Twitter’s imminent demise
have been greatly exaggerated—but what if they’re not?
PR pros might celebrate when Twitter gives up the ghost or falls into
disuse. To many brand managers, Twitter is a loose firehose that can
turn a promotional campaign into crisis management.
One reason there’s a fear that Twitter might die on the vine is that it’s
not pulling its weight in revenue. Every other platform handles advertising
better than Twitter. Anytime Twitter pushes new revenue channels, the
Twitterverse pushes back and the Twitter overlords fold and retreat.
Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, reddit, YouTube and even Snapchat have
integrated ads so thoroughly and shamelessly for so long that there’s no
fight left in their users.
The transition has already begun. PR agencies are doing an amazing job
but marketers should focus on
YouTube stars, as well.
[EVENT: Big 5 Social Media Boot Camp]
The same kind of high-profile publicity—and controversy—that once found its
home on Twitter now finds itself on YouTube and Twitch. Over the last
couple of years, even mainstream news channels have been using Instagram as
a source for
soft news, not just TMZ.
There’s a limitation to Instagram and the others, though, because Twitter
is the only by-default public sharing platform quick enough to feed the
real-time web. Private and encrypted chat programs might be fueling intelligence, but
open-source intelligence—the kind that drives PR and crisis
communications—demands public and persistent social media sharing.
Instagram can be open and public, but there are far more protected
Instagram profiles than there are Twitter profiles. Facebook is a walled
garden, requiring extra effort to make each profile public, though it does
have excellent brand pages. Although so many platforms cross-publish and
cross-share their Instagram and Facebook content in real time with Twitter,
it rarely goes the other way.
Though losing the
firehose would be a pity, there will be adaptations. YouTube remains the
least understood and least appreciated online community ever; it’s also the
second-most-used search engine, just after Google Search.
Twitter is more alive and vibrant than ever. It’s
as essential to real-time communication as amateur radio, broadcast radio and television, the cellular spectrum,
water, sewage, electricity and the internet, but it’s no longer essential
to public relations, marketing or advertising.
Chris Abraham is founder of Gerris digital. A version of this post appeared on
Business 2 Community.