Random thoughts about the reasons why Twitter is still a joke for a majority of citizens

by Laurent François

Guess what, I’m sometimes fed up with the Twitter-flavor of the month-killer application-Twisted by the pool (oops)- buzz.

Why that? Because everybody’s claiming that microblogging is THE major trend to get more and better information in 2009. The thing is that I really think that Twitter is still a spin-doctor / PR people / new marketing buddies’ stuff. The information you get online are not yet touching a wide diversity of topics. Except social media / marketing / new journalism, you don’t find enough value on Twitter. It’s even more true in France.

People who are on Twitter in Europe are mostly people working in marketing, communication, internet industry. If you want to target doctors, if you need information because you’re a fireman, if you just want to find interesting links if you’re “just” a normal citizen, you don’t find them on Twitter. (When I say normal, I don’t mean that marketing guys are not normal, haha).

The first limit can be social media experts. Funny to actively declare themselves experts of people who talk online, whereas everybody can potentially talk online. I know few of them, would I know them all? Anyway. Matt wrote an interesting statement:

“The funny thing is, many of the people that I would consider leaders in this space never say “social media expert” or something similar anywhere on their blog/profile/etc. People just know who they are.

So the problem is this: If experts lead the rest of us, and everyone is an expert, then who are they leading?”

The second problem is information bulimia, linked to “followers-finding”. Michael explains a Twitter-rule:

“Now the first symptom of this disease was what I call “social media deafness”, a state that occurs when a person’s social graph exceeds 500+ virtual friends. The result is that the person is a mile wide, but an inch deep. Suddenly the friend you use to know develops amnesia like symptoms and starts ignoring your direct messages — what was first simple Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder becomes full blown zombie like state.”

Too much of what is useless and not enough of what is important…Twitter is still a joke for the majority of citizens.

Even if the mechanism of microblogging is certainly the next step forward in new communication, it’s not yet mass, but niche. Then we have to be extremely careful when we propose a Twitter tactics : who and what do we want to reach?

“there’s a world outside”, as Eels sings…

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