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Is Twitter a Chat Room?

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Twitter is so noisy

Anyone on Twitter has heard it all before- “Twitter is too noisy,” “Twitter is just a big pointless chat room,” “Twitter is stupid,” and “no, I won’t use Twitter, now get off my lawn.” Once fully immersed into the social microblogging network Twitter, people start sounding like that guy who used to weigh 400 pounds but lost 200 and now looks like an after picture. That guy wants everyone to join him in his fabulous weight loss quest and it comes up in every single conversation you have with him.

So what? If there was a magic pill that cured obesity, don’t you think everyone would be talking about it? If there was a magic social network that bridged all others and was growing like crazy wouldn’t it be prudent to look into it? The 2008 social media statistics were just released: Twitter grew 752% in 2008 which is the equivalent of 400lb guy losing 350lbs- it’s insane.

Still not convinced?

No? I wouldn’t be either because those are just numbers, right? I mean, who cares that Twitter has a fairly well educated, high income demographic? Who cares that it is a naturally informal place conducive to genuine connections that offers up a trust relationship at a break necked pace? Who cares that Twitter is catching up to Facebook in monthly traffic? Who cares that moms, athletes, Realtors, lawyers, CEOs, java programmers, journalists and Shaq all congregate somewhere that people let their hair down on a level playing field? Who cares that the same people calling Twitter a waste of time actually spend their time ON Twitter? Who cares that the use of Twitter leads to “tweet ups” where people take these relationships offline and often to a business relationship? Who cares that in many cases, Twitter has replaced texting and email? Who cares that 70% of users joined in 2008, and are new just like you?

Twitter is not a chat room although it has some of the same functionality. Twitter may some day evolve into something else and we understand that Twitter is just a tool or a vehicle, but the culture of open and instant communication will live on regardless of the forum. If you’re not on Twitter, it can feel like a giant chat room at first because the age of early adoption is over and many users are well established in the network and “speak” accordingly. You don’t have to use Twitter, but if you do, you’ll be the formerly 400lb guy in no time talking about the amazing connection potential.

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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26 Comments

26 Comments

  1. Marvin Jensen

    January 26, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    Twitter is noisy, but it works!

  2. Jack Leblond

    January 26, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    Twitter can be noisy. But, like many things you get out what you put in. Noise in, noise out. Valuable conversation in, valuable conversation out.

  3. Erion Shehaj

    January 26, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    I think Twitter can be noisy if people are not selective in whom they follow. Realtors especially, tend to follow anyone and everyone because in this way they hope to increase odds of business success. But the truth of the matter is,you have to have a true interest in getting to know that particular person that you’re following. Otherwise, Twitter becomes like Macaroni Grill on Saturday dinner time.

  4. Jason Crouch

    January 26, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    Lani – This is a very astute look at Twitter. I sometimes feel like that guy you referenced here.

    “A friend of mine on Twitter said…”

    “I saw ________ on Twitter….”

    Nicely done!

  5. Nick Bostic

    January 26, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    Yes, Twitter is a chat room. There are a lot of people in one place all talking to each other and seeing one another talk to specific people with little privacy (unless a DM is sent). Are chat rooms bad things?

    I ran a BBS ages ago, met a lot of great people, found loads of information and had a lot of fun. Then came Prodigy and Compuserve with official chat rooms and I avoided them like the plague. Chat rooms were the home of weirdo’s, and I didn’t want to be a part of that.

    Shortly after joining Twitter, I realized it too is a chat room, so when/where did my barrier drop? It was what I was in the mood for. I used to chat endlessly with people via IM, but now people have IM on all the time despite rarely being near the computer (myself included), so the value has dropped.

    I said recently I found Twitter to be too noisy. For my needs, it is now. There are great people on there that I contact from time to time, but as a full-time office worker with multiple side business ventures about to launch, I unfortunately don’t have the time to sit and watch the stream.

    Per usual, YMMV.

  6. Ken Brand

    January 26, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    Twitter is babbling party river, sorta like the Guadeloupe River rushing through New Braunfels on July 4th. You got all kinda tubers splashing around. Some interesting, some funny, some odd, some inappropriate and some boring. It’s a spectacle and for me that’s the beauty, you never know what you’ll hear, or who you’ll meet.

