With the introduction of Clubhouse, Bebo reportedly making a return and Vero (remember them?) launching 2.0, the social media market is more crowded than ever before.
With so many options, it can often be best to pick which platforms you focus your time on. If you’re not sure how to choose, don’t worry, I’ve already covered that in this handy blog post. 😀
Today though, I’m going to do a deep dive on one platform in particular.
Yep, you guessed it, I’m going to focus on whether Twitter is underrated. The title might have given that away a little earlier than I had anticipated.
What Is Twitter?
Well, it’s a “micro-blogging” site launched in 2006 and by 2012 it had 100 million users sharing a total of 340 million tweets a day.
Originally, tweets were limited to 140 characters including any links, images and profile tags. In 2016, they announced, they were relaxing the 140 character limit and would allow these features to be included without affecting the character count.
In 2017, they went one step further and DOUBLED the character limit, much to the relief of many avid Twitter users.
Ultimately, though, it’s a place for friends, family, colleagues and brands to “communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent messages”.
Why Do Many People Dislike Twitter?
Despite having over 350 million active users, Twitter gets a bit of a bad wrap.
Criticism is mainly focussed on two key points; the spreading of fake news and the rise of trolling. Both of which are valid concerns.
Fake news is an issue across social media in general, but Twitter has probably got to shoulder a big chunk of responsibility alongside Facebook. Studies show that fewer than 10% of Twitter users question fake news and it spreads 6x quicker than true stories.
Again, trolling is something that happens across all social media platforms, but it tends to be synonymous with Twitter. And probably with good reason. A study back in 2015 found that almost 90% of all abusive social media mentions on social media came from Twitter. Now, a lot has changed since 2015, but it highlights the scale of the issue.
Is Twitter Underrated?
350 million active users might sound like a lot but that ranks Twitter as the 16th most popular social media platform. Facebook has almost 8x as many active users and other platforms that rank above Twitter include Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok and WhatsApp.
So, clearly, Twitter isn’t as popular as other platforms. That, on its own, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s underrated though.
Having said that, I would still argue that Twitter is underrated.
Well, there are a number of reasons I think this might be the case.
Firstly, despite the issue of fake news, real stories also break and spread through the platform. Whether that’s Elon Musk’s latest investment, a leaked report from the Government or a record-breaking Premier League transfer on deadline day, you’ll most likely hear about it first on Twitter.
Being able to stumble across breaking news stories is quite incredible. Sometimes, you don’t even realise how much the stories are in their infancy. If Twitter are able to curb the spread of fake news, this will enhance their position as the go-to place for the latest, trending topics.
Twitter are actually taking steps to stop the spread of fake news. Throughout the COVID pandemic and the American election, they rolled out solutions to help tackle this issue. And this is another reason I think Twitter is underrated. They are constantly developing new features that help resolve users most pressing concerns.
And the “innovation” doesn’t stop at fake news. They have made some very smart acquisitions. This year alone they have bought Breaker (a social podcasting platform) and Revue (a newsletter platform). In my opinion, these are smart acquisitions. They tie into the complimentary activities their users take part in. They know who and what they are and are finding ways to enhance that experience.
This clear understanding of who they are means that, although they have a smaller community than other platforms, it is arguably stronger. And this is great for brands. There are pockets of highly active, highly influential consumers for most sectors and they love to engage with stories, discussions and updates.
Unlike other platforms, the search and hashtag system work effectively to make it easy for people to find the conversations they want to hear. Yes, this can cause echo chambers but it can be a highly effective tool for brands and consumers alike. If people can find the posts they’re interested in, they’re more likely to stick around and engage more.
So, with Twitter tackling its biggest issues, investing in complementary services and creating a place for engaged audiences to interact, I believe it may just be underrated.
Could it be the place that you build your brand in 2021?