While Facebook started its reign of dominance a considerable amount of time ago, if there is one social media platform that has stood up and been counted in this decade it might be said to be Twitter. Twitter has proved that social media platforms are capable of evolving much in the same way as products and the customers that buy them.
There was a time when we would go on Twitter simply to check the timelines of celebrities and see what they had been doing with their lives. Music, sport and other areas of personal interest all lent themselves perfectly to the platform. But the fact remained that Facebook was seen by many as the channel for ‘everyday people’ to communicate through.
That has all changed, thanks in no small part to a new younger generation of Twitter users, that like their idols in the worlds of sport and pop, want to chart their every move on the network. Significantly, their friends are using Twitter too, so they get the ‘likes’ and the retweets which mean Twitter has more of a community feel and is not simply for fans to worship their heroes.
Taking the lead from celebrity icons, Twitter has become the place to share photos, either from Instagram accounts or directly onto the platform after photo sharing was made possible back in 2011. It’s often said that a photo ‘can say more than a thousand words’ and, in the age of the selfie, this has grown to be even more pertinent.
Like Facebook, Twitter has grown thanks to our increasing attraction to taking photographs and viewing the photographs of others. The 140 character limit and emphasis on high impact content which Twitter encourages has pointed the social media compass even further in the direction of imagery, and is a big reason for its success.
What’s the News?
Another factor which seems to be central to the growth of Twitter is its current use as a news source, both by the people that write the news, and the people who read and view it. Many journalists now use Twitter as their ‘go to’ source for leads, tracking the feeds of the rich and famous for information that could hint at a new development, while Twitter provides them with a good opportunity to ‘tease’ a story before it is even published.
Taking the United States as a snapshot, a study conducted in May 2016 by the Pew Research Center in conjunction with the John S. and James L. Knight , discovered that no less than 62% of Americans now get their news through social media. In the land where television rules, this is a remarkable development.
Twitter for Brands
In 2014, research from Simply Measured found that engagement with brands over Twitter in the last quarter of 2014 was up by 83% on the same period for the previous year – that’s a good indication of how the big brand names have made their presence felt over Twitter, and that users have lapped up their output. It would now be practically unheard of for a major product launch or company marketing campaign to be conducted without a significant noise being made on Twitter, and this looks to be a big factor in the continued growth of the channel going forward.
Along with the likes of Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and more recently Snapchat, Twitter looks set to remain as part of our staple social media diet. Its ability to change and move with the times is largely down to the freedom of expression it gives its users, so as we celebrate the 10th anniversary of Twitter this year, here’s to another decade filled with 140 characters!