PDA

View Full Version : Hello in there! Is Twitter dead?



Gale Haut
10-19-2015, 06:40 PM
In my morning blog reading rampage, I came across this article on Twitter's steady yet shocking decline that includes a theory for why:



Here’s my tiny theory, in a word. Abuse. And further, I’m going to suggest in this short essay that abuse — not making money — is the great problem tech and media have. The problem of abuse is the greatest challenge the web faces today. It is greater than censorship, regulation, or (ugh) monetization.

[...]

We once glorified Twitter as a great global town square, a shining agora where everyone could come together to converse. But I’ve never been to a town square where people can shove, push, taunt, bully, shout, harass, threaten, stalk, creep, and mob you…for eavesdropping on a conversation that they weren’t a part of…to alleviate their own existential rage…at their shattered dreams…and you can’t even call a cop.

Read the full article here (https://medium.com/bad-words/why-twitter-s-dying-and-what-you-can-learn-from-it-9ed233e37974).

My own observations of Twitter are confirmed in this article, but I'd rather come here and ask about your experiences. Do you find yourselves benefiting in marketing your writing on Twitter? How?

Does it feel more like a to and fro where you are either tweeting within a circle jerk of other authors or you find yourself in the throes of heated verbal warfare?

Without pre-exisiting celebrity novelist status, is Twitter still relevant to marketing fiction?

Is it time to move on to a newer and less toxic environment?

Evangeline
10-20-2015, 04:53 AM
With regards to this article, I find it a little baffling. I don't follow people, entities, or organizations that make me unhappy. This even includes muting people or hashtags for things I feel passionate about, but have become toxic. If you don't want to be part of a hive mind, then spread your Twitter use far and wide, across the various things you're interested in, not just whatever profession or group you identify as.

With regards to the book world: Twitter is not for book marketing and it never has been. Yes, books (and TV shows) have been created from Twitter accounts, but it's a one-in-a-million opportunity. And the accounts are so culturally/time specific, it's difficult to quantify if Twitter led to success or if it was the topic (it could have been a hit as a blog).

I've been on Twitter since 2008 and it's marvelous for connecting with resources, with having a laugh, and in general, being a great method of procrastination. Book recommendations on twitter work exactly as they do on any other medium of reader-reader communication: from trusted people/sources. Going on Twitter to sell books is not only obnoxious, but a waste of time. Make connections. Be friendly. Tweet about things that matter to you.

The only people who moan about [insert social media network] dying are those who

andiwrite
10-20-2015, 05:29 AM
I wouldn't say that I'm on Twitter to market my writing. I just love Twitter. And I don't think it's dead, dying, or anything close to it. :) There are tons of active users on there.

Gale Haut
10-20-2015, 06:37 AM
With regards to this article, I find it a little baffling. I don't follow people, entities, or organizations that make me unhappy. This even includes muting people or hashtags for things I feel passionate about, but have become toxic. If you don't want to be part of a hive mind, then spread your Twitter use far and wide, across the various things you're interested in, not just whatever profession or group you identify as.

With regards to the book world: Twitter is not for book marketing and it never has been. Yes, books (and TV shows) have been created from Twitter accounts, but it's a one-in-a-million opportunity. And the accounts are so culturally/time specific, it's difficult to quantify if Twitter led to success or if it was the topic (it could have been a hit as a blog).

I've been on Twitter since 2008 and it's marvelous for connecting with resources, with having a laugh, and in general, being a great method of procrastination. Book recommendations on twitter work exactly as they do on any other medium of reader-reader communication: from trusted people/sources. Going on Twitter to sell books is not only obnoxious, but a waste of time. Make connections. Be friendly. Tweet about things that matter to you.

The only people who moan about [insert social media network] dying are those who

First, of all thanks for sharing. You have the right attitude about it, and, honestly, I would never suggest social media marketing is a form of direct marketing like sales or a billboard. I also, don't see where that's said in my OP or from the article. The article is more a reaction piece to the drop in monthly active users between early 2015 and now.

The numbers don't lie. The actual MAU reports are way down on the platform from Q1 this year. And when I talk about my experience, which is admittedly anecdotal, it looks to me that most people included in the MAU reports aren't really engaging with content but just automating links shares anymore. At work, I've been having to devote way more resources to keeping our accounts active compared to Facebook, and the amount of web traffic from the platform remains ridiculously low compared to Facebook.

I'm pretty sure if the way Twitter evaluated MAU were based on link engagement vs. links shared, then the decline would be far more extreme, which is definitely an important thing to consider if you are a self published author devoting time to the platform.

