animals and they both have their place in the social media jungle. I don’t see one replacing the other.

  • Love twitter. Love it. Posted a free class for Seattle Free School @seafreeschool and in less then 4 hours had 10 ppl signed up. We don’t get that much traffic from our email list which reaches out to over 1200 ppl, at least not that quickly. It’s not the only tool but we get way more bang for our non-existent buck from twitter then facebook or our blog any day.

    When I posted a very important note from a friend’s organization in Haiti on Facebook not one person even commented. When I posted it on twitter not only did I learn that ppl there aren’t always on Facebook ( thus the reason for the blog post) but that it spread to tons of ppl in only a day… somewhere around 400 clicks. Eventually one of my friends found the info elsewhere and reposted in Facebook but in the end, it didn’t get much if any leverage there. Keep in mind that my friends are often in nonprofits and they care about this sort of thing, they just don’t read facebook links all that often.

    What goes over on Facebook? Someone almost broke into my car… that one got a ton of comments. Sometimes posts about food policy issues, but anything else tends to be a hit and miss.

    Sure this is just my experience but time and time again I’m blown away by twitter and underwhelmed by facebook. To be frank, I like Facebook better personally, so I wish it wasn’t the case but for now, for my org, I’ll spend most of my time on twitter.

  • gardenbeet

    oh god – i have just begun to understand twitter !

  • Great information because twitter is not the hold Social Media market and because Twitter is changing in strange ways; just like all new Internet tools they have to grow first and if the Internet need it they will stay but if not to Internet hell it will go!

  • SheilaG

    Agree with all commenters, but I think it’s important to remember the difference between Facebook and Twitter.

    I have fewer friends on Facebook than Twitter because on Twitter you tend to accept ANYBODY as long as they have common interests. So Twitter is for broadcasting widely. Most people on Facebook still only “Friend” those with whom they have at least a tangential relationship. They don’t befriend total strangers.

    What I find neat is that Twitter sends people to my blog, and I can often convert Twitter followers to FB friends, who then participate in Fan pages, discussions, and become more interested in me. Twitter is just a great way to find people of similar interests. It throws the net wide. It’s up to the other methods to then draw them in.

  • Good piece Jay. From a business perspective, we’re still wading through this. We started tweeting 2007 and began our facebook fan page in 2008 (sounds backwards doesn’t it?). Our industry (Sports Entertainment/NASCAR) is very fan oriented.

    While we have a modest twitter following, we see much more interaction in the world of facebook, but nobody here is ready to let go of twitter – due in part to the number of high profile competitors/industry insiders actively engaging in the twitter world.

    In NASCAR, twitter is in it’s infancy. More and more new people are trying it out every day. Facebook is much more engaging for us – also evidenced by the ratio of fans-to-followers.

    Nonetheless, we feel it is important to be active in both arenas. It seems that twitter is really shaping up to be best suited to specific industries, or niches if you will. It’s definitely not the “catch-all.”

    Twitter is so darn powerful when hosting an event, such as a NASCAR race. During an event weekend, follower count jumps, activity skyrockets and conversations multiply. Facebook on the other hand has turned out to be a year-round relationship builder for us.

    Consider us to be subscribers of the Social Media-Channel camp. We just want to make sure we have a voice on the right channels.

    Ben Trout,
    Bristol Motor Speedway
    Bristol, TN

  • carojones

    Interesting that as Twitter activity declined from August to December 2009, Facebook activity grew. Literally, that is when my activity did migrate from mostly Twitter to mostly Facebook. Also, I find it very difficult to synthesize information overload via Twitter, without devoting my entire day to Tweetdeck or the web interface. I have about as many Facebook friends, who are either my high school/college friends or co-workers, as I do random followers who auto-follow me based on search terms. Networking is great on Twitter, but the quality of communication is richer on Facebook and it is much easier to share content via Facebook.

  • Good post Jay:

    IMHO none of the current platforms will be relevant in the long term. Too many silos causing big time sucks on user attention and productivity. I am not sold on anyone although for the moment in time they all provide insight into human behavior. Measuring any of these for the moment does not address future moments especially if the entire landscape changes. Given the quest for all things social while at the same time advertising revenues shrinking (which is the backbone of all of this) the ultimate solution is yet to emerge but on the horizon.