    I also like it because it updates my facebook status. Although I must admit, Twitter is fairly informal, I’ve unplugged the FB status update a time or two.

    And finally, don’t drunk dial, don’t drunk text and don’t drunk twitter.

    Out.

    Oh – http://www.Twitter.com/KenBrand

  7. The Harriman Team

    January 26, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    I’m sure to some people Twitter might seem noisy. Sometimes it’s like the static on a old radio, the kind that grates on your ears and makes you change the channel until you find a clear one. That’s the ticket with Twitter: fine-tune it, choose who you follow wisely, pick the people who add quality signal to your stream, not static, and weed out the chaff. There will always be some noise, but it can be managed down to a dull roar so you can focus on the signals that add value.

  8. Paula Henry

    January 27, 2009 at 12:09 am

    I liken Twitter to a coffee break. When I have time, I meet my friends for a few minutes, talk about what’s going on, offer suggestions, receive some ideas – read an article or two, then coffee breaks over.

    Yeah, sometimes it’s noisy – the best coffee houses always are!

  9. self-sale.com

    January 27, 2009 at 10:02 am

    I look at it as a headline of whatever you wish to say. Whenever I gain a new property or sell one I write a headline on Twitter.

  10. teresa boardman

    January 28, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    I think twitter is a kind of chat room that is why it is so cool.

  11. Lesley Lambert

    April 15, 2009 at 8:21 am

    Twitter is a chatroom that you can filter if you use your tools (ie: tweetworks or tweetdeck) and finesse the chat into real conversations. Many of my conversations have turned into actual friendships and several have become business partners of mine.

    Used properly, twitter is powerful!

  12. Mary Ann

    May 4, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    Well, for me Twitter is a chatroom…I sometimes talk to friends in there..discuss some few things which we interest in.

    It’s kinda noisy..but I love it there.

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Social Media

Twitter to start charging users? Here’s what you need to know

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Social media is trending toward the subscription based model, especially as the pandemic pushes ad revenue down. What does this mean for Twitter users?

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Twitter and other social media apps open on a phone being held in a hand. Will they go to a paid option subscription model?

In an attempt to become less dependent on advertising, Twitter Inc. announced that it will be considering developing a subscription product, as well as other paid options. Here’s the scoop:

  • The ideas for paid Twitter that are being tossed around include tipping creators, the ability to pay users you follow for exclusive content, charging for use of the TweetDeck, features like “undo send”, and profile customization options and more.
  • While Twitter has thought about moving towards paid for years, the pandemic has pushed them to do it – plus activist investors want to see accelerated growth.
  • The majority of Twitter’s revenue comes from targeted ads, though Twitter’s ad market is significantly smaller than Facebook and other competitors.
  • The platform’s user base in the U.S. is its most valuable market, and that market is plateauing – essentially, Twitter can’t depend on new American users joining to make money anymore.
  • The company tried user “tips” in the past with its live video service Periscope (RIP), which has now become a popular business model for other companies – and which we will most likely see again with paid Twitter.
  • And yes, they will ALWAYS take a cut of any money being poured into the app, no matter who it’s intended for.

This announcement comes at a time where other social media platforms, such as TikTok and Clubhouse, are also moving towards paid options.

My hot take: Is it important – especially during a pandemic – to make sure that creators are receiving fair compensation for the content that we as users consume? Yes, 100%. Pay people for their work. And in the realm of social media, pictures, memes, and opinions are in fact work. Don’t get it twisted.

Does this shift also symbolize a deviation from the unpaid, egalitarian social media that we’ve all learned to use, consume, and love over the last decade? It sure does.

My irritation stems not from the fact that creators will probably see more return on their work in the future. Or on the principal of free social media for all. It stems from sheer greediness of the social media giants. Facebook, Twitter, and their counterparts are already filthy rich. Like, dumb rich. And guess what: Even though Twitter has been free so far, it’s creators and users alike that have been generating wealth for the company.

So why do they want even more now?

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Social Media

TikTok enters the e-commerce space, ready to compete with Zuckerberg?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Setting up social media for e-commerce isn’t an uncommon practice, but for TikTok this means the next step competing with Facebook and Instagram.

