Twitter -- the arrival and departure of Twitterers (Twitter Quitters)

I admit it -- I'm in an airport. So this blog entry from CIO.com caught my eye -- and should catch the eye of those who are determined to add Twitter to their internet marketing mix.  Who knew? It turns out that 60% of Twitter users fail to return to Twitter after a month of use. Some of the nominated factors: 

 

  1. "Tweets with hashtags (#) and stupid-looking acronyms.
  2. Inside jokes that aren't funny. 
  3. People who decide they're a news service and show you every link they read on CNN. 
  4. The spammy "Thanks for following me" direct message"

Great points. And in Philadelphia this week, I heard from execs and web guides to the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA.org) who think they want to use Twitter. Okay. It's very clear that Twitter has enormous potential for enabling narrowly focused groups to communicate messages, thus enabling them to be found in searches.  And even under some circumstances talk to each other in restricted (must apply to follow) about what matters to them. Perhaps someday, status updates about seniors in ALFs can be communicated to family members with Twitter. 

Why do execs think they want to tweet about their organizations? Best reason -- it's a terse marketing channel for searchers to find what they need and for those who want to be found to have their messages heard. So that's the upside.

But let me add a few other negatives that may drive me to post but not follow, and perhaps to also abandon Twitter altogether:

  1. Your profile is topical and non-personal -- but you are otherwise. You help seniors find housing, provide homecare services, help assisted living facility owners market their product, and so on. Or your technology is a fabulous advance on offerings to seniors. But your tweets are about being stuck in an airport, getting a drink between ballgame innings, making more Starbucks visits, or far more personal.  Forget it -- only your friends will care -- and even they may tire.
  2. Your profile is personal -- but you mean business. You love certain types of jazz, hangouts in Seattle bars and adore wind surfing. You follow (for marketing and otherwise incomprehensible reasons) those with more business-oriented profiles. So 'XYZ-stalker' is now following me on Twitter and even e-mailing me with offers to overhaul my website. I won't follow -- but I will be puzzled.
  3. Like Number 3 above -- but worse. You not only offer news about Congressional happenings, but you do so 9 times in one hour. What a mess to wade through. See ya.
  4. You tweet inpenetrable and highly specific replies to others.  Here's where 'reply privately' might be useful. Or what the heck -- go for it -- use e-mail.
  5. You link to other sites (like your blog), but summary reason is unclear.  Scanning tweets is impossible if you have to exit to link to a post to know what someone is talking about. Certainly I worry about this with my tweets of blog posts.  And for those who find the observations unclear that accompany my posts, I apologize. I will try harder -- at least until I become a Twitter Quitter.

One of the nightmares about Facebook, despite its enormous following, is to launch it to find something about a business, but end up looking at Mary Sue looking intoxicated at a bar.  Twitter is so terse, you'd think that was impossible. You'd be wrong. Turns out pictures aren't the only way to drive Internet users crazy.

For more thoughts from others on why Twitter is annoying or why the above is wrong, just type 'Twitter Annoying' into a search box. So many bloggers, so little life.

Please feel free to add your worries about Twitter.

 

A Twitter 'conference call chat' on mobile health

A serious experiment -- a recap of a Twitter conversation among interested parties about the topic of mobile health. You can't make this up. Study the required terseness of response, the necessity of multiple tweets to communicate a thought. Then look at the embedded #identity of replies to replies that further reduce the available space to assert a point, and then see how ideas are further shortened by embedded links to other sites. So to communicate text, we have gone from e-mail (too many), to blogging (too wordy), to Twitter, the strangulation of language to match the ever-more-fleeting attention span of on-the-road readers of smart phones.

Sigh. Once you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

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