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Las Vegas – “Do you use Twitter?”, I asked one public relations professional at the CES 2020 Las Vegas MuckRack Party, and I got back a surprising answer: “We use Instagram; Twitter is reactionary” – but in the stern-and-drum of the overall conversation we had, I never got back to why that was the case. What I did see was that this person out of Philadelphia did emphasize her Instagram account.
Another PR pro at the event remarked that Twitter was “protective of President Trump. It lets him get away with things that other Twitter users get banned for.”
I could go on and on, but clearly in this Twitter News, something’s happening here that would seem to contribute to now former Twitter Chief Operating Officer Anthony Noto’s 2015 comment that “”We do not expect to see sustained meaningful growth in MAU until we start to reach the mass market. We expect that will take a considerable amount of time.”
What’s surprising about that comment by Twitter’s now former Twitter Chief Operating Officer Anthony Noto is the words “mass market”. With its mention on television, particularly news programs, one would think that mark was reached long ago. But one cold look at statistics reveals one fact: Twitter has been overtaken by both Facebook and the platform it owns, Instagram.
In 2014, Twitter had about the same number of users as Instagram, but by 2019, that picture changed remarkably. Instagram climbed to just over 1 billion users, as Twitter has stayed at the 330 million user mark. In other words, Instagram is three times larger than Twitter. Now that’s hitting the mass market!
In this blogger’s experience, the site created by Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, and Biz Stone has also allowed itself to be taken over by hoards of small accounts representing, or claiming to rep, Donald Trump. There’s a connection between it and Trump not talked about, because the list of suggested users on Twitter reads like a President Trump reality TV show:
The White House…
Vice President Mike Pence…
Donald Trump, Jr….
Stephen A. Smith…..
Neil Patrick Harris…
And 18 down is Kamela Harris….
Then Franklin Graham…
Dwayne Haskins, Jr….
So, do you see? In the early days of Twitter and to 2014, I was on that list. Now, the only few black folks fit a stereotype. Candace Owen is there because she’s a black conservative.
In other words, Candace Owen’s celebrity was gained by blasting other African Americans for backing the Democratic Party. So, the stereotype is that she’s yet another black person to gain status by blasting other black people. Not a good thing.
Colin Kaepernick? Same song. He’s on the list due to race politics, not winning NFL football games.
In fact, one can’t find a single black person on the top 20 list of “suggested users” on Jack Dorsey’s site who’s background has nothing to do with race commentary or protest. That, in itself, pushes common black stereotypes in the face of the public, and sustains long held beliefs. In this case, the idea communicated is that the only way one who is black can be seen by someone who is not, is to talk about black political issues.
By contrast, Instagram has no such issues, and the “suggested users” list is far less politically motivated, and far more tailored to your personal tastes. Moreover, the dirty little secret is this: you can make your own Twitter-style micro-blogging platform. I made one called Telen.me, way back in 2012, too. I did so because Twitter was not making my account verified, even though my time on the microblogging site goes back to its launch party in 2007.
The only way the microblog site has any chance of rising out of its doldrums is to reform its web design more along the lines of Instagram: photos rule on what’s called IG. You can’t post without some kind of picture. Also, attempts to harass a person like myself are far less common on IG than on Twitter, and that’s by design.
Can Twitter improve? Time will tell, but I am focusing on blogs: as the new CEO of Zennie62Media, I believe that blogs are the best, most sustainable platform for news generation available.