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My Love Hate Affair With Twitter

Hi gang,

I really love twitter. Actually, I can’t stand it.  What a wonderful tool – and what a waste. I am so conflicted – I am the @chazbono of Twitter users.

I’m not going to take the time to explain to you what Twitter is, because you already know what it is.  It’s easy to spot someone (particularly news reporters) who doesn’t know Twitter because he/she will call it “The Twitter” or “Twittercom” or “Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) said on something called Twitter today….”

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So, everybody’s HEARD of Twitter at this point, but according to recent studies, only 8% of you actively use Twitter.  Moreover, Twitter has something like an 83% dormant account rate.  That’s a TON of people who sign up, play with it, and then quit.  You know why?

Because Twitters’ interface is AWFUL.  Twitter is a gigantic river of 140 character bursts of information and you don’t have a boat or a paddle.  You are a blind man stumbling around in a vast rain forest of data – sure, you can find what you want if you feel around long enough, but 83% of you just give up after a while.

The problem is that the data is BEAUTIFUL.  There are tons of great and interesting people on Twitter who want to share what they know with you.  Celebrities can give you a peek into their worlds like never before. Organizations can inform you about their products or services. News travels at light speed on Twitter – you can literally be on the ground with someone during an attack, or an uprising, or an earthquake the instant it’s happening.  I love Twitter for that…

…and I hate Twitter because it’s just too simple of an interface and too damn hard to figure out.  Who do I Follow?  How do I find Twitternames? Why do we type a # sign before a word when search finds it anyway? Why am I only shown the last 500 people I’ve followed when I try to send an @ message to someone?  How am I supposed to whittle down my thought to 140 characters? (Seriously, how much time is spent writing the thought vs editing the thought? 50/50% thought so.) How do I search my follower or following list? What do you mean I can’t send DM’s unless they follow me too?  Does anybody even use the DM’s anyway? Which URL shortener do I use? Pictures?  Is anybody even listening to me? VALIDATE ME DAMMIT! Waiter, check please.

EVERY marketing person you talk to about Twitter, after you explain your difficulty using it, will reply “Well that’s because you’re not using Twitter correctly.  Twitter is for starting conversations”.  If you don’t believe me, go ask anyone you know in marketing about using Twitter and see what they say.  In fact, “Twitter is for conversations” is the Free Space in Twitter Bingo. I mean, that’s awesome and all, but if I can’t figure out how to use it, guess what – I’M NOT GOING TO USE IT.

It all just makes me want to kick Twitters’ ass right in the face.

There are several other gigantic streams of information out there, you know.  One is called Google. Another is called Facebook. A third is called Wikipedia.  Then, of course, there’s the largest information stream out there, which is called The Real World.  None of them are perfect – all of them have their own unique problems.  Twitter is a treasure trove of valuable information, but let’s face it, folks:

Twitter needs a better way to find and share information, or it’s a Kardashian.

Kevin Harmon

CEO Red Shorts Media

Twitter: Imadness

Facebook: YesTHATKevinHarmon

LinkedIn:  thekevinharmon

kevin@redshortsmedia.com

About the Author: Kevin Harmon

Kevin Harmon is a freelance e-commerce business consultant and blogger. He is the former CEO of Inflatable Madness, LLC, one of the largest DVD and CD sellers on eBay and Amazon, and Red Shorts Media, LLC, which operated multiple e-commerce media buyback websites.

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