“Twitter is so lame”
So says one particular 15 year old quoted in a February 4, 2010 USA Today article outlining how teens and young adults are using social media these days. Apparently, teenagers, who have a history of being early adopters on nearly every online activity are not so keen on Twitter.
It’s my job to explore all avenues for marketing effectiveness and the world of social media is perhaps the hottest area for exploration among the Chief Marketing Officers I know. But this survey, with particular emphasis on the less than enthusiastic uptake on Twitter with tomorrow’s decision makers, is giving me reason to pause and ask “Is Twitter the CB Radio of social media?” Perhaps an explanation is in order.
CB Radio. I suspect I date myself. Come back to the 1970’s when CB (closed band) radio was all the rage. CB radio was a way to connect with complete strangers or friends with a reasonable investment and no variable cost to participation. And like Twitter, the value of CB radio was exponential to the number of devices in use. CB radio aficionados were enthusiastic defenders of the medium. Heck they even had their own language, lingo and “handles”. Handles – names they called themselves that protected their anonymity (in a time when protecting one’s privacy seemed to matter – but that’s another blog). CB “handles” were the equivalent of Twitter ids. The point is there was a period in the 70’s that if you didn’t have a CB radio, you weren’t part of the conversation. But alas, CB radio never reached the promise or potential of its supporters and today it’s a pop culture item and answer to a trivial pursuit question.
Is Twitter heading in the same direction as CB radio? If teenagers have anything to say about it I suspect so. In truth, I’m not yet convinced that Twitter is going to make it either. I may take some criticism for that but from my seat the most prolific users of Twitter today are egotists or marketers – sometimes these are the same people. Yes I use Twitter and encourage my team and company to use it as well. But unless the use broadens and companies begin to understand the linkage between using Twitter (and other social media avenues for that matter) and delivering a better customer experience, I suspect we’ll all move on to the next big thing. After all, who wants to be using something that today’s youth view as “lame”.