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Strategic insights
How Social Media is Making itself Irrelevant




Written by on October 23, 2014

It started as an experiment. Twitter, who wanted to increase new user involvement and engagement, started to add tweets from people you aren't following into your stream. And now it's an official feature.

At the moment this is not as bad as it sounds, because Twitter will only ad tweets from 'other sources' if they have nothing new to show you. So for heavy users like you and me, we will probably never see them.

The idea is to make Twitter more useful to first time users. So the first time you sign-in, instead of just being presented with an empty feed, you will see a full list of interesting tweets from people you might find interesting.

Note: Twitter has now expanded further on this by adding 'While you were away'-ranking, based on the same engagement idea.

As a concept, this doesn't sound that bad. It sounds rather useful and enjoyable.

But, it's the wrong solution to the problem, and in this article I will illustrate why in a very simple way. Not just in how it affects Twitter, but also why conversion from Facebook is dropping, and what this means for the future.

Here is how social media sites make themselves irrelevant.

First let me quickly define the graphics in this article. I'm going to illustrate different types of social posts using boxes, colored to define their importance.

The yellow boxes are posts that have very low value, but otherwise have a high level of engagement. These are the funny snackable tweets, or the posts with the viral headlines.

The red boxes are the posts that have a very high level of value. These are the posts that inspire and create conversions. And they are not just valuable to you as a brand/publisher, they are also valuable to the people reading them. But because of their higher value, they are also less snackable and less 'cute'.

In between are varying levels of gray boxes. These are posts that are neither funny, nor valuable. These are the pointless ones.

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Thomas Baekdal

Thomas Baekdal

Founder of Baekdal, author, writer, strategic consultant, and new media advocate.


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