Why we need Twitter to survive

I hate bullies and bullying. I despise taking pleasure from others’ misfortune, which is why I have moved from sadness to anger about some of the headlines around Twitter. Do we really want to see Twitter die?

I find it incredibly ironic how businesses whose flawed and outdated business models force them to spew out such ridiculous link bait articles (and I do use the term ‘articles’ loosely) such as ‘Twitter is down for some people’ and lauding the decline of something that has been so critical to our evolution as a society.

Why do I say that? In my 11 years working in social, whenever I’ve been in doubt about a campaign approach or a piece of messaging, I always ask myself ‘how would I introduce myself or this ‘thing’ to a physical room full of real strangers?’ It’s a stark but useful sense check of what I would have to say to not be rejected or ridiculed face to face.

The point here though is that for social to work (content or platforms) it has to blend into an existing behaviour or narrative. Even Snapchat with its unconventional navigation uses an already familiar swipe gesture to get people to share their photos – in itself a established, familiar behaviour. It just adds layers of quirks (drawing, time limits) to existing habits.

Twitter is as natural a behaviour as any social network that’s ever existed and that’s been its unique strength. As a generation we are prone to making quips, we share sarcastic comments or share acidic observations – in fact I’d argue that we’re probably most at ease doing this with close friends but we’re more than happy sharing this on Twitter with a group of strangers.

Go to a gig, football game, whatever and you’ll end up talking to people you don’t know about the thing/event/game you are both at. Twitter allows us to do this too.

Whilst the character limit is likely not to be an issue for much longer, it tapped in to a generation who grew up using SMS-limited conversation which is exactly why Twitter’s 140 characters exists.

All that aside though, Twitter provides us with the digital means, more than any other social network, to fit into our everyday habits and behaviours. As other platforms encroach on Twitter’s core features, so Twitter has to evolve. It won’t be straightforward, but find me a business of Twitter’s size that evolves seamlessly and without bumps in the road and I’ll find you 20 successful ones that have overcome those bumps to succeed.

So let’s all stop hating on Twitter. Yes it has problems, yes it needs to reposition, but when it’s gone, it’s gone – yet you’ll still be wanting to leave those snarky comments, funny quips and bitching about your favourite team to other fans.

I say ditch the baying mob, whose sole aim is to prop up a dying business model with linkbait and make up your own mind.

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