    What say you?

  • Good stuff, Jay!! LOL on #2 re the young peeps – I’ve asked many a twentysomething if they’re on Twitter and they look at me funny and say, “Twitter is for old people.” (you know, anyone over 30?!) hehee

    Re #6, I gotta say I’m still reticent to get into the LBS (location based service) platforms; I’m real protective about my day to day whereabouts and home addy. I know many folks are going nuts for FourSquare and the likes though.

  • susanyoung

    Great information and insights Jay. I agree that Twitter isn’t the end all- be all, and always look to use a variety of tools and mediums to communicate and build relationships. We as a society/culture are certainly in uncharted waters with this technological revolution. The world is literally at our fingertips. We will have amazing stories to tell our grandchildren! Nice job!

    Susan Young

  • If you’re in marketing, you will have realized by now that Twitter is 1) one platform among many others, 2) only part of your marketing mix. It’s very easy to use, has a wide coverage, and therefore indeed should be part of almost every company’s social media tool kit, as you say. Still, don’t forget the other parts of your marketing mix, including the good old direct letter delivered by snail mail. As the world is increasingly moving to online, “old-fashioned is the new modern”.

  • Well said, Kimmo Linkama! I agree. In much the same way that you’d not (or should not) put all your retirement funds in one stock (or any such investment), you should not put all your marketing funds ($$ & time) in one platform. Diversification remains a smart strategy. And old fashioned snail mail still has a place in that strategy!!

  • Jay, Lots of great thinking here, thank you!

    I think what we are seeing happening with twitter is a result of a conflict between business model and optimum service offering.

    For instance #3 – the new features that twitter released are designed and optimized do deliver value to partners and advertisers and not to improve the user experience. If you are interested I wrote about this on my blog. In addition twitter has pressured their developer ecosystem to drop their own features such as groups in favor of twitter native features like lists. These do differ in one significant way that affects the user experience – in groups you see all replies sent to people that you follow, in least you see only replies sent to other members of the list. This cripples the conversational aspect of using lists.

    I disagree with #4 and don’t think that facebook adding twitter-like functionality can replace the functionality of twitter because of the symetrical nature of facebook relationships. While you may have access to the similar functions in facebook, the effect of using these functions in a symmetrical closed system is much different.

    #3, #5, #7 are significant issues that will have to be addressed or Twitter will leave itself open to significant competition.

    This brings me to Google Buzz. It is a new Social Network and far from perfect, that said it has much promise, money behind it, and very smart minds working on it. It can certainly come in and make a play for the hearts and minds of Twitters most avid users. This said those three attributes that make Buzz so promise also could lead to its failure. Twitter gained so much love because of its simplicity! Buzz would be wise to keep it simple, at least at first.

    Thanks again for provoking thought.


  • dchamp7

    i hate twitter!!! and i only get on to read social media/photog thoughts that i am following – and thats how i get to read cool articles like these…but whats next is the big question?!

  • I like and use Twitter, but just like anything new…it eventually gets old and if it doesn’t step and get better, it’s going to get left in the dust. With that said, I don’t think Twitter is on its death bed, but you’re right, it shouldn’t be the only social avenue you should ride.
    I like Twitter because it allows me access some really great information in small bite size chunks that I would miss otherwise if I had to wade through large amounts of text. So as long as it’s around, I’m going to continue using it.
    Facebook still has too many major glitches that are REALLY irritating, so until they get that all ironed out, Twitter still has a chance.

  • @kkwiatko, your comment here is one of the main reasons we created Amplify.

  • While I agree that you should not focus solely on Twitter new data on teenagers’ usage of social media suggests that they flock to Twitter finally. See here:

  • socialmediapark

    Best point you made is made is that Twitter is not a strategy – it is a component to an overall program that may be appropriate for many markets and products. And may be pure noise to others.


    Things that make you go hmmmmmm

  • Twitter still owns realtime, and realtime is the future.

    Don’t buy flowers for the funeral just yet.

  • SusanSherryAverello

    Exactly- different sites, different uses. I use Twitter to do on the fly chats, quick updates about new blog posts, I try to keep the number of people I follow below 300, just so I can keep track of it. Twitter is good for posting an annoucement, I bought the meat on my blog.
    I use FB for my friends, a fan page for my store. Twitter is one part of a bigger puzzle.

