Is Twitter Becoming a Giant Ad Stream?

November 4, 2013
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Twitter is supposed to be about meeting interesting people and having conversation. At least that was what I loved about Twitter. I got to meet people from all over the world that I never would have met otherwise. There was nothing more exciting than having a dialogue with someone in Australia or Singapore, sharing ideas and passions around the globe was exhilarating.

But what happened to the conversation?

Of late, it seems like good old-fashioned chat is missing…all replaced by streams of brand messages, Twitter parties and giveaways. Yes, these are important to the survival of Twitter and it’s monetization and one can only imagine how much worse it will get once the IPO is finalized and even more focus will be put against sponsored content and adverting.

I wasn’t sure if it was just my imagination or something I was personally doing wrong, but I was missing the good old days when conversation was rampant. So I asked the question on Twitter.

The result? I blew up my Twitter stream for over an hour with many women voicing the same longing. I was not alone. We all longed for the days of chatting and sharing ideas, networking and meeting new people. The recent “Blue Line” feature did nothing, in my opinion to help conversation along. Most seasoned Twitter users know the beauty of hashtags for following group conversations so it added little value.

Twitter’s Challenge Will Be Balancing Profitability with Conversation

Twitter will need to create new tools that help balance dialogue, news, culture and real time ability to connect the world with advertising messages. If it turns into purely an ad stream, it will lose all credibility with its audience. And like all other advertising channels, users will tune out and ignore the advertising.

Brands leveraging Twitter’s dynamic stream need to balance sales and promotional messages with actual exchanges with their audiences that are personal and engaging.  Twitter parties can be great conversation vehicles if structured around topics that invite conversation that support what a brand stands for and are not just all about winning a prize.

If conversation leaves the Twitter stream, I believe that will bring about its demise and no amount of celebrity’s tweeting or advertising will save it.

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