Is Tweeting for Meetings a Thing of the Past?


Twitter may still be the go-to social media channel for a lot of on-site participants at meetings, but is that where meetings professionals should focus their attention? Sure, it's a great way to find out if you need to turn down a thermostat in a breakout room, send flash messages about room changes and new agenda additions, and tweet pithy quotables from keynotes—and of course monitor the Twittersphere conversation around your event while it's happening. As a live-action tool, Twitter is still pretty unbeatable, IMHO.

But Twitter's luster as an overall good tool for expanding a meeting's message may well be fading, according to these numbers from Statista:

Infographic: Twitter Falls Behind in Terms of Mobile Engagement | Statista

Based on recent comScore data, Twitter's user engagement looks to be sliding off a cliff, with the average user spending less than three minutes a day checking Twitter feeds on their mobile devices. In fact, Twitter lags relative newcomer Snapchat, as well as old standbys like YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest. But the big winner in the social media race—no big surprise here—is Facebook, where the average time spent is more than a half hour per day.

Counterpoint: 10,000 Reasons Why Twitter Will Still Be Awesome in 2016

And now that Mark Zuckerberg has announced Facebook plans to dip its toes into 3D livestreaming and augmented reality, EventMB founder and editor Julius Solaris thinks it will be a real game changer for meetings and events (read more here—fascinating stuff!). Meanwhile, according to Statista, "to make things worse, Twitter’s mobile engagement has been declining for seven straight quarters until the end of 2015 and supposedly continued doing so in the first three months of 2016."

Historically, I haven't been a big fan of Facebook for this particular use—I still view it more as a way to connect with friends and family than with businesses and events—but I'm thinking I need to reconsider. What are the most productive social media channels you use to engage with participants around your meetings?

Discuss this Blog Entry 9

on Apr 14, 2016

Though the statistics above seem accurate in my experience, the core problem with FaceBook as a social media channel is that its algorithms make it impossible to know whether you are seeing everything that is posted. While this is the case (and it probably always will be), channels like Twitter that allow you to search and see _everything_ posted that satisfies your search (typically a specific hashtag) will always have a place for people who want to see a full picture what's going on rather than FB's restricted feed.

on Apr 14, 2016

That's an excellent point, Adrian! Also, I wonder if the fact that so many people do use Facebook to keep up with personal connections has a lot to do with the high engagement time metric--people just want to spend more time with friends and family? Though I read somewhere recently that Facebook is becoming a primary news resource for people, which I find a tad bizarre, but that also could account for the high engagement time since people are reading things on Facebook, as opposed to clicking through a link on Twitter. The numbers themselves are interesting, but I think the "why" behind the numbers might tell a more nuanced story.

on Apr 14, 2016

I agree, Sue, with your analysis of how I suspect Facebook is actually being used. I'm also suspicious of pronouncements of how much time is spent on these services; I have Twitter streams open on my desktop all day and there's no way my computer knows whether I'm reading them or not. And, as you point out, comparing the value of these services by time "spent" on them is misleading when Facebook does its best to suck content into its own infrastructure so you'll "stay on Facebook" while Twitter uses links to point to content that's "off" Twitter.

on Apr 18, 2016

I agree Sue. The filtering on Facebook is biased towards sponsored items and all the "personalization" will cause users to miss far too much content they should be seeing. The spectrum of content becomes very limited. Here is a good article about the three filter content model.

on Apr 18, 2016

Excellent points! Facebook has made its platform more engaging because it brings users to content within its own environment - versus Twitter, which takes users off to other web sites. With that said, I try to not use Facebook when I'm in a live session (such as a meeting) because it's too distracting. That's what I like about Twitter, Instagram and other microblogging platforms - you can skim it quickly, post something quickly, but still be engaged in the present activity too.

on Apr 18, 2016

Sue - great post that really made me pause and think about my previous social media usage around events. All commenters have great points -- I miss when Facebook allowed me to easily see each post in chronological order, like Twitter. Facebook is "pay for play" and groups, organizations, events, etc. will need to consider sponsoring posts to keep their organic content populating feeds. I follow news organizations on Facebook, so I am one of those who reads the news on Facebook (but it's not my only source of news!). I'm also a Twitter fan around events because of its ability to capture attention and ideas around a single hashtag. Based on your linked article, it will be interesting to see if those sharing and watching event videos will stick to Facebook, Snapchat or YouTube. I admit, I've been sucked in to watching video on Snapchat, but when it comes and goes so quickly, I don't know if it has lasting power for events.

on Apr 18, 2016

Luann, I'm with you on not wanting to deal with Facebook for live event posting—definitely too distracting. I still use Twitter, etc., for that too.

Mary J, it'd be interesting to see some metrics around Snapchat and events, for exactly the reason you mention. YouTube is still my go-to for event video, but Facebook is starting to gain traction in that area even for old-schoolers like me.

on Apr 18, 2016

The choice of the most effective social media tool also depends on the demographics of your meeting attendees. Business Insider had a good article last year "A breakdown of the demographics for each of the different social networks” e.g. more women than men use Pinterest, teenagers use Instagram, nearly half of Snapchat’s users are between 18 and 24. Less than 50% of adults between 30-64 use Twitter. Add to this that other countries may have popular social media platforms that are different from the US.

Who you are trying to reach where would determine your social media platform.

Another good article can be found on

on Apr 18, 2016

Thanks for the input, and for the pointers, EventPilot! Interesting reading.

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