To Twit or Not to Twit
Well, it’s a part of the game, these days, that as a writer you simply must have an online presence. To a certain degree this annoys me. Time I spend on this, that, or the other thing, Twittering and Digging, Pressing Words. Mailing E’s, and Booking Faces, is time I don’t spend, you know, writering. I remember way back in the late Oughts when the world was excited about Twitter. . . and with good reason! The way short, concise, links and messages could bounce from person to person anywhere there’s cell coverage in a limited capacity and anywhere there’s internet coverage in full capacity was amazing. We were treating it like it was going to free Egypt or something. It was right during that time when people were still cautiously optimistic about Obama and thought the Arab Spring might just pan out. And who could forget that guy that accidentally live-blogged the Bin Laden assassination with tweets like this:
Flash forward to now. I have two Twitters I manage. Officially one personal one, and one business. Unofficially, it’s so I can learn how to manage multiple Twitter feeds and apply different strategies to expanding them. So I can tell people I know how to do that sort of thing. So why do I seem so unimpressed by the experience? Look at this! LOOK:
One of the feeds is currently entirely made of Tweets of people tweeting the names of other tweeters! The other one is entirely advertisements. Someone advertising their book, someone advertising for some scam, someone advertising toothpaste (and accompanying blog article?!) and someone responding to an ad campaign titled “Let’s Talk About Bums”. This is not the stuff of social upheaval and globalized to-the-moment news. This is a high school popularity contest for door-to-door salesmen. In theory, I could avoid this by only following interesting people with interesting things to say who aren’t interested in promoting their Twitter page. . . right? Right? Sure, if people cared about the quality of the Twitter feed, but this is about reach, so number is all anyone who cares about by Twitter page (business-wise) is going to be giving a red cent about. As anyone who’s written a book proposal knows, publishers and agents really want to know how many followers you have on these sites, so I do what I can to provide content for people to enjoy. Writing is a competitive field, so you compete however necessary. It’s not all bad. I click on links that are sometimes interesting, sometimes not, and I have the occasional fun or informative conversation, but by and large I dislike Twitter. It’s 500 million people all in one stadium together, all shouting at once. All sorts of cool stuff is going on there, but for every person that’s tweeting the meaning of life a thousand others are drowning them out beneath retweets of Miley Cyrus’ breakfast order, how many crunches they did today, and quotes from famous people erroneously attributed to other famous people. Basically, it’s a Frankenstein gestalt consciousness formed roughly half-in-half of people selling stuff and people with nothing interesting to do with their apparently copious spare time. The creature rising from beneath the clothe is one ugly brute, and the lightning that birthed him must have fried some wiring in the brain, because he’s got some sort of Ultra-Tourette’s. Not like the actual clinical version, but some sort of horrendously insensitive movie parody version played by Jim Carey.
Mostly what I do is make sarcastic comments on the Discovery Channel’s page to remind them of when they were the Discovery Channel, instead of just a place to show infinite reruns of shows about people screaming at each other while performing staged versions of extremely boring jobs, or airing “documentaries” about things that aren’t actually real. Because real sharks are boring and nobody cares about Shark Week. I also follow Adam Baldwin, because he’s literally every person he’s ever played on TV. By which I mean scary and so far out on the Right Wing that I can’t see him, even from where I live over on Libertarian Mountain. So it has its brighter sides. Don’t get me wrong. It’s got a silver lining–well, silver-ish. Whatever they make the buckets most users have got their heads stuck in out of.
Haha, Very Funny, But is it Worth It?
Well, that’s what really annoys me. From a marketing standpoint it’s fairly useless. Twitter has a conversion rate of .5%. One half of one percent. One in every two hundred people who see a link you post on there will click on it. That’s about a third the rate of, say, Facebook. Less, in my own personal experience. One thing it does do very well is amplify messages. So if you’re famous, and you tweet, “Haha, lol, #McDonalds shakes make me gassy!!!XOXOXO” about a thousand people will retweet that, and all their people will see it, and seconds later the entire internet has confirmed their opinion that whichever celebrity it originated from is dumber than a hammer that was dropped on its head as an ingot. (Because hammers have heads too! Get it?!) Anyway, in case you came here wanted something helpful (whoops!) I can tell you this much about whether or not Twitter is useful: It is, technically, just less so than every other major social media outlet. Like, Instagram has a higher conversion rate. So does Pinterest. Conclusion: PLZ RT!
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