Polenth
10-20-2015, 04:49 PM
I don't find Twitter any more or less useful than it was a few years back. There isn't an alternative that I find as useful as Twitter. Which isn't to say vast sales follow me whenever I tweet, but it's the best place to chat and meet people. I also see a lot of submission calls there.

However, I do think they need to work on their abuse policies. And how blocking works. When someone blocks someone, it really should remove everything about that person... including other people replying to them, retweets, follow recommendations and anything else the person blocking might see. Yet I regularly see people complaining that stuff by the person they blocked is making its way into their feed. Not the direct replies, but some of that indirect stuff.

Gale Haut
10-20-2015, 07:16 PM
I also see a lot of submission calls there.

Do you see engagement with the submission calls? Do the social media managers appear to be present and well informed?

It's interesting to me because recently I had a negative experience with a publisher on Periscope (for those who don't know Periscope is also owned by Twitter). I got a notification that they were broadcasting for the first time. I was the only person watching the livestream, and basically the woman on the other end of the phone was just asking me questions about the platform. She got bored and cut off before I could type my last response. It was crazy rude and taught me how not to use Periscope if I were broadcasting.

I think my point is, that link sharing on Twitter often feels automated and not present and it seems to be permeating the general atmosphere. I don't really use Twitter as a general user, but plan to if I start publishing, which is why I'm here to get your opinions.


However, I do think they need to work on their abuse policies. And how blocking works. When someone blocks someone, it really should remove everything about that person... including other people replying to them, retweets, follow recommendations and anything else the person blocking might see. Yet I regularly see people complaining that stuff by the person they blocked is making its way into their feed. Not the direct replies, but some of that indirect stuff.

Agreed!

ElaineA
10-20-2015, 08:21 PM
I'm so not-savvy with social media, but I do love Twitter for a lot of the reasons Evangeline lays out. However, I do find myself annoyed by over-indulgence in link-sharing. Even when it's done with a sort of psuedo-personalized note. Like "Thanks for this post." You know, the generic-sounding ones. Link shares that are truly personal, I'm fine with, even if they're a bit of promotion. (Janet Reid is good at this, offering a little "why it's relevant to you" commentary with the link-share)

I follow a start-up line of an established publisher I wanted to sub to. They seem quite dedicated to building a following focused on their line, though it looks to me like they are stepping cautiously, carefully. Now that they have more books in the pipeline, they are doing more directing to their authors' blogs, etc, but they haven't exchanged that for what they had been doing. Their SM engagement person is very interactive and responsive on replies/favorites/RTs, their content is focused on their core sphere, and they're good with humor. They tweet and RT things they know will appeal to their audience (photos, mostly) and often find a way to tie them to whatever they have going at the moment. So, frex, there was an anthology call, and they might tweet out a photo related to the theme of the anthology. That kind of thing. And not overdoing it, rather, as an occasional (and pleasant-to-see ;)) reminder to authors who might submit. I assume they will do the same as the release-date for the anthology nears, to build anticipation.

The thing is, I don't see a platform out there to replace what Twitter does well. I find FB overwhelming so I haven't learned to refine it, I guess, and so I'm not on it. There was a poll out yesterday that Instagram is the platform of choice for the under 30 crowd. My son tells me social=photos, that's what they all want. But obvs, IG doesn't provide any back and forth possibility. And I'm not sure where we would find a true social media space that wouldn't eventually turn toxic. Seems to be the way of things.

Polenth
10-20-2015, 10:13 PM
Do you see engagement with the submission calls? Do the social media managers appear to be present and well informed?

It's interesting to me because recently I had a negative experience with a publisher on Periscope (for those who don't know Periscope is also owned by Twitter). I got a notification that they were broadcasting for the first time. I was the only person watching the livestream, and basically the woman on the other end of the phone was just asking me questions about the platform. She got bored and cut off before I could type my last response. It was crazy rude and taught me how not to use Periscope if I were broadcasting.

I think my point is, that link sharing on Twitter often feels automated and not present and it seems to be permeating the general atmosphere. I don't really use Twitter as a general user, but plan to if I start publishing, which is why I'm here to get your opinions.

A lot of calls are posted by the editors who'll be reading for the calls. So yes, there is room for engagement, as it's a lot more casual on Twitter. People feel they can ask questions, much more than if the only contact is the submissions email address. The same goes for some agents too, as they do stuff that encourages people to talk to them. Only really the bigger publishers have social media managers, and even there, the editors likely have their own accounts too.

