When it comes to Twitter, there is a phrase I hear in social media circles that I don’t understand.
I don’t get Twitter .
To me, that’s equivalent to saying Google+ is a ghost town. As someone who is immersed in both, neither description is accurate, but both could also be true…
for some people.
140-characters of contradiction. On the one hand, it can be a confusing mess of @ mentions, RTs (retweets) and hashtags. Yet, it can also be an inspiring, networking and connecting tool.
Teams, leagues, athletes, brands have all flocked to Twitter. They search for that oft-elusive hashtag or campaign that will connect them with fans or customers in ways never quite imagined before. But, it’s not just fans and customers they are connecting with on Twitter. They’re also connecting with the segment of the Twitter population that helps make it what it is. The one segment that is the secret to its success:
One could argue all journalists, but my area of expertise is in sports. I’ve had a front row seat watching Twitter and the sports connection since 2009. It only continues to grow.
When someone wanted to get a story out, they connected with a newspaper/magazine writer or reporter, right? They would tell the journalist their story and the journalist would get that story out. Although times are changing, that is still the predominant method of telling one’s story.
Now take that same story and add in a journalist’s Twitter reach. Some have followers in the tens of thousands. Their reach isn’t just with their readers, viewers or listeners either. It’s also with other journalists. A simple retweet can have a reach in the hundreds of thousands within minutes. It can reach radio and television moments after that (millions can be reached).
Within moments of a story breaking (tweets and retweets), dialogue happens. Digging a little deeper into those tweets/retweets, you will often find a conversation taking place between journalists or journalists and non-journalists on that topic. Journalists bring a unique perspective to the news story. It’s no longer here’s the story as we know it and that’s the end. No. Twitter allows for continuing conversation after the initial report.
Let’s bring sports into this scenario.Sports journalists add knowledge, sources and opinion to the Twitter conversation that was previously unattainable to fans. No other platform allows for such dialogue between media and fans.
Fans crave that type of knowledge, especially during a live event. I have called Twitter the world’s largest sports bar for years, specifically because of what takes place during a live event. Watching the same sporting event, talking trash, commiserating, discussing strategies with other fans or media – only Twitter offers that experience.
Advertisers know this. Brands know this. And, television networks know it too. That’s why so much money is spent on advertising dollars each year for major sporting events. That’s where the fans are at. And, that’s where sports journalists are at too.
When you’re a sports fan, you crave that kind of access and sports-interaction. Facebook doesn’t offer it. Instagram, Snapchat and Vine are only broadcast mechanisms. Even my new favorite, Google+, doesn’t offer that access.
via Media Bistro
I know the numbers say there aren’t many active users versus number of accounts, but Twitter is also a news feed. You don’t have to be active to use it for sports news. Why? Because the sports journalists aren’t on the other platforms en masse like they are on Twitter. And, as long as they’re on Twitter, and fans crave sports news, its success will continue despite what the numbers say.
Until something better comes along, it’s here to stay.
But, we’ll just let that be our little secret, okay?
FINAL THOUGHTS: Each person’s experience on social media is directly attributable to how they use it. That includes who and how many people they connect with and the amount of time they spend on a platform. The last point is very important. To understand how to use a platform (best practices), one has to invest time on it. Many people think of Google+ as a ghost town or Twitter is confusing because they’re not willing (or can’t afford) to invest the time to develop relationships with people. Worthwhile connection and relationship don’t happen overnight in real life, nor do they on social media.
Social media is what you make of it. If you make the time, it will become what it is you seek.
Side note: That last statement was very Yoda-ish, yes?
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