A few months ago, The Atlantic published an article titled A Eulogy For Twitter. In it, the authors wrote:
“Something is wrong on Twitter. And people are noticing. Its users are less active than they once were. Twitter says these changes reflect a more streamlined experience, but we have a different theory: Twitter is entering its twilight. Twitter used to be a sort of surrogate newsroom/barroom where you could organize around ideas with people whose opinions you wanted to assess. Maybe you wouldn’t agree with everybody, but that was part of the fun. But at some point Twitter narratives started to look the same. The crowd became predictable, and not in a good way.”
The authors goes on to give their hypotheses for the decline. If you are–or have ever been–active on Twitter, the article is well worth the read.
I can relate to the points in the article–I’m not as active on Twitter as I used to be. Nobody died and made me spokesperson for the millions of people whose Twitter activity has declined, but here’s my take on the top 10 reasons why we’re less active on Twitter:
10. Because we don’t care what inspirational quote you came upon this morning that has you motivated to attack the day (especially when inspirational quotes are the only things you tweet);
9. Because we don’t care what cutesy thing your 5 year-old said this morning. I have three kids who have said what your kid said–at least twice–and my kids are all smarter, better looking, and more athletic than your kids;
8. Because we don’t care what the celebrity who just died meant to you;
7. Because we’re watching the same freaking soccer match you are, and we can see for ourselves that some guy just scored a GOOOOAAAALLLLL!!! (oh, and, that you apparently didn’t get the memo that now that the World Cup is over, nobody cares about soccer again);
6. Because we don’t care that the guy next to you on the bus, train, or plane is annoying (look in the mirror, jerkface);
5. Because out of the 25 links you retweeted in the past two minutes, we couldn’t care less about 24 of them, and the one we did care about we saw two hours ago, when the 1,000 other people we follow tweeted the link;
4. Because we don’t care about your loony-tune [right/left]-wing political views;
3. Because we really don’t care what those social media gurus that you worship and retweet incessantly have to say (and, anyway, didn’t their 15 minutes of fame pass long ago?);
2. Because we don’t need to read tweets of you retweeting someone else’s retweets of your tweets;
And the number one reason why we’re not as active on Twitter as we used to be…
1. Because you just don’t get it that Twitter is all about you paying attention to me, not the other way around.
The irony here is that, as a blogger, I live and die by Twitter. No one will read this unless you retweet the link to it (that’s not entirely true–there are 7 people who will read this on LinkedIn, and 4 who will get the entire post emailed to them). One retweet from an influential tweeter could drive hundreds of hits.
Seriously, though, I think a lot of the decline in activity can be explained by this: People aren’t getting what they want from the platform (as much as they previously did, or had hoped they would). For me, it’s a lot harder to have meaningful conversations than it used to be. That’s what *I* want from Twitter.
The authors of The Atlantic article wrote:
“For a platform that was once so special, it would be sad and a little condescending to conclude that Twitter is simply something we’ve outgrown.”
Sad and condescending maybe, but there is a lot of truth to that. But the opposite is just as true: Twitter has outgrown us.