  • I am an avid user of twitter. Bat after becoming an expert in it , I realized what you just said…it has it limitation, the audience is not there most of the time, measurement is lacking….
    I believe it is time to start concentrating more on Facebook especially they are taking a stab on both Twtitter and Google Adwords and they are succeeding great article…When it come to SEO Facebook is much better

  • I honestly don’t like Twitter but feel forced to use it for myself and my company. I haven’t found any real strategy to make it effective for us yet and tweeting for myself gives me no satisfaction bc I don’t know half the people who follow me. I wish we could go back to the days when all you tweeted was what you are doing. There seemed to be a pressure created by social media people saying that Twitter is so much more than “what you are doing right now” you must share links, @reply, tell ppl about your blog. I’m so over it.

  • Ben, I’m not saying Twitter is useless, just that you shouldn’t think of it as the one and only way to do social media.

  • Yes indeed. Not sure I agree, but I’ve seen several posts recently about Twitter devolving to a pointing device, essentially functioning as a headlines service.

  • You bet AJ. Happy to help.

  • Really good point David. Key to social media is hitting them where they are, not where they ain’t.

  • Great comment Lafate. Very well articulated. Thanks for it.

  • Today, I agree. But I’m not sure that’s going to be the case forever.

  • Great point about emphasizing Twitter search. I’m glad you mentioned it, as I still think that’s the best feature of Twitter, and its true competitive advantage (for now).

  • Similarly, Facebook isn’t a strategy. Nor is YouTube, or any other single social media program.

  • I hear you. I’m probably on Twitter more than anyone reading this post, and it’s been (and is) a huge part of what I try to do in social media. But, it scares me when it’s all any company wants to talk about.

  • Interesting how your Facebook/Twitter audiences overlap (or not). I’d like to do some more research on that phenomenon.

  • Yes exactly! One piece of a much bigger puzzle.

  • Best metaphor on this post. Nice!

  • I’ve had the same experience. The Twitter audience seems more willing/likely to share and spread what they like. Facebook is more reserved, and more personal.

  • Such a terrific point Sheila. How can you use Twitter to engage people more deeply on Facebook, a blog, a corporate Web site, etc? That’s really the question companies should be asking.

  • Hi Ben. Thanks for the comment and for the insights into your approach. I very much agree that you probably need to be doing both, and that Twitter clearly has the edge in real-time (for now). Linking the two together (as suggested by Sheila above) is the real trick.

  • Yes, Facebook’s easier multi-media sharing is an advantage, no question.

  • Ultimately, I agree. As I’ve said somewhere before, the real winner is going to be Facebook Connect, which will make our connectivity site-less and omni-present.

  • Indeed Mari, there are some privacy issues with Gowalla and FourSquare (and Yelp’s new check-in feature) that need to be overcome to really go mainstream.

  • That’s for sure. I get so little physical mail now, that a hand-written letter really stands out.

  • Great comment Andrew, thanks.

    Twitter business model? Where? 😉

    As Facebook grows, I see connections become less symmetrical and more Twitter-like. Not sure if that chasm will be fully crossed, but the “I only friend people I actually know” is becoming less prevalent (at least among folks I’ve talked to recently).

    I agree Buzz could be a player. I’m a little concerned that it goes too far, too fast, but the email-centric nature of it is very attractive.

  • Indeed, as a vehicle for content discovery, Twitter is without peer.

  • Very interesting. Thanks for that. And for the killer avatar. Best sombrero of the day award.

  • For a company, even if you just use Twitter as a customer service hotline, it’s worth it.

  • Thanks for your interesting points there Jay, it’s really good food for thought. But although i agree we shouldn’t solely focus only on Twitter, fact is that both Twitter & Facebook are currently still the 2 most popular social media sites with a huge marketing potential for business owners. And there are many successful case studies & examples out there which show just how effective both these sites are in getting traffic,leads & sales, if you know how to do it the right way.

    So regardless of the limitations of Twitter, I don’t really see business owners giving up on using Twitter as 1 of their main marketing platforms. As these case studies & examples have shown that the ROI for being on Twitter – as well as Facebook – is definitely well worth the time & effort put in by any business owner in the long-run.

