I’m sure that you’ve heard the conversations over the past year or so: “No one’s using Twitter anymore”, or “I still don’t get what Twitter is”.

Those people weren’t wrong, except that there have always been a solid core of power-Twitter-users who get from the platform some things that they can’t get anywhere else: Real conversations, access to some of the most interesting people’s real thoughts, and the real breaking news as it’s happening.

Think about it: What’s the best way to get a message to Chrissy Tiegen, have an internet debate that doesn’t degrade into Godwin’s Law (all internet discussions eventually end up involving Hitler – it’s a real thing), or get live info from the ground of the latest amazing, tragic, historical event? The answer to all three is emphatically: Twitter.

The problem is that most of the rest of the Tweet-machine is a heaping pile of garbage, and it can be tough to wade through the slop to get to the good stuff.

Apparently they’re doing something right over there, however, because just the other day they announced that their earnings are up dramatically, the stock rose, and the monthly active users are 7 million people higher than was estimated.

I believe that a lot of the chaff has been washed out – it’s just not profitable to run a spam-bot on Twitter anymore. All of the best phishing is over on Instagram.

Additionally, Twitter has added features that surface interesting content and deepen live experiences, like they did for the Super Bowl.

But events where Twitter really shine only happen once every so ofter – so how can Twitter generate attention in the between-times?

On the heels of the earnings call Twitter dropped their very own Super Bowl – in collaboration with Nike.

It was called #Breaking2, and they Live-Streamed three of the best marathon runners in the world as they attempted to set an unimaginable pace for the super-human race: Run 26.2 miles in under 2 hours.

That’s an insane time, and people across the world tuned in on their devices to watch as Kevin Hart hosted along with special guests like Carl Lewis. It was available on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, but by far the best conversation was happening on Twitter as people, (even other brands) from across the world cheered the runners on in 140 characters or less.

So What?

I’ve been saying for the past year or so that I’m finding it more difficult than ever to justify that a brand with limited resources to maintain social channels dedicate more than 10% of its attention to Twitter. I’ve also said that if 10% means that Twitter gets less than a half hour of attention each day, then it’s not worth doing, but those numbers may be changing.

If more people really are logging in regularly, and Twitter + brands keep creating awesome experiences like #Breaking2 to get us all engaged, then in could very well become a viable outlet for much more of a brand’s attention, especially as Instagram becomes increasingly cluttered and tired.

Want To Get Back Into Twitter?

Here’s my advice: If your Twitter experience is boring, it’s not Twitter’s fault, it’s the boring accounts that you follow. They may have been interesting back in 2011, but that doesn’t mean that they’re Follow-worthy now, so start with this, and move through the list to reenergize your Twitter-xperince:

  1. Unfollow relentlessly. Like, consider starting from scratch. If they don’t make you laugh, amazed, informed, or your breakfast (don’t unfollow your spouse), then don’t keep following them.
  2. Follow 20 truly awesome accounts.Who is the Neil deGrasse Tyson of your industry/area of interest? She/he exists. Find & follow.
  3. Follow 30 accounts that they follow. Find your favourite accounts that follow fewer than 2000 accounts. Scroll through and find out who they’re reading, and add them to your own account.
  4. Engage daily for a week. No need to drop tweet-bombs into the abyss – you’ve been dormant for a while – no one is listening. Instead, try adding to a conversation. Disagree, interject, or even just retweet. If you’re doing it like a real live human, then I guarantee that you get involved in at least one conversation, and that’s where the good stuff is.
  5. Finally – don’t put too much pressure on it. Just have fun, be a real person, and talk about what you’re most interested in. All of the best people are super-nerds about something. Twitter is where you find that tribe that’s just as nerdy as you are.

For me, it’s my 49ers, education and digital marketing – if you’re into that sort of thing, come say hi: @Conner_G

Every week I publish the latest in digital, what I’m seeing, and my opinions on the latest in social to an email. It’s called the Social Brief, and if you’d like to be included in the list, then add your info below.

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