Twitter's role in social media
At some point during the advent of these new social media websites, marketing and advertising agencies found a new way to advertise to their demographics. The current definition of "social media marketing" was born. All you need to do is create a profile, round up a few thousand "friends," and you have an instant platform on which to market your products or services. This has been a godsend for both individuals and companies. Companies can target people that actually are interested, and individuals can keep up with their brands.
Twitter's functionality is infinitely simpler than any of the previously mentioned sites, but its simplicity is what seems to be exciting to its user base at this point in time. No one has to be a profound -- or even good -- writer to be a popular Twitterer. Repeat the formula in the previous paragraph, and you have an instant way to market with little overhead. Signal-to-noise ratio on Twitter is also fairly low, so marketers hopping on the bandwagon now are almost guaranteed a modicum of success using the platform.
As with any internet "gold rush," as soon as others demonstrate success, everyone moves in, and the "next big thing" is born. This is exactly how email spam happened in the first place. Email was a great way to market the first few years it was around. No one even knew that it was inappropriate to send unsolicited messages. Granted, the new paradigm is to choose which companies you'd like to follow -- but the signal-to-noise ratio becomes unreasonable at some point, and the medium loses viability. Take MySpace, for example. I have not logged onto the site for months now, but I know if I do, I will have dozens (if not hundreds) of friend requests and invites to things I have 0 percent interest in. The time spent truly using the site is not worth the time it takes to deal with the spam.
Twitter is fast approaching the same situation. All I have to do is mention QuickBooks, and I have 30 QuickBooks "experts" following me in hopes of getting business. How long will it take to wear people down dealing with these kinds of requests? There are already services offering to monetize your tweets by injecting "relevant" ads. Not a happy way to spend my social time online, I must say.
I predict Twitter will find its social media and marketing niche, but I cannot see it being nearly as important as some marketers are making it out to be. The retention rate of Twitter is said to be only around 30 percent, which means seven out of 10 people try it out once and don't come back.