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Friday, May 18, 2012

My Thoughts On Why Twitter is DEAD

May 30th will be my 3 year anniversary on Twitter. Three years ago I was listening to Don Lemon on CNN covering the Iran Revolution, where Twitter was the ONLY way of getting information, pictures & video OUT of Iran. It intrigued and fascinated me; I opened an account and about 30 minutes later this “LIGHT” went on above my head. “This is fantastic!”

Fast forward to NOW and here's what I believe Twitter has become. Not “evolved,” as there really hasn't been any evolution at all. “Become” is a sadder, better description. My breakdown of the whole pie is as follows:

40% BOTS. These can be fake accounts, auto-tweet “blast” accounts, robotic RT accounts or that dreadful “Team Follow” crap. I get 20-30 of them a day, and I block and report them. I don't WANT them as a “follower” to pad my numbers. If you think simply “not following back” solves your eventual PROBLEM, you're wrong. If you allow one, you'll get 50 more for each one. Worse, once you follow they usually unfollow; the “follower churners” as I call them. Churning, or following to get a follow and then unfollowing, is supposed to be against Twitter rules, but these churners never seem to be terminated. I'd rather be “static” and have only real people. If I DID allow them to follow, my calculations are I'd be well over 70,000 now vs 36,000 followers. But 70,000 WHAT? Followers? Nope. Get off the pipe. They're not REAL. Speaking of “real,”

20% Gurus. These gladhanding “Mwah” idiots tell you how to be better on Twitter while only talking to cliques and AUTO tweeting “Keep It Personal” mantras. Expect lots of “I love you more,” the always nipple-hardening “Together Everyone Achieves More,” regurgitated (and often stolen) quotes, and links to blogs of ideas stolen from other people as if their own thoughts. I consider these to be WORSE than the bots. They are second-grade window monitors who were never assigned that in school and by GOD they'll assert it “here” on Twitter.

20% Corporate Blasters. These are simply companies who think Twitter is a billboard because you (yes you) can't survive another day without knowing about their other coupon or the fact you can friend them on FaceBook.

15% Celebrity Blasters. These folks have the LEAST knowledge of Twitter and figure they “owe” it to you to have 10 million followers, follow 50, talk to that 50 as if they're friends and alert you to the earth shattering fact they'll be on Leno tomorrow and have a new film, and/or occasionally give a political opinion.

5% Other.

Yay! It's the “5% other” that are the reason we all get on. 95%, therefore, isn't. These 5% are people you “sort of know,” or might have met in real life, or would like to, or have a common interest, or a connection, or damn it, are just plain friendly and kind. Alert the media! They'll tweet you a joke, ask how you are and actually wait for the answer, email you some personal advice, or touch your heart. You might fall in love with one of them. I did. They just MATTER. They're kind, considerate, courteous, responsive to courtesy, and despite THEIR life problems actually help you feel better about YOURS. It is then your inclination (or it should be) to console or counsel THEM … and long-lasting, trusting friendships are born. WELL! That sounds positive. Too bad they're the 5% shining pearls in a sea of shit.

Twitter was wayyyy different when I signed up. There was a really fun bunch of interacting, pleasant, somewhat “wild” people … an evening “adult” chat that was hilarious and inspired friendship .. GREAT respons(es) to technical questions, more manners, more engagement, just plain MORE FUN. I first noticed the drop-off a year ago, and a substantial & rapid decline 4 months ago. If there are 400 million “users,” my 5% rule says that means 20 million real people worth knowing. Uh-oh … my math must be wrong. It's less than 5% ~ significantly less. WORSE: I believe actual Twitter readership is down 80%. That's right, 80%. Your tweets aren't really being “read” any more. They're being absorbed in “finger down the middle of the page, see the words but don't verbally pronounce them” speed reading fashion. I don't care how you're listed, and what lists people are “reading” to see you if you're lucky enough to be on that list …
  • You're possibly being seen,
  • You're NOT really being "recognized,"
  • You're probably not being noticed, and
  • Most likely almost NEVER “heard.”
It's a 50mph wordmill where the only thing that might help you is a catchy avatar. Even then, you're possibly seen but not really recognized, and certainly not with the desired attention to be heard.

