The Downside of Twitter

The Downside of Twitter

Social media giant Twitter was founded in March 21, 2006, and has rapidly grown to the point where it has more than 25 offices around the world.

The downside of Twitter is that it failed to evolve and keep up with the expectations of users. While this statement may appear overly simplistic, it is the only logical conclusion to be drawn when applying some common sense while observing a few facts and trends.

Combined, these translate in to a poor user experience:

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The 140 Character Limit

The original idea was that shorter messages require less effort and lesser involvement. Unfortunately, it also means that the content of the thought to be conveyed is limited. One can only say so much in so many words, and any attempt at using a series of tweets to say more will simply fragment the conversation.

Over time it has led to a culture of short and often senseless messages written in a seemingly alien language, accompanied by an abundance of hashtags.

Having a meaningful conversation with a potential customer requires moving to a different platform or means of communication, which is often counter productive. Facebook, on the other hand, allows you to open a chat window and have a conversation in real time without leaving the platform.


Due to the 140 character limit, users simply post more messages to compensate. Unfortunately, as the name suggests, you end up with an incredibly cluttered and confusing timeline if you choose to follow any reasonable number of people.


The speed at which new posts are generated means that any of your followers following a reasonably high number of people will not be exposed to your message for long.

In fact, in some cases where a user follows a large number of people, the number of new tweets waiting to be displayed can outnumber the number of tweets visible above the fold. Bad luck can literally force your tweet out of sight the moment it is supposed to be displayed.

Users Display Short Attention Spans

The very nature of the platform creates the need for a continuous shift in focus between what different users are trying to say, resulting in a very short time frame to grab the attention of anyone you want to reach.

Unrealistic Expectations

Due to the sheer pace at which content is generated and consumed on Twitter, followers of businesses often expect answers within unrealistic time frames.

In the event of a crisis, for instance, followers are likely to expect answers before it is physically possible to compile a press release and present it to the company’s lawyers for scrutiny.

It is Addictive & Distracting

The sheer amount of concentration required to follow conversations and engage with other users tends to make it difficult to withdraw from the chatter at will, and users often find themselves spending more time per visit than anticipated.


The availability of a myriad of third party apps, combined with the ease of connecting other content sources to Twitter, makes it ridiculously easy to generate large amounts of automated spam posts.

Setting up automated spam content, including hashtags for hijacking trending topics, can literally be done in minutes.

Fake Users

Blackhat marketers create fake profiles in astronomical numbers. Others create fake profiles for spreading lies and hate speech. Con artists pretend to be connected to established brands.

Thanks to automation and fake engagement, it is very difficult to separate real from fake without personally inspecting every profile.

Fake Engagement

In order to generate real user engagement, many people buy retweets. As a result, most people have no idea if the “trending topic” they are following is real, or whether the retweet count was inflated by artificial means.

As such, it is often difficult to discern which trends should be engaged in order to gain additional exposure.


Various software solutions allow users to appear to be online when they’re not. Scheduled tweets, random retweets, and even random generic comments can be automated.

Many users fall prey to this, and end up retweeting or commenting on automated content. It is, however, also possible to monitor conversations, mentions and retweets involving your username, so it is entirely possible to limit your real engagement to responding to questions.

All of these contribute to an increasingly frustrating user experience, which is ultimately the downside of Twitter. Management is working hard to catch up and restore the equilibrium, but it might be a case of too little, too late.

The dwindling levels of user engagement speak for themselves. You may, however, want to keep in mind that even these dwindling figures include a percentage of fake engagement. The real figures must be even lower.

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13 comments on “The Downside of Twitter

  1. Just want to say I really enjoyed reading this post. I signed up for Twitter back in 2006, when it was mostly internet markerters posting links. I have watched as social media evolved since that time and I would have to agree with the points you make. I can remember my wife and I asking each other, “What in the world is all this hashtag stuff about?”
    There have been times when younger people in my life were shocked that I was on Twitter. Then I get to explain that I was on Twitter before they ever heard of it and before the had a smart phone.
    I shared your post and I think I’ll come back. 🙂

  2. Hi Chris, this is an excellent article, and you communicate many points that I can relate to. I have only just ventured into the world of Twitter and I too find it a frustrating medium – especially since I prefer a more ‘drawn out’ writing style by comparison.

    I most certainly would not choose Twitter for my own uses, but as a marketing tool I guess it does cater to the needs of the masses.

    By similarity, I too work in the security industry and I also began researching online income sources around 5 years ago. I can honestly say 4 of those years were entirely wasted but then I got lucky and stumbled upon a sustainable income source giving me a return of over £1000 a month. So like you, I learned that persistence pays dividends!

    I look forward to reading more of your content,


    1. Hey Dan!

      Well congratulations on your success! Great to hear you have made it in the online world. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your opinion 🙂

  3. This is a very interesting and accurate list of the downsides to Twitter. I’ve been on Twitter since 2008 and have seen its huge growth over the years. I’ve also seen the major deterioration in quality of posts, my own included.

    It was a great platform for a few years and I thought it had huge potential for both marketing purposes and engagement with other users. These days I barely look at it. I still post from time to time, but rarely read any of the posts. It’s completely different to how it once was.

    Very good post full of some really interesting observations and facts.

  4. I 100% agree with everything you explain. Twitter seems like a great social media we can use to promote our products or services. To my disappointment, as you also mention, i bought retweet and i received report in 2 days, until now i have not seen any results from the tweets and retweets i bought. All results are from my facebook friends and linkedin. You can actually check it out if I can give you my campaign link. Only today I learned how twitter works and I found it cluttered. It’s difficult to deliver our message with such limited characters, so we end up hastaging. We link some words/phrases together with # and it will really hard for regular user to understand. I think this clearly explains why I only follow very few people since 2009 i signed up.

    1. Hi Lin,

      Well it takes a lot of work to build up a following but you really do need these people…otherwise you’re posting to the blind and hoping the hashtag gets picked up! Thanks for stopping by and leaving your opinion. 🙂

  5. Hello Chris
    A great write up about Twitter and the flaws in their system resulting in poor user experience.
    Reading through some of the other comments I couldn’t help but notice the bone of contention I have with Twitter and that is buy tweets, re-tweets, likes and follows and finding out you have bought a load of rubbish.
    I did it twice thinking the first time round it was my fault but after getting my fingers burned a second time I have given it up as a bad job and I actually don’t bother with Twitter much now.
    Have a nice day.
    Robert Allan

    1. Ahh it sounds like you went down a dark path there Robert…

      You can always try getting back on there and using a more legit path this time?

  6. I really hate the character limitation and that is why I am no longer using Twitter. For me Twitter is more a social thing than a business thing.

    I would rather prefer Google plus and Facebook because there are so much more potential there. Some people make money with it, but it all depends on the person.

  7. I always heard about how beneficial social media can be, but no one has ever told me the downside to it. I have never thought about the amount of spam that is going around in Twitter, from fake users to fake engagement. Thank you for creating this post, since it was an eye opener about having realistic expectations from Twitter.

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