  • I think twitter might just be going through some growing pains, as it finishes its move away from a location informer (for lack of a better term) towards a conversation starter (so I guess John Antonios and I disagree). This goes hand-in-hand with the idea someone else mentioned of it becoming sort of a pointing system to longer, more detailed blog posts and such. Personally I put off joining twitter because I didn’t like the idea of broadcasting where I was at all times, so I like this change. Maybe with PleaseRobMe gaining media attention, 4sq will lose its popularity as people realize there are benefits to not sharing where you are at every second of the day. Back to the main point of your article, putting all your eggs in the twitter basket is incredibly foolish. Anyone still doing that clearly hasn’t quite wrapped their minds around social media. People should be realizing that they need to be pointing back to their blog, or better yet their website which has an embedded blog (so they don’t need to leave your site to get to your blog).Lastly, I’d just like to point out that you all joke about how old people means anyone over 30, but young people in this conversation seems to imply teenagers. I’m in my lower 20s and know countless individuals 20-25 using twitter; I doubt it is a local phenomenon. You might think you want to have teens on twitter to get the word out about your agency, product, etc., but in the long term they aren’t going to be dedicated volunteers, consumers, or anything else along those lines. So really when you say young people maybe you should start thinking of the 20-35 yr old crowd. They are more likely to get involved in your causes, become reliable consumers, and listen to what you have to say. Curious to hear others thoughts on this.Loved the bar analogy someone put out there, btw. Kelly

  • 100 is about all I can follow on Twitter, so I am always filtering, and #ff those I especially like. I also report as spam many who bot me and want to follow; keep those numbers low is helpful in the goal of quality not quantity aim (I’d have triple the number of visitors if I did not do this). As for Facebook, the more the merrier. I have a Fan Page too, but that’s a slow, cautious grow.

  • Oh I find there are some Twitter snobs who have decided Facebook or anything not geared toward business a waste. I read blogs and articles on business versus personal use on both sites (Linked-In is pure biz). Happily, no one has gotten it figured out. It’s a chaotic, creative mess trying to be self-organizing (whenever Facebook changes the layout, people get verbal and pissed). Of course, when something like protests in Iran happen, then Twitter becomes a powerful arrow. All this in wondering whether Twitter is getting more business/usefulness oriented: info and links and entertainment, and Facebook more like a warm puppy of casual familiarity. All that to say, I’ll look forward to your research on social media overlap, because it’s an evolving tidal mass out there.

  • Don’t think there’s an ultimate solution. Believe social media tends to self-organization, which means its an evolving process, which means we are in for surprises, dead ends, and finding, indeed, what sucks our time less.

  • Fantastic article. I love twitter, and I forward my tweets to facebook, not the other way around, I hardly use facebook but all my friends are there so at least I get to know what’s going on in their lives, and with my tweets they get some updates from me. I don’t like from facebook all those games, applications, etc, for me facebook is far too personal and overwhelming, and I do become fan of my friend’s businesses in facebook but I never visit those pages.

    Agree with most comments here, two tools part of a larger strategy. I love from twitter that I can follow or search people/topics I’m interested at the moment, and if my interests shift I might simply unfollow and move to a new trend. In my mind, twitter is better for introverts, more impersonal, hence good for many businesses, facebook is more for extroverts, more personal, and better for industries that benefit from a lot of emotions like the NASCAR fan base.

  • Thanks for this excellent article and the comments. Someone once said; “Facebook is for the people you know, and Twitter is for the people you’d like to know” – which whilst a little glib, has its truths. Just came across an interesting social network comparison here: Web Stratgy Matrix: Google Buzz vs Facebook vs MySpace vs Twitter via @jowyang

  • Your article shares a few points with my own thoughts about Twitter — basically some “red flags” that Twitter ought to consider as it goes forward. For one thing, it seems that Twitter either draws in a sort of narcissistic type — or it might bring out the narcissist in others not so prone to that personality type. It’s a stage for people to put on a show; at least it seems that way at its essence. I think most care about what they themselves have to share, rather than what others might offer to them… and the rest have given up even trying to share; using it more as a “headline service” of sorts.