Even if you're heard, will you be retweeted? In my opinion fully HALF of all tweets “RT'd” happen because of EXPECTANCE. The RT-er wants something, which might be merely “recognition from a honcho.” The “honcho,” much like a huge fat fish that allows “feeder fish” and doesn't eat them because they clean it's asshole … is more than happy to take them ~ hell, they EXPECT them. That's your JOB, for Chrissake. Lately, you're not retweeted (and I mean all of you as a group, not “ME” being RT'd – I get plenty) unless you've RT'd “them” earlier today or yesterday.

I tried a little experiment. I created a list called “RT Bang For Buck” and kept it hidden. I would randomly RT people on that list even if it was a coupon for grapefruits. Sure enough, I'd get a “return RT.” Then I'd leave off for a couple of days … crickets. RT them again Thursday … lo and behold an RT. I see. So it's kinda like homework. I won't waste time discussing people YOU are retweeting without any reciprocation or thanks … I don't even FOLLOW those self-glorified, cocky asswipes. Wake up and realize you don't WORK for these people. Stop being a drone. That's just your OWN fault for feeling a “need of belonging,” and that you're enslaved to them because they have 80K followers. Hell, they must me important, right? Actually no, they're just using you. That's how they have the 80K. It's kind of like that fellow sent to PRISON in California for running a newspaper ad “Send me $10 and I'll show you how to get rich.” Guess what people got for their $10 … a piece of paper saying “Haven't you guessed?” Aww. Never mind. Welcome to Twitter, where a similar newspaper ad is digitized. But the revolution won't be televised. Nor (probably) retweeted.

Well Don't Just be Negative, Paul ~ What Would You Propose?
First of all, I'm not being negative. I'm being truthful. The gurus are either too stupid to KNOW what I've just stated and many of us have felt for a while, or they DO know but figure they'll keep the idiots and attract new ones, and SOME “fresh horses” might actually pay them for their “social marketing” skills. After all, they've spent a fortune attending the latest “SocMed Convention” (actually there's one today, and combined with Follow Friday I can't wait to see the unbridled hashtagged “crap traffic” on the grid TODAY).

I don't blame Twitter for ALL of this mess; after all they provided an innovative, bright, shining new platform for social interaction that FAR exceeds FaceBook, and it took off because of it's simple brilliance, simplicity of use, worldwide importance as a news outlet and a fun forum of communication. I DO hold them responsible for “not taking it to the next level,” fixing once and for all the spamming problems and phishing links, and seemingly not enforcing the rules we all read when we signed up. I would propose the following; pay attention particularly to the last item:

1. When someone signs up, there are THREE (3) character recognition screens and THREE (3) confirming emails after that Captcha screen is completed. It's harder to fake 3 than one to see if you're real.

2. NEW Twitter “members” are allowed to follow FIFTY (50) people on their first day, 100 on their second day through 7th day, and THEN up to 2,000. 90% of the “bot” accounts wouldn't have the patience to wait a week of incremented following to start “mass following” up to the 2000 cap.

3. You should have to fill in a Captcha screen to SEND a DM. For each and EVERY DM. Every time. If a DM is that important, type the characters. This would END the phishing Dms, auto-DMs, and “Hey, tweet my blog” crap. A DM should be a personal message to ONE recipient, not a mass message. You HAVE mass messages … they're called “Tweets.”

    4. Anyone following 300 people and unfollowing more than 200 the next day, or unfollowing as soon as “followed back” should be suspended. Period. I'd say taken out and shot, but there's probably laws against that. Take the math out of the spamming, and they'll go back to leaflets on windshields.

5. Most importantly: YOU should use YOUR own common sense to run YOUR Twitter. Have a good strong cup of coffee, switch on your “BS-Meter,” and take a hard look at who is REAL on there. Unfollow the people who want you in a “club.” Unfollow people who don't thank people (common courtesy) for ReTweets or engage in conversation or ONLY auto-tweet. Unfollow the people who ONLY talk to the same 6 people every morning or who tweet the 5-10 “biggest people” on Twitter hoping for a shoutout while droning on about “only wanting real followers.” Unfollow anyone who systematically (defined as weekly or more often) DM's you for favors. A little more vigilance from all of us sure would make Twitter's job of policing easier, especially since they're not doing much of it.

So … in conclusion … I'm not sure what I'm doing June 1st. Are you? And don't worry if your friends “missed” this blog; I'm sure it will be “re-blogged without permission” by some “callous opportunist.” I'm off to make some coffee, give it 3 hours, and then see how many guru blogs practically copy & paste this as their own idea. That happens to me a lot :-) Wait. Where'd my $10 go? Doh!

Be safe, all xo