The Continuing Ambivalence about Twitter

Or is it more a division of the house?

ambivalenceOf all of the social media platforms that have taken root, the one that seems to cause the most divided opinions among the marketing and communication specialists I know is Twitter.

… And these are the folks who have been diligent about “following the script” for crafting tweets that are interesting, informative, and get noticed.

Each social platform has its strong and weak attributes, of course … but I hear far more mixed views about Twitter than I do about Pinterest, Facebook and LinkedIn.

This is amply illustrated in a recent discussion that was started on LinkedIn’s B2B Marketing Group, of which I’m a member.

Joel Harrison, Editor-in-Chief of B2BMarketing.net, posed this question to the group’s members:

“If Twitter ceased to exist tomorrow, would we all be better off?”

This rather provocative query elicited a range of reactions pro and con – which was to be expected.

However, I was a little surprised that the comments were weighted roughly two-thirds negative about Twitter versus positive.

Remember, this is a discussion group made up of marketing professionals — people you’d expect to be keen on pretty much any established social platform that has an extensive following for marketing purposes.

… Which, even if you discount the ~30% of accounts that “fake, faux and farcical” – still makes Twitter qualify as one of the leading social media platforms.

But consider these comments about Twitter posted by members of the B2B Marketing Group on LinkedIn:

“16 characters solve this dilemma: ‘Don’t take part.’”

 “I once read a tweet that said, ‘This is the generation that had nothing to say, and said it.’ Sums it up pretty well.”

 “My target audiences … have not mentioned that they prefer to communicate on that channel, so until that happens, there isn’t much going on.”

 “I like the old BBC mission: ‘Entertain, inform and educate.’ If you don’t do any of that, I ain’t following.”

 “Useful as an additional channel for customer service and sharing experiences – if the customer wants it.”

 “It depends on the industry and the target audience.”

 “As a marketer, it’s useful.  On a personal level, it annoys the hell out of me.”

These statements don’t sound like a ringing endorsement of the platform, do they?

Of course, they were posted on a business-to-business discussion board, so presumably people were commenting based on their B-to-B perspective; consumer marketing opinions are likely somewhat different.

What are your opinions about Twitter? Based on your own experience, how important and how effective has Twitter been to your marketing efforts?  Is it a critical component … or is it just one more ornament on the MarComm tree? Please share your comments for the benefit of other readers.

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