Twitter Is But Isn’t Mainstream

is twitter mainstream?
Twitter is it mainstream?

Is Twitter a complete waste of time and effort? Sure it has 145 million users worldwide and the tech/journalistic community is obsessed with it. But for marketing or awareness is it a waste of time?

Yes and No. Twitter has become a very focused network of tech savvy individuals. Although there is a subset of users here and there that use it for strictly communication and entertainment purposes– it still is the home of the techies. Business Insider makes three great points about this:

  • Stories that appeal to the tech community go bananas on Twitter–and barely register on Facebook
  • Stories that appeal to the mass market do much better on Facebook than they do on Twitter.
  • Stories aimed at our Wall Street and finance readers have enormous readership–but much lower Twitter referrals than our tech stories do.

In the story they go on to make three more points on why Twitter is not mainstream. It takes time, it needs products that appear to the mainstream, and Twitter requires set up and customization.

While those are valid points I think it goes a little deeper.

  • Noise. There is tons of noise on Twitter. There is noise from day one when you sign up. Noise that you don’t necessarily care about. It’s not like Facebook or Myspace where the noise is there but ultimately you care about it.
  • Text. The basis of interaction on Twitter is text based. We are visual creatures and we like shiny things. The growth of Facebook comes from the ease of share-ability of different types of media. From pictures, videos, to web stories. It’s a centralized hub of interaction and visual pleasure. Twitter doesn’t even come close.
  • Relevance. Let’s say you haven’t signed up for Facebook yet. Today you create an account. Over the next 2 weeks you will be surprised time and time again as you are reunited with a old friend or a family member. These interactions are highly relevant to you. They have pre-existing meaning. This also tends to happen time and time again on Facebook. In my experience your first 2 weeks on Twitter is like watching a series of television channels and every couple of hours you take a break to watch an old family movie. There just isn’t enough personal payoff.

But What About Marketing?

The first step in a marketing campaign is awareness. I do believe Twitter plays a role in awareness and thus should be used for business in marketing efforts. Beyond that it’s important to look at the role it plays in your overall marketing. Who is your target market, do they use this channel, and can you effectively reach them?