Try to remember the first time you ever wrote an email for a friend, work colleague, family member, or even a pen pal. Did it feel personal? Almost like writing a letter to somebody? Now try to remember how it felt to hit that ‘send’ button and wait in anticipation for them to receive it. What about the first time you saw that ‘1’ in your inbox telling you you’ve got mail. How exciting was it to have someone who might even be halfway across the world sending you a message in almost an instant?
Back then emails were less cluttered. The open rate for emails was a lot higher than today because it was still fresh, and there weren’t many alternatives either. Now our inboxes are filled with so much content that it’s like pulling teeth to get someone to read the email you’ve sent them (I know I don’t read emails so I’m guilty). When we log in we’re greeted by newsletters selling new products, voucher deals, and a lot of other stuff that we signed up to on a whim and never bothered to unsubscribe. Marketers have pretty much ruined the experience for us.
Despite this, there hasn’t been much innovation in terms of improving our experience when it comes to receiving and sending emails. We’ve come some way, but compared to the experience we have when we’re browsing a web page, emails still have a long way to go. It’s all just noise, and with alternative apps like Slack, the workplace is beginning to question the need for it as a means for frequent communication with co-workers. Even Google tried to fix the noise by filtering out personal, promotional, and social media related emails, but the noise keeps getting louder and louder.
“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” Steve Jobs
What does this have to do with Twitter? I’m not much of a Twitter user, I’ve never been, but I’ve had to work with it in different jobs. I’ve concluded that Twitter is the new email. Try and remember when Twitter was still rising, almost side by side with Facebook. People were engaging with each other, having genuine conversations. There wasn’t as much concern for whether the person was being authentic or not because everyone was still discovering how to connect with each other. Then just like with emails, marketers came and ruined everything. Twitter has now become a place where companies are flooding the feed with promotions, and sadly the human engagement is lacking from many of these pages that haven’t quite got the memo of what social media is about. Sure, there’s still a lot of real engagement from a many of the users, however, with so much spam clogging up our screens it can be hard for people to have meaningful engagements. It’s even become more of a complaining platform than a place to have a conversation.
Also, just like emails, Twitter has failed to innovate and remains in a state of uncertainty as to where exactly it’s going. Meanwhile, platforms such as; Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook are implementing new ways to publish meaningful content, whether it’s with VR, 360 videos, live streaming, or Geofilters. Twitter has changed its logo, and added news feeds, amongst some other things, but this hasn’t been enough to improve the overall tweeting experience. If they don’t do something amazing soon, I fear that it won’t be long till the social network becomes a relic of the past, much like Google+, Myspace, and more recently Vine.