Calls also get posted about by writers. Which means people will talk about their experiences with the publisher. Twitter often knows if a publisher is a bit shady before it appears elsewhere. Again, because it's a more casual environment. It's easier to tweet saying they were rude to you, than it is to sign up to AW and post in bewares or write out a blog post about it. I also think it helps that people can share seemingly minor things, as sometimes they realise it's been happening to everyone and isn't so minor.

M.N Thorne
10-21-2015, 12:17 AM
Actually, I come from a different background than most authors but Twitter is not dying off. In fact, is a pretty great way to market yourself and engaged with other writers. Last year, I received many great freelance erotica writing opportunities via Twitter. So, the stock might be dropping off but it is not dying. However, I do not engaged in negativity on Twitter because I used it for business.

NateSean
10-21-2015, 01:23 AM
If Twitter is dead than Los Angeles is a small town. Twitter isn't going anywhere, unless they do something incredibly stupid like increasing the character count. (We already had a social networking site that increased it's character count. It's called Facebook.)

Gale Haut
10-21-2015, 05:54 AM
If Twitter is dead than Los Angeles is a small town. Twitter isn't going anywhere, unless they do something incredibly stupid like increasing the character count. (We already had a social networking site that increased it's character count. It's called Facebook.)

Actually yes. They are going to do that last I heard.

NateSean
10-21-2015, 08:26 PM
I heard they were only discussing it. But if they go through with it, then I predict Twitter will ultimately fall, as no one will want to see a book length tweet.

Gale Haut
10-21-2015, 09:16 PM
As far as I know, it's only in DMs. Maybe this will move into the public sphere. Who can tell as things are constantly changing on all these platforms. http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/science-technology/584001/Twitter-Direct-Message-Changes-140-Characters-Update-CEO-Dick-Costolo

juniper
10-22-2015, 09:54 PM
The only people who moan about [insert social media network] dying are those who

Are those who WHAT? :Shrug:

I've been on T for years and so has my cat. Rarely look at it, either of us. She has the time but no interest apparently. T seems designed for people who can either keep it streaming in a window on their computer or have time to check it frequently. I'm not able to do either. It just moves so fast, like a stock ticker. I just can't keep up.

Interfaced
12-04-2015, 08:24 PM
Interesting article, with some good points although quite a bit of self-important hyperbole as well!

I think that the atomisation of Twitter into different -ists is definitely a real trend (almost inevitably really), but that's usually not a negative. What it often means is that you can get to know other people in your particular subculture or interest group, and from there build really quite strong bonds that can lead to a lot of connection and collaboration.

The abuse issue is real, and a valid thing to point out particularly when it comes to the response from the tech companies themselves who have been very slow to move on it. It's a difficult issue, and a serious teething problem for social media at the moment (although we kind of seem to be emerging out of the worst of it?).

These platforms evolve over time, and Twitter does seem to be going through a transitional period at the moment where people are trying to find new ways to use it productively. Not all platforms survive, as we all know, so it will be interesting to see what Twitter matures into and whether or not something (or a multitude of somethings) will take its place.

Max Vaehling
12-05-2015, 02:08 AM
The abuse thing isn't unique to Twitter, though. Funny, I don't see many posts about how Facebook is dying.

Twitter amkes it fairly easy to moderate your input, to the degree of completely remaining within your own opinion bubble. My only direct comparison is Facebook, where subscribing to a page's posts does not mean you get them, blocking posts means you get them some other way, and I had to uncheck those 'one year ago' reminders, then stretch the time frame I didn't want to be reminded of to some time before I joined FB - some time next year, and only when I put myself on the list of people I don't want to be reminded about did they stop.

It's possible that Twitter is more of a special brew whereas FB caters to a broader audience. It's also possible that FB's ubiquity (? Ubiquitousness? Being all over the place) makes it more so. It's why Google+ never really took off except in very specific circles. So I guess it's worth keeping an eye on. But I doubt it'll just go away altigether any time soon - like special brews, those who love it love it.

jenmcf
12-12-2015, 11:01 PM
Finding that engaging in conversation on Twitter is becoming more difficult. It's now a self-promotion free-for-all. Seems the most obnoxious spammy tweets have the most re-tweets and likes. I don't get it.

ACAuthors
12-20-2015, 09:47 PM
I'm new to twitter, but I find that it's not all that helpful for marketing. It's hard to find a voice in the sea of shouting.

patskywriter
12-21-2015, 03:04 AM
For me, Twitter has grown in existence since I've gotten into livestreaming (Twitter owns Periscope).