    Part of the “problem” is the influx of celebrities. Witness today, even the Dalai Lama joined it — probably in part because there is an audience awaiting what he might have to say. That’s dandy. But it seems that more and more celebs are hopping on, because it’s now “proper territory” for them, even encouraged, for self promotion, or even just to combat fake profiles so there’s no problem with confusion among their fans.

    I usually post some silly thing maybe once a day or so, humoring myself that maybe someone is paying attention. I have about 145 followers and it seems that very few of them actually notice — and indeed often any replies (scant though they are) come from someone not following me, who found what I said via a keyword search. Odd! At any rate, aside from my own amusement through this slight creative expression… the service is virtually useless to me in a “getting the word out” regard.

    It’s also becoming too much about itself — people on Twitter, talking about Twitter… because they’re all interested in Twitter.

    So yeah, I’ve ended up following either celebrities or people who will tweet articles of interest… such as yours. That is useful in its own way. And you’re right; it’s not “social” really at all. If you get too interested in actually being heard, you end up trying to sell your soul for followers, or begging people to post something for you so it’ll be seen. It actually becomes annoying how often folks (strangers) will suddenly follow you and then unfollow within a short time because you didn’t reciprocate!

    And followers are the currency of the realm. I’m thinking that this service might actually be more useful if it was a “friending” environment; you send a request and it’s accepted and you’re both then connected. But, that creates a whole other drama… maybe part of why people are becoming discouraged with MySpace. Too swollen. For me, and many others I suspect, it’s only desirable because it’s often “entertaining to read.” But as these many-followed people get more encouraged by having an audience to post MORE… it becomes too unwieldy even for that pleasure.

  • i will come back and read it thanks

  • While I agree that using Twitter alone is not Social Media, when I think Twitter I automatically include its many third-party applications. Were it not for tools like TweetDeck, Mr. Tweet, Socialtoo and Socialoomph, Twitter would not be as cherished by me as it is. I need those third-party apps. I also cherish the fact that Twitter, Facebook, and Facebook are link to each other. Twitter and Facebook are also linked to Squidoo. In fact, Twitter even has its own Squidoo module. All this inter-connecting is extemely valuable.

    Lamar Morgan

  • I like Twitter because it’s a source of great info on what’s happening and changing in marketing, branding, banking, and social media (my professional interests). I only follow people in these areas (and I look at their Tweets before deciding if I want to follow them). I unfollow people who don’t have any relationship to those areas, who Tweet way too much, or who use Twitter to hard sell. Yes, I am selective because that is part of my strategy.

    I don’t want too follow too many people because Twitter is very time consuming and if I want to be able to at least scan if not read all the comments that come to me. I also like LinkedIn a lot (hasn’t been mentioned). I am not on Facebook and hope to hold off on that as long as possible (can only spend so much time on all of this). I would prefer to focus on Twitter and LinkedIn. Also, I’m thinking about creating a blog, and both LinkedIn and Twitter will help me get the word out. I also like online forums and the Bank Marketing Network online forum is outstanding. I value it more than any other medium because it is very specific to my interests.

    I don’t like any of the location markers–don’t need or want to know where people are and don’t want them knowing where I am. They appeal to teenagers and young people who are in that very “social” stage of their lives. I think it’s why it hasn’t caught on in the Twitter world. That being said, if I had a retail business I might be more interested.

    I, too, believe that Twitter serves a much different purpose than the other forms of social media and will continue to have a place–especially for breaking news and for professional learning and networking. I find so many great articles and blog posts through Twitter. Teens are focused on personal relationships so it makes sense to me that Twitter is not their thing. Business that focus on teens wouldn’t use Twitter to reach them.

    Great conversation. I’ve really enjoyed reading everyone’s thoughts on this.

  • Adamhuckeby

    Ha! I just found this comment through a vanity google search…I’ve since cancelled my Twitter account all together! I have my reasons, but it became worthless to me. I even closed down a blog. Life is short, man! I could probably sum up my reasoning by saying #5 in this post got the best of me! You may just be a prophet of some kind! : )

  • Adam, I’ve seen this movie before. I know how it ends.

  • Twitter, is a great tool. But you do need to use it in conjunction with other social media platforms. I loved the article and am really glad, that I stumbled upon this site, lots of cool news.