I have often said, to anyone who asks my point of view about Twitter, that Twitter is irrelevant and useless as a political tool. It has become the domain of bullies and tossers.
Any politician who thinks or says that Twitter is a valuable tool for engagement is bereft of brain cells. Anyone who calls themselves a social media guru is a fraud.
Twitter is not the real world, and this is especially relevant in New Zealand where the reality is just a few hundred people drive most of the traffic and comment and chat and felch each other in a mutual circle jerk waiting for the next target of their circle of hate.
Most people don’t even know what Twitter is much less a hashtag.
Damian Thompson outlines at the Daily Mail his analysis of how bereft of relevance Twitter has become.
The truth is that Twitter has lost its magic. For compulsive tweeters such as me, the system seems fine on the surface — buzzing away as merrily as ever. But the fact is that Twitter is in deep trouble.
Panic set in at the company’s San Francisco HQ long before this week’s fiasco.
Its baby-faced vegan co-founder Biz Stone (real name Christopher Isaac Stone) is a worried man. So are Jack Dorsey and Noah Glass, with whom he launched the project in 2006.
In less than a decade, Twitter has become part of the fabric of many people’s lives.
We users go on to Twitter to post pictures of our children’s birthday parties, to tease our mates about the drunken pass they made last night, to suck up to the boss, to promote our businesses — and, shamefully, to follow the witterings of celebrities.
The American pop star Katy Perry has 68 million followers, making her the world’s number one tweeter. Sample tweet from this week: ‘My heart breaks w/the rising toll from the #NepalEarthquake’ — a shocking tragedy indeed, but also an opportunity for our Katy to cash in by showing off her boundless compassion. Celebs love using Twitter for this purpose.
But Katy Perry also uses Instagram, the photo-sharing app with 300 million users that turned ‘selfies’ into a worldwide fad. And that’s where her target audience of teenagers follows her.
By contrast, Twitter is, like, just so old-fashioned — i.e., ancient history. Tell them that Barack Obama and the Pope are now tweeters, and they’ll just shrug — convinced that Twitter is for old people, meaning anyone over 25.
Indeed, Instagram is ruining Twitter’s business model. Even more deadly is WhatsApp — free for the first year before charging a tiny fee — which enables people to send text messages, photos, videos etc from their smartphones. It has 800 million active users.
The rival social messaging site Facebook predicted that the number could soon rise to three billion and thus bought WhatsApp for $19 billion. And it also owns Instagram.
One of Twitter’s big problems is that it doesn’t gather enough commercially valuable information about its users to target ads as effectively as some of its rivals can.
And although the cool kids now think tweeting is lame, there aren’t enough of them deserting the site to account for Twitter’s dramatic slowing down in growth.