WriterBN
12-21-2015, 10:02 PM
Finding that engaging in conversation on Twitter is becoming more difficult. It's now a self-promotion free-for-all. Seems the most obnoxious spammy tweets have the most re-tweets and likes. I don't get it.

Those are the ones being retweeted by "tweet teams" (or street teams) and by paid retweet/like services.

Gale Haut
01-06-2016, 06:11 PM
Update on this issue. (http://recode.net/2016/01/05/twitter-considering-10000-character-limit-for-tweets/)

Sounds like they are getting serious about upping the 140 character limit to 10,000 characters.

ElaineA
01-06-2016, 06:57 PM
Yes, and there was a great deal of negative reaction around the Twittersphere yesterday. Agents and editors were aghast (understandably) at the possibility of full pitches and query letters, even chapters, being sent via Twitter. I know I wouldn't read such a long "tweet" (Can we really call them that anymore at that length?), and the potential for abusive screeds is enormous. I don't get it, honestly. With a "read more" button, I can see how the "goods" will be saved for after the first first 140 characters--an enticement to read on, which will really defeat the purpose of Twitter altogether for me. Makes me sad, because Twitter is the only social media platform I'm really comfortable with.

Jeff C. Stevenson
01-29-2016, 12:00 AM
I love the Twitter! Especially when the Republicans have debates, it's pretty hysterical, the comments and asides.

But I use it and get off, I don't spend hours looking around, but pick up 8 to ten followers a day so I'm stumbling along with it and like it more than FB. https://twitter.com/FortneyRoad

VeryBigBeard
02-05-2016, 11:49 PM
I think if I wanted to get someone to market my stuff over Twitter I'd want someone who could spell clout properly. Being a writer and all, yeah?

I'm having a bit of trouble parsing what's on offer there. Am I signing up to have my book spammed to a bunch of bot followers which will garner virtually no sales or am I getting a premium package that gets me sued for libel by one of the biggest publishers in the industry?

Hootsuite is the standard tool for automation on Twitter, but even then it's not automation that's going to sell books. It's genuine and intelligent engagement with the reading community and having written a good story. Celebrities and follower counts have little to do with it. Many extremely successful writers don't tweet at all. Why would that be?

If you're interested in helping writers market effectively, I suggest you start by reading the legendary "How to promote your book like an intelligent human being and not an SEO dweeb" (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?241431-How-to-promote-your-book-like-an-intelligent-human-being-and-not-an-SEO-Dweeb) post and then spend some time just soaking up the knowledge in the Book Promotion sub-forum where a lot of people who have been doing promotion very well for a very long time in this industry have shared a lot of their knowledge, all for free. It's an incredible resource.

WriterBN
02-06-2016, 09:10 PM
Ironically, the top trending hashtag on Twitter this morning was #RIPTwitter. It was prompted by a few news articles claiming Twitter planned to use an algorithm to display posts on a user's timeline, as opposed to chronological order. I didn't see any substantiation of the article, but it was enough to trigger the shitstorm.

CaoPaux
02-06-2016, 10:49 PM
I think if I wanted to get someone to market my stuff over Twitter I'd want someone who could spell clout properly. Being a writer and all, yeah?

I think s/he was touting Klout, the social media ranker. Not that it helps his/her case ....

VeryBigBeard
02-07-2016, 12:24 AM
I think s/he was touting Klout, the social media ranker. Not that it helps his/her case ....

I've never heard of it, but that's not that surprising as I don't usually pay much attention to the more arcane parts of social media culture. I, uh, can't really go back and check the context it was used in, but apologies for misreading.

How does a social media ranking tool even work? I get it on the surface, but every social platform fosters a different community and different vibe that comes primarily from the UX design and which is then extended and expanded by the way users use it, which is hard to predict.

CaoPaux
02-07-2016, 02:47 AM
Therein lies the rub. :hat: Here's one author's take on it: http://whatever.scalzi.com/2011/11/14/dekloutifying/

VeryBigBeard
02-07-2016, 03:08 AM
Social media platforms' customers are not users. Their customers are the business partners who either receive eyeballs or who get promotion relative to how many people your account can be hijacked to connect to.

It is, in its simplest form, multi-level marketing. Except you don't even have to knock on other people's doors with a flyer.

Nor is it all that hard to track actual social media influence, though it's usually easier to start with a particular trend and find its origin points. Tedious work, but often very revealing about what we think virality is.

I keep wanting to pull-quote parts of that Scalzi piece but if I did that I'd eventually end up copying all of it, so I'm just going to bookmark it for use in future discussions of social media in which I begin to feel sad for the human race.