Social Layman on Twitter

Ellen made it really easy last night for the inactive Twitter user to quickly rejoin the conversation with a simple retweet of her tweet.  Ellen’s retweet record was just another reminder of how TV and social networking go hand in hand, literally.  11.1 million Facebook users were also talking about it.       

But the Oscars also reminded us at how many people avoid Twitter when there’s not a massive event to talk about it.  The lingo (‘Tweet,’ ‘Retweet’) may be in the Oxford Dictionary but Twitter can still be hard to use.  I still see people mistake the response button for a public post.  

Regardless of how much Twitter makes its platform easier and shiner to use with bigger images in the newsfeed, it still faces the inherent problem of content creation.  Most people still contribute and lurk.  Only a mere 1% of Internet users want to voice their own opinion.  Pinterest and Tumblr users also publish from the reblog functionality. 

Meanwhile, sharing a status post on Instagram and Facebook is less intimidating.  Images obviate words; and in the case of FB, the sharing can be tailored.  No matter how comfortable people are getting with sharing publicly, there’s something about Twitter that stirs people wrong.  Someone that talks a lot in real life may remain completely silent on Twitter.   

Twitter’s challenge may be less about its functionality though and more about where mobile communication is headed, which is more private. Twitter is but one of many second screens for TV viewers to participate in mobile conversation.  Most people are still just looking for content to sharing amongst themselves.  

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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of and four books.