Thursday, August 7, 2014

Twitter: The Sarcastic Step-Child Nobody Wants to Take to Family Gatherings

What is Twitter?

Many people understand Facebook, or at least they think they do. But nowadays businesses can’t just be on Facebook. They have to tweet, pin something to a board, and create a Google+ and LinkedIn pages. It’s overwhelming. So let’s start slow.

What the hell is twitter and how do I use it? Twitter is an online social networking site. When you post something on Twitter it is considered microblogging. Instead of calling it a post like on Facebook, on Twitter you call it a “tweet.” The biggest difference between Facebook and Twitter is the size of your posts. On Facebook people can babble on forever and ever about their cat, job, or mother-in-law. I read that the character limit on Facebook is 63,206. I have never tested it out, nor should anyone. On Twitter though you are limited to 140 characters, which is why most Moms or adults could never have Twitter, because even their texts are three pages long. I almost wish my Mom did have a Twitter account though, because if she tweeted half the things that came out of her mouth she would be famous.

Linda Johnson 10:46 a.m. on 8/5/14 “Just told my co-worker I was going to open a can of whoop ass on him, and he knows I will. #SwearWord #OtherSwearWord"

Which brings me to my first and biggest point about Twitter:

1. Twitter is like the sarcastic step-child nobody wants to take to family gatherings. Why? Because people say things on Twitter they would never say on Facebook or any other social media platform. I’m not really sure why either. Maybe because of the illusions that since less people have Twitter, no one important will see it. There is also this feeling that people judge you more on Facebook versus Twitter. People are more willing to post pictures of a new boyfriend/girlfriend or a somewhat embarrassing photo of them drunk. It’s almost as if Twitter allows people to relax and be themselves without judgment.
2. Twitter is funnier. Hands down, no doubt about it, tweets are funnier than Facebook posts. Once again, I have no idea why, but Twitter is funnier. I think it goes back to this feeling of no judgment and being able to be yourself. If you don’t believe me read 21 of the most hilarious tweets of all time.
3. Because Twitter is laid-back and funnier, so are the businesses. I’ll be honest, the only time I follow a business on Twitter is because they’re funny, local, or giving out deals.

What does hashtag mean? A hashtag is a word or an unspaced phrase prefixed with the number sign ("#"). Hashtags make it possible to group such messages, since one can search for the hashtag and get the set of messages that contain it. A hashtag is only connected to a specific medium and can therefore not be linked and connected to pictures or messages from different platforms (Meaning just because you hash tagged something on Twitter doesn’t mean it will show up on Facebook).

The biggest times when hashtags come into play are events. Anytime you have an event like the #SuperBowl, #Grammys, or even TV shows like #TheVoice you will see that hashtag. Events, TV shows, movies, music artists, and anybody semi famous wants you to hashtag their name. By doing this you’re helping that event or TV show measure how many people are talking about or tweeting about them. It’s similar to word of mouth, except now you can actual measure it and collect data. The hashtag phenomenon is becoming very popular. Hashtags were mentioned in 57% of all the Super Bowl ads this year.

Twitter has had its struggles though. As of now Twitter has 271 million users, but this is nothing compared to Facebook’s 1.3 billion. For some reason, Twitter just has a hard time motivating people to actively participate. It could be the layout, the misunderstandings of “tweeting”, or maybe people just don’t have anything to say. Whatever the case may be, you will find that users of Twitter are more likely to engage with a business on Twitter versus Facebook. They are more likely to mention, retweet, or favorite brands than they are on Facebook. Why is this? For one, it is easier. To engage with a business you don’t have to go to their page, write on their wall, and then wait for feedback. With Twitter you can just tweet about a good or bad experience and the business will see it (If your tweets aren’t private). And second, I think it goes back to that judgment I was talking about earlier. If someone complains about a business on Facebook everyone will weigh in and either joins their complaint or stand up for the business and complains about the person who posted it originally. It can become very catty. With Twitter the conversation is usually between the business and the customer.

Next time, I’ll discuss the proper ways to tweet to increase engagement and all that good stuff. As for now, sign up for Twitter and start tweeting! Have fun!

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