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Is Twitter Really Dead

Is Twitter Really Dead

In recent months, a number of major publications (including The New Yorker and Atlantic) have run articles all echoing the same provocative sentiment: Twitter is dead. Given the ever-increasing importance of social media, such a claim is not to be taken lightly. After all, BusinessTech declared nearly five years ago that social media accounts for 5.8 percent of all global GDP, and that number has only risen since.

Could such an important component of the social media scene really be fading from relevance? Most social media experts agree that it probably isn’t. In this article, we’ll explore a few of the reasons behind this misconception, and we’ll explain why Twitter is most likely here to stay.

A Brief History of Social Media

Take a look at the history of social media and you’ll understand why some people might be inclined to think that Twitter could have a shaky future: social media has certainly been a fickle industry. Here’s a brief history:

  • Way back before many of our readers may remember, there was Bulletin Board Systems were popular back in the 1980s and early 1990s, and allowed users to “call in” and leave messages via a live modem. Such communication developed a cult following that was all the rage: until suddenly, the internet became mainstream and BBS quickly vanished.
  • It’s no wonder why BBS vanished: the internet is actually really cool! The increased flexibility and ease of use that actual internet connection offers rendered bulletin board systems obsolete. Instead, new communities began to emerge that promised to connect users to people that they were already familiar with (as opposed to BBSs, which offered the romantic yet unsustainable notion of connecting with other unknown BBS enthusiasts.) Classmates.com arose and began connecting people with their old classmates; and sixdegrees.org popped up based upon the concept that all humans are connected to each other by a maximum number of six connections (that is to say, any random human being you meet is a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend!) These early social websites were on to something…but just exactly what that something was didn’t become clear until AIM.
  • AOL’s messaging service AIM is, without a doubt, the closest forerunner of modern social media. Though it has long since faded to the realm of obscurity and nostalgia, it is not long ago that AIM was the social heart of the internet. During the early 2000s, the service was the leading instant messaging application in North America; and it is popularly associated with the rise of the internet lingo: from emojis to abbreviations and everything in between.
  • AIM also marked the beginning of social media’s most chaotic phase. Within a few short years, AIM went from being unknown, to ruling the internet, and then sunk back into irrelevance. It was quickly replaced by sites such as MySpace and Tumblr. Though all three of those websites still exist, you are unlikely to read much about them on a mainstream social media blog. Instead, they have all managed to fill niche markets while giving way to the new kings of social media: Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc. This current generation of social has been around for a while, and most experts believe that those sites will remain very popular throughout the foreseeable future.

Why Today’s Social Media Royalty Appears Poised for a Long and Prosperous Reign

Given the tumultuous history of social media that we just discussed, it seems clear enough why the death of Twitter is a popular prophecy. The history of social media up to this point has been increasingly chaotic, so why not expect more of the same? There is just one little problem with that theory: the increasing amount of investment (both financial and intangible) that companies, organizations, and individuals are putting into Twitter. This is clearly an advantage that AIM, Sixdegrees, BBSs, and every other forerunner to modern social media did not enjoy. For example, Twitter has recently been awarded the right to stream events ranging from NFL games to The Walking Dead episodes to new editions of Top Chef.

Even politicians have gotten in on the game, as Twitter has become home to a number of heated (and, let’s be frank, oftentimes entertaining) exchanges between prominent lawmakers and potential officeholders. To borrow a phrase often quoted in politics, Twitter is simply “too big to fail.” With the amount of money and social capital invested in Twitter, it is just plain impossible to ignore. Perhaps that’s why many news organizations now reveal breaking stories not via morning papers or special broadcasts–but through Tweets.

Last but not least, Twitter is now a leader in the marketing industry because the use of hashtags and short, focused microblogging has become enormously helpful when it comes to branding. Remember that impressive statistic from the beginning of this article regarding the overall value of social media to the global economy? The vast majority of that value comes from marketing, and Twitter fills a very specific role in the online marketing world. Regardless of any complaints people may have about Twitter (some of which are completely legitimate) the overall functionality of Twitter is only increasing, not decreasing; and that will ensure that Twitter remains extremely important even as new social media websites creep their way toward popularity.

Taking Advantage of All Twitter Has to Offer

If you personally get the feeling that Twitter is dying, there is a good chance that you are not using it to its full potential. This is understandable: with so much conflicting information and ever-evolving notions of what makes social media effective, it’s easy to get lost and/or frustrated. Thankfully, solving such problems what social media assistants are all about!

 

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