Twitter continues, as a company, to suffer under the delusion that it’s a mass-audience tool. We’re told over and over again that it’s “too complicated” and difficult for people to get their heads around, which is why new user acquisition is so stagnant and the company keeps tripping over itself to add or change features to appeal more to that group. I call this a delusion because not only is Twitter easy to understand (certainly easier than Snapchat) but because there’s so much emphasis on following Big Media that few people see the value Twitter has as a conversation facilitator.
Case in point, the back-and-forth from a few days ago, when actor Chris Evans praised Deadpool. That lead to a response from Ryan Reynolds, both of which then caused a tweet from Robert Downey Jr. calling them both out. It was a fun bit of playful teasing between three of Hollywood’s biggest stars, all of whom are anchoring their own super hero franchises. And it’s hard to imagine that happening anywhere but Twitter.
That’s because it’s so hard to have these kind of real-time conversations on Facebook. The News Feed is designed to, if not discourage, at least make this sort of thing difficult. If you’re following X person on Facebook there’s only a small chance (unless you’re only friends with five people) you’ll see their updates on a regular basis. And when you do it might be a couple days before their post appears. Even Instagram isn’t great because it starts out with the first person putting more on the table – a photo – than the respondents are capable of.
(Side note: That you can’t respond to a photo on Instagram with a photo comment suddenly feels like a big missing feature. More on that later.)
This is where Kanye and Amber Rose get into smack talk about his preferences in bed. It’s where Neil Degrasse Tyson gets into a slap fight with a rapper over whether the earth is flat or not. If you’re looking for the value of Twitter, this is it, that there are organic conversations that aren’t happening anywhere else.