Fallen out of love with Twitter? Well, my industry column has.

On Feb 11 I made the spontaneous (and potentially premature) decision to stop twittering. Or let’s call it taking a serious break to re-evaluate. I joined Twitter during its geeks-only phase in April 2007 with the ground breaking statement “back to the office with Pascal” (what was your First Tweet?). I then let it rest for a year or so before picking it up once there were “enough people like me” on it. I ran several campaigns with it, including a gargantuan stream of more than 1600 tweets for Beck’s beer. And sat on the couch (among other places) staring at TweetDeck on my iPhone, trawling through links and private minutiae. And then I made this abrupt decision…which I promptly announced on Facebook. I couldn’t keep that to myself:
——-
Tim Buesing “just had a thought: how about I stop twittering? Would it even matter?”
——-
So except for a few automated tweets coming via my linked accounts of blip.fm, slideshare or this blog I have been silent.

  • I don’t really miss it.
  • Nobody has expressed missing me on there (so far).
  • It seems like I wasn’t alone in giving up.
My TweetDeck

My TweetDeck columns

My “Industry” column inside Tweetdeck fell from about 30 active, daily twitterers (out of 65) to about 5 – 10. Events such AIMIA awards or AdTech give it a “real-time info” jolt but it still feels slower. And recent converts like ex-SMH’s TheRealSamNorth got christened at The Digital Citizen meetup and instantly slacked off as well. Admittedly, that’s all very anecdotal evidence. But the people still twittering are mostly senior agency people with a vested interest in keeping the Twitter conversation going.

Is Twitter going 180 degrees back to (social) geekdom? I am happy for you to call me a traitor and prove me wrong with (Australian) stats but does it only work for real-time events and breaking news?

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6 responses to “Fallen out of love with Twitter? Well, my industry column has.

  1. Really interesting post mate. Oddly i wrote something similar in some industry press here in the Uk only last week about general social fatigue :

    http://is.gd/aJoFb

    Facebook has become the internet for an entire generation. It’s built in such a way that smart brands and advertisers can create content solely to play well in Facebook streams. So the battle has been won and the era of the flashy brand website is over as everyone instead tries to create content to be shared on Facebook.

    But in spite of Facebook’s emergence as the dominant force on the planet, a new trend is beginning to raise its head. As brands fight to get their voices heard and advertisers buy up every last pixel to peddle their wares, there’s the tiny sound of people quietly leaving.

    The numbers won’t show this yet, and people aren’t necessarily deleting their accounts entirely anyway. However, they seem to be not quite so in love with their old favourites. Some never update their status and haven’t uploaded a photo in more than a year.

    Maybe they were bowled over by the initial novelty factor and this honeymoon period was always going to fade. Or maybe it’s something more deep-rooted. Scientifically speaking, the human brain supposedly has a limit which means you can only have up to 150 real friends. That means those with 700-plus Facebook friends aren’t exactly tight with at least three-quarters of them. Being a friend has never meant so little.

    The fact is you can simply have too many friends and end up drowning in digital data. Scrolling through your Facebook profile can become a chore when you don’t even like, let alone care about, half the people on there. Reading reams of tweets by people you’ve never met complaining about the rain again can start to lose its allure by the sixth month too.

    Facebook is clearly aware of people drifting away from the site. If you’ve ever tried to deactivate or delete your account, you’ll see how keen Facebook is to persuade you to stay. It has also blocked ’suicide’ programmes, which changed your password and deleted your entire profile so you could never go back, no matter how tempted.

    No doubt it’s why Facebook blocked Burger King’s brilliant Whopper Sacrifice campaign, which was the best of the past decade. It tapped in brilliantly (and prophetically) to the idea of Facebook fatigue, so much so that it presumed you’d go as far as to ditch one of your friends in return for a greasy slab of grilled meat. An utterly superb mechanic which played perfectly in the social space by using the status updates to grimly notify those who’d been dropped of their impending doom.

    What a terrific idea: using social media’s brilliant ability to share enthusiasm in an instant, but to eat itself in the process.

  2. You can’t really say ‘I quit twittering and announced it on Facebook’ because, c’mon, there’s no difference. My tweetdeck pulls in my Facebook and I treat the status updates the same as other tweets. I don’t tweet much but I value lots of the other tweets. Less hype = less noise.

  3. I still follow a small amount of people but the number of tweets that come through has dropped dramatically lately. I agree with your decision though. Ive stopped tweeting from my phone and just in the late afternoon. I haven’t missed much. My google reader is much more important to me. I cant live without it.

  4. Thanks for your comments, guys. I guess this small social networking suicide feels pretty painless. And despite the hype I am not tempted to jack straight back in and FourSquare my every move.
    @James, kudos for the well-written column @Andy, good point about the interconnectedness of updates but I can’t see why Twitter would feel like “less noise”
    @Ash G Reader is like an old friend by now

  5. tim, james… nice posts. without really thinking about it I’ve found my desire to update anything waning of late. I just put it down to summer and being more interested in doing things in real life, than talking about it in the virtual. Seems there’s something more to it…

    Still, I still love the random and things I come across in twitter, friendfeed, etc… Maybe I’ll just turn into a social media veouyer (jesus… That how u spell it?)

    Cheers

  6. Hi Aaron, no doubt about it, there is beauty in the randomness. Just feeling like I am not short of finding links via other methods and without the “social expectation” of publishing, reaching out and responding that I feel on Twitter.

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