I'll preface this by saying I've been using Twitter since November 2008. I've seen it develop and grow and it will always be the first place I turn to find peer conversations, to promote my blog posts and to find snippets of information or news that I can go and research. It has also developed into a place where I can live-stream my view on television programmes and interact with other viewers without leaving the comfort of my own couch.
The beauty of Twitter is that you can choose who to follow and, to some extent, you can choose who follows you. You can be educated, you can befriend a celebrity, you can watch the world go by through the eyes/tweets of others.
But the whole concept of Twitter has changed. It now feels like a boring broadcast channel with not very many conversations happening. Of course, my crew - the old school bloggers - are very much feeling this at the moment and I truly believe that it is because social media 'experts' have ensured that they offer the best possible advice to be 'seen' on social media
- schedule tweets so you are always 'there'
- create evergreen content so that you always have something relevant to share
- use images to stand out from the crowd
- use gif images to stand out even more
and so on, and so on, especially now that blogging and social media is very much seen as a career and a possible lucrative income stream.
But just hold the fuck up here for a minute. It's OK to send all this information out with hashtags galore and the ICYMI preface (In Case You Missed It - I had to look that up a few weeks ago) and a 'From the archive' teaser but if you're not there to interact once someone has clicked on that link, what is the point in sharing it?
If you're in it for the numbers (and some of those numbers are
bought impressive) then I don't think we can be friends any more. I tweeted this out not so long ago and I've already started a slow unfollow spree (and, I'm not precious about who follows or unfollows me - I never actually check).
If your last 20 or so tweets are just broadcasts and no engagement with your followers, I'm DEFINITELY unfollowing you.— Nickie (@nickieohara) July 28, 2016
But before you spam the comments with reasons why I'm looking at this in the wrong way - maybe it IS me and not you. Maybe I do yearn for the old, quiet days of Twitter where it was easy to find new people to talk to in an open timeline and where everyone wasn't vying for my attention to try and sell me something or to get me to click on a link so it could be reported in as a statistic.
I've tried the commercial social media route which didn't succeed for reasons that aren't up for discussion in the blog post. I've got another couple of blogs on which I have shared (and still share) commercial content from time to time but there's no reason for me to try and artificially elevate the numbers on there any more. People don't need my content forced down their throat but I do know that if someone reads it and enjoys it, they may share it with a few friends and create those ripples rather than throwing a huge great rock into small pond and expecting there not to be a splash that soaks everyone and pisses them off.
But anyway - I'm always up for a bit of a chat on Twitter. It's where I find some sanity in an otherwise hectic day and I always ALWAYS reply to people. There's definitely a dark side to Twitter (something which is touched upon here by The Guyliner in GQ Magazine) and it's something I am looking to write about too but I don't want to clog up these thoughts at the moment.
I'd love to know what you think about this at the moment.