Tuesday, 13 August 2013
When I first joined Twitter there seemed to be a lot of excitement around it and I remember that 'join the conversation' was often quoted as a way of encouraging users to interact with each other. But I have to say that four years and four thousand odd tweets later I'm finding it harder and harder to maintain my enthusiasm.
Over the past few months there have been many times when I've taken a break and realised that I haven't started up my Twitter client that day, and then realised that I hadn't really missed it. Was that because I was incredibly busy? Or something else? Well certainly I have been busy and if I'm out of the office I won't bother with Twitter (I've no interest in tweeting while I'm out and about). But many times I think it was more fundamental than that, you see I think I'm getting bored with Twitter.
There are notable exceptions Al Murray and Stephen Fry being amongst them but these days the fact is that the vast majority of tweets are adverts for something (and it could be argued that the aforementioned celebrities are promoting themselves by doing what they do). In fact with a lot of tweets from a lot of accounts, if I've seen it once I've probably seen it a dozen times, it's quite clear that a lot of people aren't paying much attention to twitter themselves and are using bots to tweet for them.
There is also a large volume of tweets being generated, and that being the case there is very little chance that at any given moment your just sent tweet will be read as the volume is such that it's impossible to keep up which is especially true the more accounts you follow. There's no doubt that the use of bots is increasing this problem, as part of the reason I've see the same tweet more than once is because they are spread and repeated throughout the day. This makes a lot of sense as it increases the chance that followers will actually see the carefully crafted (but bot delivered) tweet. To be honest this is why we use bots ourselves, it's impossible to be glued to a twitter client all the time and to promote our business we use bots to post tweets regularly throughout the day in the hope that an actual human being will read them and consider using our services.
As a consumer we can mitigate the effect of the volume of tweets by setting up lists and following those. But as a creator that's bad news because it's down to the consumers personal tastes and you can't control whether your account will be followed in a list or not, although if your tweets are more interesting (and I would add unique, i.e not bot generated) then your account will be more likely to be followed.
So this leads this cynic to conclude that if my personally written tweets are being lost in the sheer volume of tweets being posted these days, and if most of the tweets are posted (and seen) more than once, there's probably very little point in using Twitter as my infrequently sent tweets won't be seen.
Except, that what keeps drawing me back is that there are a few gems who are genuinely worth following, and I also find it more effective than RSS for keeping up with the news. Otherwise I think I'd have given up on it long ago...