Twitter is going through a transition phase but I hope a good one
I still like Twitter a great deal but can’t help feeling that if they had introduced some of the upgrades that they are rolling out this month earlier on a lot of other people would have persevered with the social media tool rather than the approximate 75% of accounts who have less than ten followers and tweet about as often as I listen to country music.
At its best Twitter is a tool that allows you to track news, target your messages and analyse real-time data and opinions far more rapidly than any other tool. At its worst the reality is that more than 90% of all tweets are generated by less than 15% of all twitter users, which isn’t all bad news. I prefer to think of it as a car pool lane about a third full of tech savvy and better connected people. At present however twitter users tend to fall into one of two groups, one is a younger celebrity conscious crowd that tweet about nothing much in particular and then there are those who use the tool to track news, blogs, opinions and follow the progress of companies and organisations. I tend to use twitter more frequently with the other blogs and sites I support but will ramp up efforts here as well. Rumours that twitter has peaked and needs to be reinvented are probably premature although the moves the company has made in recent weeks demonstrate they saw that improvements needed to be made. In some cases they still do. Now that Google are indexing and ranking tweets the SEO potential for Twitter has also found a greater value, that alone is exciting.
Tweetdeck or Hootsuite are tools you can’t do without if you want to gather real-time impression of what stories are creating interest and how people react to them. At present most of the tools that are available to enhance your use of twitter are third party applications, on the one hand a testament to ingenuity and better ways to support twitter but on the other an indicator that perhaps the company may have missed the boat by not creating some of these enriching applications in-house. Third party applications for photos such as Yfrog or URL shorteners such as bit.ly (so that your links will fall within the 140 character limit) all work exceptionally well but they require an extra step which takes extra time and removes you from your Twitter page.
At long last Twitter have finally done what should have happened at least a year ago by including internal options to add video or photos along with their own URL shortener which will permit you to cut and paste any length link which Twitter will in turn shorten down to 19 characters. I’m particularly pleased about the built-in equivalent to bit.ly however the Twitter version does not include any analytics. Surely that must be under consideration as it’s one of the great strengths of the competition. As you probably noticed Twitter changed their entire platform at the end of last year and these two signicant changes suggest that more improvements are on the way. I think Twitter’s place will ulitmately be aimed and aligned far more for business/media and targeted audiences than Facebook currently offers and I’ll predict that in the 3rd or 4th quarter of this year we’re going to learn more about how that will be accomplished. Let me know what you think in the comments or on Twitter.