Twitter has a major branding problem.
I have recently suggested to a number of my friends that they sign-up and join Twitter. While they enthusiastically check it out, their use of Twitter generally lasts less than a week.
Do they not understand how to use it? Not see the value?
No, I’d argue the reason they loose interest is because they follow the directions. They literally answer the question as Twitter requests in the posting box:
“What are you doing?”
But then do nothing more.
In my opinion Twitter’s value as a service has shifted since its launch. The Twitter community has made the service much more rich by pushing it to be real-time conversation, not static updates.
Twitter is a flow of intermittent conversation where anyone can jump in and out anytime.
My personal experience (similar to most others I have spoken with) has been that my big breakthrough with Twitter has only occurred after following a significant number of accounts (say more than 20 or 30).
Also Twitter is first and foremost an active community of early adopters. It must move past that to cross the chasm. Unless a new registrant is plugged into the techy scene, they are less likely to participate.
One small change I’d suggest for Twitter onboarding is suggesting memes to be followed in the sidebar. Or suggest memes being followed by the people you are following. This would make it much easier to follow topics and trends leading to richer interactions.
I love Twitter and simply want to stress to new Twitter users that the value isn’t just posting individual tweets. The value is the rich community and conversations.