Gary Vaynerchuk annoys me, but he’s dead right about Twitter

GaryVee and Twitter

I’ve never personally met Gary Vaynerchuk and I probably never will, although he does live in the same city as my parents (“… so you’re saying there’s a chance…”). He seems like maybe he’s a tad on the self-promotional side (regarding the early days of Google AdWords, he notes “I owned the word ‘wine’ for nine months”), but hey, you can’t argue with success, amirite? (Even if success comes in the form of tagging yourself as a “self-taught social media expert”).

Here’s the deal, though: he was an early investor in things like Twitter, Facebook, and Uber. So he gets it in terms of adoption of new technologies. As a result, one should listen to him. And about Twitter, he’s dead right.

Here’s the article with his thoughts on Twitter from The Guardian Changing Media Summit in London. Essentially, he says Twitter is a massive firehose (true). It’s basically just a rush of content coming at you, and even if you perfectly curate who you follow, that’s still going to happen.

Basically, Twitter is noise. And there’s a ton of “me-forming.”

He likens it to the idea of e-mail open rates; back in 1997-1998, 75-80 percent was quite possible. Now it’s probably 14 percent and you’d throw a party on marketing cubicle row. Why did it drop so much in just about 20 years? Because it’s all fucking noise. My “Promotions” tab on GMail has about 11 things every morning I wake up; my actual primary e-mail tab maybe has 4-5. (I’m not that important a person, admittedly.)

Even writers I respect still market the shit out of themselves, especially on Twitter.

Twitter does need to do something to reduce the noise, which will likely involve tweaking their algorithm in a way to present you with more current and relevant topics given why you went onto Twitter. They’re also experimenting with a new homepage design; you can see examples here, which admittedly seem a bit wonky.

I’ve actually talked a little about their need for a new interface before; the thing is, as a public company, they need to get in bed with different kinds of people than those they courted as they were coming up as a social force. (The same thing happened with Facebook, and the same thing will eventually happen with Snapchat.)

In a given day, there are 500 million tweets sent; some people believe “the life span” of a tweet is 18 seconds. 18 fucking seconds.

If you were a marketer ostensibly focused on telling stories, would you want to put your stuff out in a place where people basically have 18 seconds to consume it amongst the rest of the damn firehose? Probably not, right?

I’m technically in marketing and even I don’t really understand the full value of Twitter, honestly.

I wouldn’t go ahead and say “Twitter is going to fucking die,” because I think it’s very valuable for real-time news and insights (maybe “insights” is a bit much, because most of my stream is a bunch of articles like “3 Ways To Maximize Your Content Marketing!”) — but they do need to do something.

Ted Bauer