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Only 34 Percent of Americans View Twitter Favorably

A recent poll conducted by Langer Research Associates for ABC News/Washington Post measured the favorability of several large tech companies. The results of the poll demonstrated that only 34 percent of people view Twitter favorably, with 36 percent viewing it unfavorably, and 31 percent indicating that they have no opinion. The poll revealed that unlike Twitter, Google, Apple, and Facebook received positive sentiments.

Graph indicating Twitter is viewed unfavorably

Twitter is the second largest social network with around 500 million member (140 million active users) with 340 million tweets sent per day. There are people who love it, including myself. So, what’s with all the negativity about Twitter?

People Don’t Understand Twitter!

Twitter’s Purpose:

People are confused by the purpose of a Tweet, often comparing it to the Facebook status update. Where in reality, Tweets are more ambiguous about their purpose.

I Don't Care About Your Status Updates

Tweets have many purposes and are used for more than just egotistical status updates. Twitter is great for business and networking. It is one of the few places where it is really easy to speak to the CEO of a big corporation or celebrity and actually receive a response. It has been used as an excellent customer service medium, both for the consumer and the business. For marketers, Twitter is a place to get a message out and collect a large amount of data simultaneously. Twitter is a good source of news and is a prime way to keep up-to-date on your favorite websites and blogs.

140 Characters:

Twitter was originally created for the SMS (text messaging) world where the number of characters was limited. Many people complain about the 140-character limitation on Twitter, but it is hardly a negative thing. The great thing about the character limit is that allows the user to quickly read through a greater amount of information, without having to read as much. To find more information it is easy enough to click a short link that had been included in a Tweet. In this way, it is very similar to a newspaper or magazine where someone scans headlines and then chooses to read the entire article based on their interest. People have also made the claim that optimizing their messages to fit within the character limit has made them better writers.

Following the Wrong People:

Twitter is comprises all types of people, all tweeting about different things. There are spammers, politicians, fire and brimstone preachers, and teenage girls. People often make the mistake of following the wrong accounts. Some will tweet interesting content and some not. It is important to choose to follow people who will tweet about things you will care about, whatever that may be. You can find people to follow using the Twitter search, using using pertinent keywords. You will find people tweeting about that topic that you can choose to follow. However, I recommend previewing the rest of their tweets and making a decision based on more than an individual mention of a topic. There are also directories such as wefollow and Twellow. Following the correct people can make Twitter an exciting experience and following the wrong people can make it boring or worse, annoying.

Confusing Terminology:

The world of #hashtags, ReTweets, #FollowFriday, @replies, and @mentions can leave the unfamiliar user confused and frustrated without a proper explanation. Very few people check out Twitter 101, The New User FAQ, and The Twitter Glossary before jumping into their Twitter experience. To avoid a negative experience, I recommend doing a reading first. It shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.

Twitter seems to be lacking a visible introduction for new users. It would benefit from a guide or explanation, perhaps as on online video, clearly presented on the main page where new users sign up.

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  1. Your reasons are spot on, but I have another to add. I am among the percent that does not really like twitter. I understand its uses, but logistically, it doesn’t work for me. So I did what I was supposed to do and followed all those organizations/people that I would love updates from…but then…they tweet too much! For example, a Boston news source will post 15+ tweets a day. By the time I get out of work at night, I am so far behind , so I scroll to read as much as I can, but if each organization posts 15 or so, I am never going to catch up. So I miss a few..why does it matter? Because I follow some people I care about. I find myself every day going to the 3-5 users accounts that I care about to read their tweets because I always miss them in the flood of 30 “breaking news” or “cnn” tweets a day. I have just stopped following people who tweet too much. It should be a snapshot of news from different sources, not a flood of information from one source that it clogs up my feed.

    How do other people solve this problem (other than getting twitter notifications from select few people…)

    • Laura, this is a very good point, but I would file this complaint under the Twitter does a bad job of explaining itself category. There are several recommendations I can make to correct your problem.

      The best solution is probably going to be to use lists. It is a built-in feature of Twitter. You can go an create a list of just your friends and exclude anyone who is too noisy of tweeter.

      Another solution would be to enable “mobile notifications” for specific users you wish not to miss. It will send a notification via SMS when that person tweets.

      A third solution would to use a third party tool I actually really like called Shuush ( It visually filters out noisy twitter users minimizing the size of there tweets and increasing the size of quieter users.

      Please let me know if any of these solutions end up working out for you 🙂

    • You do seem to be correct. I would probably attribute that to a rounding error, but I’d expect more from something published by the Washington Post. Very unfortunate. Beyond the statistical error, the point still stands.