Jeffrey Levy commented on this blog in 2008 that his description of Twitter was a source of filtered, purified water out of a raging river.

I instantly smiled at the metaphor and began attributing him in my digital marketing courses. I tell my students that I compare LinkedIn to the Chamber of Commerce, Facebook to the cocktail party, Pinterest to the digital scrapbook, Tumblr to the photo collage, and Twitter to the river.

If you know the timezones of people following you and possess experience to know what questions inspire people to respond, you might get lucky.

Justin’s response caused me to pause.

Four years ago, that question would have elicited 3-4 times as many responses. But today, considering 1) the shelf life of a tweet is about 3 hours and 2) most people follow hundreds or thousands of people (Mireille follows 384, Lin follows 693, Justin follows 2,107, and John follows 2,613), you’re lucky if a tweet gets a response at all.

If your Twitter broadcast frequency is 50 or more times a day and you already have scores of followers, such as @CNN, you have nothing to worry about. But the moment @CNN stops tweeting, or drastically reduces its frequency, you may ask questions but you’ll quickly see other tweets in your river — and the river will keep flowing.

Lin, Mireille, Justin, and John replied to me because my tweet is what they saw in their rivers at a moment in time. They probably didn’t filter or purify me. They saw my tweet and decided to reply. My tweet could have been anyone’s tweet and their replies could have been anyone’s reply.

As 2012 turns into 2013, I find myself tweeting less. I’m slowly developing an e-book on my Twitter evolution over the years. I want to tell my story as much as I’m sure you want to read it.

Please continue reading The Purpose of Twitter and leave a comment if inspired.

When he's not blogging, Ari helps brands improve their digital media marketing. Got a question? Need help? Contact Ari today!