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Couple taking video with mobile phone, prepared for e-commerce.

Adding e-commerce offerings to social media platforms isn’t anything new. However, TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese firm ByteDance, is rolling out some new e-commerce features that will place the social video app in direct competition with Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook and Instagram.

According to a Financial Times report, TikTok’s new features will allow the platform to create and expand its e-commerce service in the U.S. The new features will allow TikTok’s popular users to monetize their content. These users will be able to promote and sell products by sharing product links in their content. In return, TikTok will profit from the sales by earning a commission.

Among the features included is “live-streamed” shopping. In this mobile phone shopping channel, users can purchase products by tapping on products during a user’s live demo. Also, TikTok plans on releasing a feature that will allow brands to display their product catalogs.

Currently, Facebook has expanded into the e-commerce space through its Facebook Marketplace. In May 2020, it launched Facebook Shops that allows businesses to turn their Facebook and Instagram stories into online stores.

But, Facebook hasn’t had too much luck in keeping up with the video platform in other areas. In 2018, the social media giant launched Lasso, its short-form video app. But the company’s TikTok clone didn’t last too long. Last year, Facebook said bye-bye to Lasso and shut it down.

Instagram is trying to compete with TikTok by launching Instagram Reels. This feature allows users to share short videos just like TikTok, but the future of Reels isn’t set in stone yet. By the looks of it, videos on Reels are mainly reposts of video content posted on TikTok.

There is no word on when the features will roll out to influencers on TikTok, but according to the Financial Times report, the social media app’s new features have already been viewed by some people.

TikTok has a large audience that continues to grow. By providing monetization tools in its platform, TikTok believes its new tools will put it ahead of Facebook in the e-commerce game, and help maintain that audience.

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Social Media

Your favorite Clubhouse creators can now ask for your financial support

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Clubhouse just secured new funding – what it means for creators and users of the latest quarantine-based social media darling.

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Woman talking on Clubhouse on her iPhone with a big smile.

Clubhouse – the live-voice chat app that has been taking the quarantined world by storm – has recently announced that it has raised new funding in a Series B round, led by Andreessen Horowitz, the venture capital firm in Silicon Valley.

The app confirms that new funding means compensation for creators; much like the influencers on TikTok and YouTube, now Clubhouse creators will be able to utilize features such as subscriptions, tipping, and ticket sales to monetize their content.

To encourage emerging Clubhouse creators and invite new voices, funding round will also support a promising “Creator Grant Program”.

On the surface, Clubhouse is undoubtedly cool. The invite-only, celebrity-filled niche chatrooms feel utopic for any opinionated individual – or anyone that just likes to listen. At its best, Clubhouse brings to mind collaborative campfire chats, heated lecture-hall debates or informative PD sessions. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m actually obsessed.

And now with its new round, the video chatroom app will not only appear cool but also act as a helpful steppingstone to popular and emerging creators alike. “Creators are the lifeblood of Clubhouse,” said Paul & Rohan, the app’s creators, “and we want to make sure that all of the amazing people who host conversations for others are getting recognized for their contributions.”

Helping creators get paid for their labor in 2021 is a cause that we should 100% get behind, especially if we’re consuming their content.

Over the next few months, Clubhouse will be prototyping their tipping, tickets and subscriptions – think a system akin to Patreon, but built directly into the app.

A feature unique to the app – tickets – will offer individuals and organizations the chance to hold formal discussions and events while charging an admission. Elite Clubhouse rooms? I wonder if I can get a Clubhouse press pass.

Additionally, Clubhouse has announced plans for Android development (the app has only been available to Apple users so far). They are also working on moderation policies after a recent controversial chat sparked uproar. To date, the app has been relying heavily on community moderation, the power of which I’ve witnessed countless times whilst in rooms.

So: Is the golden age of Clubhouse – only possible for a short period while everyone was stuck at home and before the app gained real mainstream traction – now over? Or will this new round of funding and subsequent development give the app a new beginning?

For now, I think it’s safe to say that the culture of Clubhouse will certainly be changing – what we don’t know is if the changes will make this cream-of-the-crop app even better, or if it’ll join the ranks of Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook in being another big-time social media staple.

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