I opened my first Twitter account in 2008, two years after the company was founded. During the three years I’ve had this account I averaged one tweet per year! That’s just sad. Needless to say, I’ve already beaten that dismal record after enrolling in W315, Writing for the Web. Either way when it comes to both Twitter and Facebook I haven’t been a heavy user of either medium. Even though I visited Facebook more than Twitter, the reason for this disparity is best described by Senior Research Analyst, and Social Beat guest blogger, Nathan Safran.
In a blog post titled: Why Twitter has a problem going mainstream, Safran explores why Facebook remains more popular than Twitter. In spite of Twitter having as many as 50 million users it still lags behind Facebook’s 800 million users! Safran’s explanation for this mismatch comes down to two factors: 1) Steep learning curve. 2) The need to revamp their marketing strategy by focusing on two important questions.
This learning curve is certainly one of the barriers to mainstream adoption for Twitter. But I think there are more fundamental problems that could trip Twitter up on the road to mainstream adoption….
So Twitter has two key questions to answer for the mainstream audience (think non-techie):
- Why should I sign up?
And, when I get there:
- What should I do with it?
In the beginning I felt as if Twitter possessed its own vocabulary and grammar rules which failed to be overly intuitive. Like most users I wasn’t too motivated to read those third-party manuals describing how to use and navigate Twitter. Of course that 140 character limit merely added insult to injury. Facebook, on the other hand, appeared to be so much more welcoming and simpler to navigate. Nevertheless, Safran makes some keen observations regarding what Twitter can do in order to broaden its appeal. By developing an ad campaign encompassing traditional and digital media, Twitter would have the opportunity to redefine its message, attracting new users by explaining how Twitter can “be used to enhance their lives.” Sometimes it’s necessary to show value before prospective users can see the value.