Three reasons why Twitter is not dead
By Nicole Strutt, Contributor
My introduction to Twitter began at the ripe age of 18. The main incentive was to fangirl over the boys of One Direction and to document every passing thought that went through my mind: “*Kids by MGMT is playing in background*—IT’S GO TIME, EXAM IS GOING DOWN TOWN!!” Simpler times.
Despite having a love-love relationship with Twitter as a teenager, up until a month ago, I thought Twitter was a dying platform. With Facebook buying out Instagram in 2012 and Instagram establishing itself as the go-to social media tool among Generation Z and Millennials, I didn’t think Twitter had a place in the mighty social media playground.
My perspective changed when I landed a role managing my work’s Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts. I witnessed firsthand how Twitter documented fun holidays like #MacaronDay and significant political movements like #NationalWalkoutDay through the “Trends for you” category established by hashtags.
Through these hashtags, I could see the impact that Twitter has. From silly trends like #LoseADateIn5Words, amazing movements like #MeToo, or documenting the tragic frequency of the US shootings, it is apparent that Twitter has the innate ability to connect users from around the world using only a hashtag and Internet access. Most importantly, it made me realize that Twitter is not dying, and it’s not going away anytime soon.
Twitter knows itself and doesn’t stray
First and foremost, Twitter is authentically and unapologetically a news platform. While it doesn’t provide the bells and whistles that Facebook does, or the complexity of photo filters of Instagram, Twitter understands how it differentiates itself in the social media realm. It gives its users a simple platform to provide timely news in 240 characters or less. As a result, in times of crisis or jubilant news, Twitter is the go-to social media outlet for breaking news.
For example, it is a known social media tool to tweet timely news across the Greater Vancouver area. In the infamous August 2015 windstorm, BC Hydro used Twitter to communicate power updates around the city. Additionally, TransLink utilizes Twitter to communicate train outages and disruptions across the Expo, Millennium, West Coast Express, Canada Line and SeaBus.
Twitter connects everyday people with celebrities and politicians
A main reason why Twitter became so popular in in 2006 and continues to be popular now is how it allows users to relate with the celebrities and public figures that they follow. No longer do users need to wait for the latest gossip from J-14, People, InTouch or the Enquirer. Instead, users can hear straight from their favourite celebrity or politician about how they are feeling, the latest update on their music, or what they ate for breakfast. Consequently, it takes the celebrities and politicians off this metaphorical pedestal and gives the appearance that they are on the same level as everyone else.
Twitter is becoming profitable
Twitter cut its costs exponentially, which resulted in $91 million in profit in the fourth quarter of 2017 on revenue of $732 million. If that doesn’t say rebirth, I don’t know what does.
Whether you love or hate it, Twitter has been around for 13 years and is still going strong. It has outlived Vine and has competed against the social media giants of Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat while still holding its own. Thanks to sticking to its traditional roots as a news tool, breaking the social norms between celebrity and everyday people, and understanding when to cut costs to make a profit for long-term gain, Twitter is here to stay.