Friday, August 7, 2015
Will Twitter Help Authors in 2016?
It’s a funny thing to see talk of Twitter’s demise, especially when you consider it has over 300 million users. But when you look at its profitability (it loses half a billion a year), and its anemic new user growth (it ticked up a few percent), you have to wonder what’s going on.
Less than half the world uses the Internet. Yes, this may surprise you, but only 3.17 billion people are online – out of a world population of 7.20 billion people. Though only 42% of the world is online, North America outstrips Internet adoption by far, as 86.9% of the continent is linked in.
So of the Internet universe, one in ten users are logged onto Twitter. By comparison, 1 in 2 users are on Facebook (1.49 billion). Though Twitter has been linked to changing the news cycle, altering people’s careers, and enabling revolutions, it is a failure at growing into a successful business. Everyone seemingly uses Twitter for a profit but Twitter.
Many authors and publishers would not be sad to see Twitter vanish but the truth is we’ve become dependent on it. Even though Twitter seems dumb with its artificial 140-character limit – it is great at connecting people globally, sharing info instantaneously, and in calling attention to books. Of course, just as the industry got along before Twitter, it would survive without it. Something else would take its place or an author’s precious time would just get scattered to existing activities like FB, YouTube, and blogging.
But all joking aside, you have to wonder if Twitter will survive. Even though it seems like a key leader in the social media revolution of the early 21st century, it still needs to turn a profit and grow its user base. It’s not a non-profit. It has to be a real company.
It’s stunning that if as many as 300 million people are on Twitter, why haven’t the other Internet users joined the party? Facebook will grow because it is leading the movement to get the rest of the planet wired into the Internet, but Twitter lags even with those already plugged in. 90% of digital users have not signed up for Twitter.
Twitter needs to make some changes or improvements in order to lure more people in. Here’s what I would suggest:
1. Do away with “follow” limitations – let people follow as many as they want.
2. Eliminate the 140-character limitation – at least triple it. 520 characters would only cover 70-75 words, but that’s a big improvement over the abrupt and illiterate tweets that swim the net currently.
3. Get a spokesman for Twitter. Who knows who created Twitter and who has heard of that person speak? Zuckerburg is the poster boy for FB and he helps humanize the site. Twitter has a stupid bird.
4. Change the way people see tweets from those they followed. Each user should have one tweet a week that is emailed to those who follow him or her. Forced exposure would excite those, like authors, who desperately want to get the word out about their books.
Twitter will be around for a while, provided Wall Street investors and traders still view it as a worthwhile commodity. But at some point, the money will dry up because investors are looking for a profit – not to make donations. And when Twitter eventually is silenced, the book industry will adjust and go on as if Twitter never happened.
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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015