Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
November 21, 2008 9:25 PM

The Twitter Tragedy - Lost In Live

It doesn't really matter how many people are following you on Twitter. What really matters is how many people actually see your tweets. The two are not at all related, and this one major factor is why Twitter should never replace a Blog or anything else you are doing in the online channels. Twitter is a live channel and once that moment is gone, it's gone. Just like that radio program you just missed.

This seems to be one of the biggest challenges that most Marketers don't want to discuss about Twitter. Even though all tweets are archived, searchable and indexed by the search engines, the amount of people that actually dig into the archives or search for past tweets is probably smaller than minimal. On top of that, the only way to look back on someone's Twitter history is by date. There are no categories, tags, etc... The value of this content is low because it is staggered, messy and not all that search friendly (and even if it was, the context is all but lost if you are not in that moment of when it was first created).

This does not mean that you should not use Twitter.

It just means that even though someone is following you, there is a big chance that they never see any of your tweets simply because when they are on Twitter, you may not have posted a tweet in and around the same time that they are there. There's something else: Twitter works best when the people following you are actually not following that many other people. The more people they are following, the more likely it is that your message will get lost in the shuffle (if they even see it at all).

Here's the Twitter tragedy: the content is live, short, fast and has no long tail.

Many people have abandoned their Blogs and other channels for the immediacy and ease-of-use of Twitter. It is, without a question, a different type of communication, way to connect and place to build community, but it is not an alternative and should not replace anything else you are doing in these social circles. If you're looking for a quick and easy way to keep consumers in your loop, answer individual questions or post quick blurts about what's going on, then Twitter makes it easy to publish. But, the content is next to useless for any other consumer who is searching for the same answer at a later point in time.

Twitter is cool, fun and a very interesting place to post, follow and engage in some great chitter chatter, as long as you remember: on Twitter people don't see you because you've left messages. They only see you when they are there. Also, unlike like Blogs - where posts that are older get more search engine love due to traffic, linking, etc... Twitter is the opposite: the newer and fresher and more frequently updated tweets are the ones with all of the value.

What an amazing Twitter it could be if you could properly archive tweets, organize, sort and search them more efficiently (beyond Twitter Search).

Do you think Twitter is more than an "in the moment" channel?

(hat-tip to Julien Smith).

By Mitch Joel