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Twitter has completely changed the way companies communicate with their audiences. Engagement and conversation is the metric that now matters and media impressions have taken a back seat, but it’s taken a long time for anyone to get the hang of it.

Twitter was launched in 2006 for the express purpose of updating strangers on what other people were doing at any given moment. The development team has acknowledged they had created something with incredible potential but had no idea what it was really for.

Like its creators, Twitters users weren’t sure either. Marketers and public relations professionals seemed to immediately understand that there was value in a captive audience but the new ability to self-publish raised the question: what do we have to say?

Unlike editorial in third party publications, there are no limits on how often brands can update their followers and this limitless scope meant the need for quantity began to outweigh the need for quality in many minds.

And thus was born the inane corporate tweet, a creature of darkness which exists only to exist. No insight or depth of meaning necessary, just #content #content #content.

Many on Twitter took umbrage at this approach to marketing, labelling it ‘attention theft’ and began relentlessly teasing brands, tricking them into engaging in profane nonsense.

Social media managers are wising up. Many big brands have shifted their tone, adopting a style that allows them to hit back at trolls with wit and sarcasm, and their audiences love it (for the most part).

Although this light-hearted approach to communications is still unique to Twitter, we’ve learnt that people respond poorly to stiff and stuffy corporate speak, and content for the sake of content. It seems so obvious in hindsight.

Michael Newby headshot
Mike Newby is an account manager at Camargue.