To Twitter or not to Twitter? July 13, 2015

To Twitter or not to Twitter?

According to the 2013 Yellow Social Media Report by Sensis, 15% of Australia’s social media users are on Twitter. This compares to 95% of social media users who are on Facebook. Given that Facebook is only 2 years older than Twitter, we wondered why it has not caught on in the same way. What are the barriers stopping Joe Average from using it? We asked Cafestudy panel members if they use Twitter, and if not, why not?

Twitter is a mystery to many. They ask – what is the point of it? It would appear that plenty of people have set up a Twitter account and then don’t really know what to do with it. After a few vague attempts at tweeting they give up and revert back to Facebook.

Several panel members cite their main reason for not using Twitter as being that they don’t want their thoughts out there for everyone to readbut interestingly they are OK with sharing personal stories and photos on Facebook. And unlike Facebook, Twitter profiles only show one side of the conversation, which another respondent described as ‘hardly socialising.’ The limit of 140 characters also puts some people off.

There is a perception that Twitter is a self-promotional tool used by extroverts and attention seekers, or those with too much time on their hands. One respondent says “I find it to be a vain expression by a lot of insecure people intent on expressing uninteresting facts about themselves.” Another respondent describes it as “a little narcissistic.” Of course there are also some who do use it, and those that do mainly use it to track breaking news as it happens, to check sports updates, as well as follow celebrities. Those with their own businesses use it as a promotional tool. However the majority of respondents in our study were not Twitter users and the most common reaction was to just brush it off immediately as ‘just another social networking site.’ ‘It’s not for me’.’I don’t have any reason to go on it’..’what is the point of it?’

And it is not getting the point of it which is interesting. There is undoubtedly a link between this lack of understanding and the overwhelming perception of Twitter as just another pointless social media site. Their barriers are up – ‘it’s not for me’ – because they don’t really know much about it and how to use it.

The benefits of Twitter are obvious to brands and promoters, but perhaps if the benefits to consumers were easier to understand, and the site was more user-friendly for newbies, perceptions would shift. If Twitter is to be the most effective promotional tool for brands and businesses that it can be, it is vital that the general public are all on board and clearly understand its benefits, as well as how to use it. Otherwise it will continue to be the domain of just 15% of the social media population, rather than maximise its potential as a mainstream social media tool.

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