For the second time this week have have been posed the question over whether Twitter is getting too noisy to make it useful. That it is becoming nothing more than a broadcast channel, and of little use for engagement.
There is still lots of opportunity to engage on Twitter, as long as you understand your audience and how it uses the platform.
When you switch on the TV, pick up a newspaper or magazine, what you see at that particular time on that channel or edition will be the same as what someone else will see. Your experience in these traditional mediums will be the same as someone else’s and the channel is under the control of the publisher or producer.
Unlike these traditional channels Twitter is not the same experience for you as it is for me or anyone else for that matter.
There are many variables that in the Twitter experience that impact what you see, how you interact and feel about the content you consume through it.
Your Application of Choice
The first variable is the application through which you wish to view Twitter.
This is my view of Twitter using Hoosuite on my laptop compared with the view a few seconds apart on Twitter.com:
As you can see the there is a clear difference in what I see.
The Device You Are On
As well as the client you choose to experience Twitter through, the device you are using that application on will impact your experience to.
On most mobile phones you will only have space to see one stream, and it may update less frequently than the desktop version. For those using Twitter via SMS the experience is even more constrained.
Who You Follow
Outside the technical impact on your view of Twitter, who you follow and how many people you follow will have an impact on your steams. If you take the policy of following back everyone that follows you then your home stream may seem crowded and haphazard. Yet if you are selective over who you follow your home stream could be a mine of information.
In fact this factor will be one of the factors that dictates how and how much you engage on Twitter. Even in a busy stream, if the discussion is highly relevant you may feel compelled to engage.
But if the subject matter is news based and not appropriate to comment, then you may not interact at all.
Everyone Likes a List
More advanced users may also use Twitter Lists. This allows them to follow as many people as they like but filter out the noise by putting those they really wish to engage with or read in a list.
I almost exclusively use lists and filters to organise my Twitter streams. They allow me to monitor competitors, for potential business, filter conversations based on Hashtags and track the conversations of my peers.
Not All Twitter Streams Are Equal
By understanding how your target audience is likely to be using Twitter you can now target your messaging accordingly.
If your potential audience uses vanilla Twitter on the web you may have to post far more frequently with high impact content to break through the noise.
If your target audience are advanced Twitter users you may have to look at how you can get on their lists, maybe by regularly producing valuable content. Or it could be that certain Hashtags will get the response you are after.
Engagement and Your Audience
So if you think that your audience is engaging less than they used on Twitter then see what may have changed. Do you understand what devices they are using, their applications of choice or the environment in which they usually consume your content?
Engagement is still alive and well on Twitter, it may just be other factors affecting your view.
[Photo credit: infomatique]