I like Twitter. I like how it forces a tweet to be short, concise, and hopefully unambiguous. If the message can be delivered effectively in 140 characters, it’s the mark of a good tweet. The hashtag idea can also add additional punch to a tweet. Fundamentally, it’s a very successful form of social media and it gets lots of attention. But note that Twitter receives disproportionate attention.
This is the serious problem. There are actually relatively few Twitter accounts when compared to the social media behemoths, here and abroad. World wide (as of research released in March, 2015), Facebook had 1.4 billion users. Twitter had 288 million users. That’s less than Instragram and more than Tumblr.
As well, The pace of Twitter’s growth has slowed much to the chagrin of its investors. But when a hashtag starts trending, it becomes news, even in the mainstream media. essentially, Twitter is the vocal minority who manage to get attention. It’s the loud and strident face of keyboard jockeys. Yes, that includes me to a certain extent.
Of course, such a limit on characters forces a Tweet to be too succinct and to be without subtlety. The guys over at Holistic Game talked about this in a recent podcast. Ironically, it was in response to one of my own Tweets. Skip to 38:30 to hear it. Their points are valid. As an aside, I don’t like when Manosphere guys use the word “nuance”. That word has been co-opted by a certain group of ideologues, just as they did with the word “gender”.
Because Twitter is so concise and so instantaneous it gets far more attention. It’s the zenith of soundbite messaging. A mainstream media outlet can quickly and lazily scan trending hashtags for a quick and totally throwaway story. As well, the famous can reach out to their vast hordes of followers for a quick hit of attention. Well, yeah, I follow Charlie Sheen on Twitter. Hell, even the Pope has multiple Twitter accounts based on the language of the outgoing tweet. Oh, wait, I shouldn’t have said “hell” in that statement.
Despite it’s disproportional impact on social media, Twitter is useful for getting a message out, even if incredibly short. A good hashtag and/or link can go a long way to reach many people, especially through the retweet feature and to a lesser extent, the favoriting feature. Personally, I prefer that my own tweets are retweeted, not favorited.
Naturally but unpleasantly, Twitter has attracted lots of spam tweets. Tweets from popular Twitter accounts too often includes links to clickbait websites. Here’s a tweet I received moments ago: “It Was Just A Wedding, Until THIS Surprise Blew Everyone A…” I won’t bother clicking on the link because such a tweet is obviously a clickbait trap. Some Twitter accounts are much more clever. These smart accounts tweet out funny and thought-provoking things but then sprinkle in clickbait tweets. @Meninist is very good at this. I still follow that account but have learned how to ignore the clickbait traps.
Twitter is also very effective at attracting online insults. Ideologues clash frequently and personally. Such clashes get lots of media attention but are essentially harmless but sometimes disturbing. “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is an old saying and it directly applies to social media.
Now is the time to pitch my own Twitter feed, @man_private. I’ve got over 2,700 followers and it’s been about four years of doing this. I announce when I have new blog post (actually it’s done automatically). I also research topics to post interesting links so my followers and other bloggers might find good content. Of course I Tweet out original Tweets.
Amusingly, my tweets which I think are great are mostly ignored and my of-the-cuff tweets get all sorts of attention, go figure. I do urge my readers to sign up for a Twitter account and follow me. If a new follower is also tweeting cool stuff, I’ll follow that person. Twitter is a mutual thing. Hint, hint, @RealCMcQueen. For you writers out there, writing a tweet is an excellent way to improve your writing and editing skills.
I’ll see you on Twitter but I will continue to blog here, as well.
Note: If you’re new to Twitter, here is a good resource.
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