11 years of Twitter – What’s Next?
Do you remember your first tweet? Today, we remember the first-ever post on Twitter, penned by CEO Jack Dorsey on March 21, 2006: “just setting up my twttr.”
Twitter was created in 2006 (with the original name Twttr), by four friends who met working at a podcasting company. At the time, Dorsey said: “I want to have a dispatch service that connects us on our phones using text,” – and so, Twitter was born. Since Twitter’s founding, there has been major growth in competing social media platforms, drawing people away from the rapid-fire social media feed. From Facebook’s newest feature, Messenger Day (which allows users to incorporate stickers and filters in a 24-hour story), to Instagram Stories and Snap upping its game through the addition of facial and geo filters and the ability to save any snap taken to a memory, the social media world is changing daily.
And while it can be argued that Twitter has come a long way in 11 years, with more than 200 billion tweets now posted annually, the question still remains: Could Twitter become obsolete?
Twitter has earned the very important role of providing populations of all generations and demogrpahics the news all day, every day – and usually before any other medium. On January 15, 2009, a photo posted to Twitter broke the news of Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger’s US Airways flight landed on New York City’s Hudson River before any traditional news outlets, something that has now come to be expected. Now, we look to Twitter first when news breaks.
Twitter has continued to remain innovative, pushing live broadcasts with pro sports leagues and the US Presidential Debate last fall, and adding the Moments/Explore tabs to aggregate trending content for users.
As of June, 2016, Twitter had 313 million users, and the majority of them chime in through the mobile app. However, the number of Twitter users substantially lags behind Instagram (600 million) and Facebook (close to 1.9 billion). Much was made last year when news came out that Snapchat had more daily active users than Twitter, and more and more people are questioning the value of Twitter’s audience. Comparatively, there are 2.8 billion snaps created every day, versus only 500 million tweets.
In terms of Twitter demographics, 79% of online Americans use Facebook, 24% use Twitter, 31% use Pinterest, 32% use Instagram and 29% are on LinkedIn, according to a 2016 Pew Research study. Instagram and Facebook also attract more of a female following than Twitter which is almost even when comparing male to female use, according to the Pew study.
Twitter is much more populated with younger users than older adults. Approximately 36% of online adults ages 18-29 are on the social network (compared to 88% for Facebook, 59% for Instagram, 34% for LinkedIn and 36% for Pinterest in this all-important demo, according to Pew).
Twitter Tips for PR Practitioners
Even though many are predicting Twitter’s demise, here are 5 key ways you can still use this valuable platform in your social media marketing:
Twitter remains the go-to medium for reporters to gather leads and promote their stories. Communicating with the media through tags and direct messages is an effective complement to your public relations strategy, and can be bolstered by positive comments and retweets.
Targeting key community and industry influencers to request the promotion of news grows the reach of posts beyond traditional audiences. Providing those influencers with approved copy and creative assets is key.
Twitter allows for a large amount of volume for breaking news, as opposed to Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, each of which operates through an algorithm that encourages fewer, more-engaging posts.
Retweeting and interacting with other tweets offers the ability to create an online community without having to invest time and resources in original content creation.
Showcase an event or product by posting up to four photos in one tweet and tagging 10 people. Twitter also allows videos, with a time limit of 2 minutes and 20 seconds. And while GIFs don’t allow tagging, they offer another visually-appealing way to post on Twitter.