It’s an understatement to say that I have mixed emotions about Twitter. One the one hand, I think it has tremendous value for some of my clients (mainly, obviously, those who have a critical mass of customers on Twitter), it helps me spread the word about resources I think deserve attention (including, selfishly, my blog posts and upcoming presentations), and I’ve seen how it can quickly turn a throw-away thought into something of lasting value. It’s also a great way to find out what’s going on right now, either in the world or in your specific network.
On the other hand, though, I think Twitter is only right for very few of my clients and a huge waste of time for the rest. (I’ll repeat here what I’ve said elsewhere: social media as a whole is right for just about every business, but Facebook and Twitter are bad choices for the vast majority of businesses.) I also strongly agree with Seth Godin’s position that Twitter is largely a drain on, and not a boon for, productivity when it comes to the things that matter most. And while it can help you keep pace with the zeitgeist, there are times when the zeitgeist isn’t really worth your attention (among the trending topics as I write this, for example: “Phineas & Ferb” and “#icantgoadaywithout”).
Given this ambivalence, it’s no surprise that a post published this week by Steve Woodruff, “5 Reasons Why Twitter Might Soon Be Dispensable,” caught my attention. Unlike me, Woodruff says he “loves” Twitter, but we share the same level of skepticism about Twitter’s viability. Like Woodruff, I have (incorrectly) “predicted the demise of Twitter in the past,” but his post makes me think that we may finally be right.
Woodruff’s “5 Reasons” include the practical (“Twitter still doesn’t have a stable and scalable business model”) as well as the provocative (“Twitter is basically dumb”). But the thing that perhaps presents the greatest challenge to Twitter is that, as Woodruff states, “People are reaching platform overload.” As new, multifaceted tools like Google+ emerge, will people still have time to Tweet? Will they still want to?
Personally, I stick with Twitter primarily because my clients ask about it so often, so I need to understand it and stay on top of changes and trends. But as far as my personal use of it goes, it’s not central to my social media strategy. And as I continue to consider the question, To Tweet or not to Tweet?, posts like Woodruff make me think it may become a moot point in the not-too-distant future.
What’s your opinion? Do you agree with the premise that Twitter has seen its best days? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments.