What Happened to the Conversation of Twitter?

shutterstock_147826544Twitter is my favourite social network, or at least it used to be. In the past six months or so, my Twitter usage has taken a huge nose dive. At first I wasn’t really sure why, but as I’ve really started to analyze it, I’m starting to figure it out.

Nobody’s having conversations anymore.

There was a time when I used to be able to log on to Twitter at any time of the day and post something – a question, a photo, a link – and I’d generate some type of response. Maybe it would be a comment, maybe a few retweets. But something has changed. There’s just not the same level of interaction as their once was.

At first, I thought it was that maybe I’d become less interesting. While it’s true that I haven’t been blogging as much lately (that’s about to change, so hold onto your hats!), I don’t think what I talk about on Twitter is any more or less interesting than it’s ever been.

No, I think it’s that Twitter itself has changed. These days, I see a lot of people talking, but not a lot of people having conversations. It’s a lot more shameless self promotion, complaining, and nit-picking and a lot less “hey, how are you?”. Even in the mornings, which used to be my favourite time of day to log on, I’m seeing less and less of the usual suspects.

I find the whole thing rather frustrating. What was once a dynamic, vibrant, social place has become a desert of mindless marketing messages and inane information.

I really miss the conversation of Twitter. I miss the connections to others, and I miss the chit chat. In 2009, Twitter was one of the primary ways that my company drove new business. Now it’s just a place I check into once or twice a day without giving it much thought.

Is it just me? Or have you noticed the lack of conversation too?

Has Twitter changed? Or have I changed?

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  • July 7, 2014 at 10:14 am

    I was thinking about this recently. There are folks whom I miss from tweeting during television shows–particularly, Sweet Genius and Chopped.

    Sweet Genius has been canceled, and I’ve grown tired of the format on Chopped. We had good conversations and a few of those relationships have moved over to Facebook where it’s possible to have more extended conversations without all the clutter that’s on Twitter. And Twitter moves so doggone fast, I recall trying to start conversations with people, and didn’t know if their lack of response was due to disinterest or just missing my tweets.

    Also, I’ve had to get some perspective on this whole social media thing. For a while I was doing way too much and should probably consider deactivating dormant accounts.

    So, yes. In my own social media life, my Twitter usage has also taken a nosedive.

  • July 7, 2014 at 10:15 am

    Keidra, kdc it’d be interesting to get your perspective on this.

  • July 7, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    I agree completely, Suze.   Too much paid promotion or self-promotion.  I still log in for some entertainment value and grudgingly admit that the combo of Twitter and Facebook has pretty much replaced my use of a RSS reader.  Plus I do like to keep up with what my smart friends are doing….  but there’s a lot of chaff to sort through.  The other thing…  maybe this is just me but people seem a bit less likely to engage in conversation, especially if it’s not someone that they know well.  My 1.8 cents…

  • July 7, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    Your title caught my attention in my email. I know that I never used Twitter as directly through Twitter, I used Tweetdeck and loved that… but they broke it and though there is Hootsuite and others, I just find the magic gone. I use Facebook more but then I am also much busier than I was earlier and don’t spend much time anywhere most of the time. I will never fully give up Twitter but I lost connection with some people that I knew better there than anywhere else.

  • July 7, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    OzData Our habits do change over time, that’s what I’m learning!

  • July 7, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    MarkDykeman It’s certainly not like it was in the old days, Mark. But i guess I’m just feeling nostalgic…. 🙂

  • July 7, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    Julie Walraven Julie I think we all gravitate towards the tools that provide us the most value!

  • July 7, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    My experiences have been almost the reverse. Interactive moments on Twitter have increased even over the last six months for my own accounts and the ones that I manage. Facebook on the other hand, has turned into huge black hole for me. Perhaps it just has to do with the number and types of friends we have on the various social networks?
    At any rate, I’m really sorry to hear of the loss of interactivity for you on Twitter. And since I have no idea why our experiences diverge so much, I’m sure we’ll just continue to have the great conversations wherever we can find them. For me, they have been and continue to be on Twitter.

    • July 7, 2014 at 4:18 pm

      The ironic thing is, I have had some great conversations on Twitter, Facebook, email and in these comments today. Maybe it’s a matter of what I’m putting out there. Maybe I need to look at how I’m interacting. All in all, it’s been a learning experience!

  • July 7, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    I’m still finding a high level of interaction on Twitter.  A big difference though is an increase in the number of Favourites that my tweets receive (I equate this to the equivalent of a Like on Facebook) instead of a written reply. 

    Another thing that made a big difference for me was that recently went through the list of people I was following and did a major cleaning.  I wanted to focus my Twitter use on those people had really had shared interests.  For example, recently I’ve discovered dozens of amazing people in the WordPress community on Twitter.  

    I also moved all media outlets, journalists, etc. into a separate list in Tweetdeck, so that news (and often repeated from several sources) wasn’t creating a high level of noise around other conversations taking place in my feed.  At the same time, news is easily viewable one column over.

    I think Twitter is still a great network, as long as used right.

  • July 7, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    I agree! I think the driver is the platform itself. As Twitter changes to engage more users and grow it is swallowing the pool of tenured, frequent users. I have a simple math equation for Twitter… +2 new users = 1 new stale tenured account

  • July 7, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    Meant shallowing but swallowing works too I guess

  • July 7, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    Twitter is a service I’ve never found valuable. I’ve experimented several times but am always disappointed. I suspect it will end as a footnote in internet history.

  • July 14, 2014 at 8:38 am

    I was thinking about privacy and how much I share about my life online, and I have made some unconscious decisions to scale back doing that, and the thing that was affected the most? My Twitter conversation starting tweets. Now I find myself responding to tweets others start, and now most (around 98%) of my tweets are social activism RTs.

    I blame a lot of it on the Edward Snowden and NSA scandal for this conversation dive. We are now more aware, more cognitive of what we share and with whom online – and that’s a good thing – but it does have some unintended consequences.

    I’m also having issues with what to blog about. I bet I haven’t blogged in a month. I feel weird about that, but life is such that I’m not creating any content to blog about right now anyway, so I’ll continue holding down the ignore button until I’m good and compelled. Nothing is worse than inane junky blog fodder that no one wants to read, no matter how cute or quick to read and digest.

  • July 14, 2014 at 8:50 am

    I should also mention that every 6 months I clean out my Twitter follow lists and weed out the uber tweeters who seem to park themselves in front of their computers and tweet out every one of their tv review thoughts. Some nights this could mean upwards of 50 tweets from one user alone. Imagine when I have five or more people I follow that also watch that same show and also tweet their every thought and reaction. Oy.
    Thankfully with hagtags it’s MUCH easier to identify these offenders. I don’t have time to read 1000+ tweets every morning about #TheBachelor (major snore fest). I just don’t. And I don’t even have kids to tend to. Unfortunately for me, a lot of the people I used to love to talk to on the days when a show like that doesn’t air are the worst tweeting offenders who clog up my feed with that kind of garbage.

    I take the time to read the people who put out tweets I’m interested in only. That frees me up to daydream about recipe creations I want to work out in my mind before bringing down the kitchen as I turn each one into a reality.

  • July 28, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    Yes, agreed…a lot of “pushing out” of headlines/tweets, in a “talk to the hand” kind of way. Overall, I’ve been less active for about the last year and a half, but am currently getting back into it; this may also involve a closer look at who I follow and perhaps a better utilization of my twitter lists.

  • […] Susan has been on Twitter since March 2007. She’s wondering what happened to the conversation? […]



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