Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
July 11, 2011 4:03 PM

Twitter Is Random

I'm not very good at Twitter.

I understand it. I use it. But, I just can't make it bend to my will. You have to know why you're doing something to really get the value out of it, and I've made a decision that while I love having so many people follow me on Twitter and I do love posting little snippets and thoughts that don't flesh out into ideas for clients or Blog posts or Huffington Post columns, that I'm not great at the real-time heat and action that comes from Twitter in how it has evolved. I'm not good at thanking all of the people who say kind things about me and I'm probably a little worse at responding to every question simply because when I finally get around to it, I feel like the Twitter feed has moved on. I'm pretty weak at the whole "public chat" that Twitter is and I'm humble enough to recognize which platforms work for what I'm trying to accomplish with my agency, Twist Image. That being said, Twitter is one of the best platforms for brands to do all of the above (and yes, they don't have an excuse like I do ;).

Twitter is not Facebook.

MarketingCharts ran a very interesting news item today titled, Tweeters More Engaged With TV Shows, that said:

"A considerably higher percentage of Twitter users who tweet while watching a TV show discuss the show they're watching than Facebook users who log in during a TV show, according to May 2011 data from The User Research Study indicates 50% of Twitter users discuss a show they are watching, one-third more than the 35% of Facebook users who discuss a show they are watching."

It makes a lot of sense.

If you're lazying around watching a TV show, odds are that you are flicking around on your mobile device too. Twitter's true innovation was that it was an equally great platform on mobile as it was on the Web... in fact, I would argue that Twitter is actually better on a mobile device than the Web experience. Facebook on mobile isn't so easy and simple (have you tried the Facebook iPhone and iPad app? Exactly). Beyond that, the types of interactions that work best on Twitter are those that are happening in real-time, whereas Facebook has that capability, it truly is something that can be enjoyed in a non-real-time environment.

Think about it this way...

If you were going to a concert, you might mention it on your Facebook status and you might even follow that up with a status update when you got home along with uploading some photos, but if you really wanted a digital experience to complement your concert experience, odds are you would not only be tweeting from the show, but following along with the hashtags as well (you just never know who you can meet or how much more fun a live event is when you can have a shared experience with others). Don't even get me started on how cool Instagram is when added on to that live experience.

Easy wins too.

Twitter allows you to publish those random thoughts on the fly, but they also made the platform incredibly easy. I'm not saying Twitter is better than Facebook. I am saying that Twitter is different from Facebook. That news item from MarketingCharts proves it. If there were no Twitter, I'm sure the activity on the Facebook status functionality would be on the rise, but Twitter is much easier for the randomness of life (and it's one of the main things people like about it - the serendipity of it all).

The question is will easy and simple always rule the day?

(and, for the record, I'm not all that great at Facebook either).

By Mitch Joel