Is Twitter Too Complicated?

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As Twitter marketing specialists, we’ve heard it a billion times: “I don’t understand Twitter,” “What’s a hashtag?” and our favorite, “What am I supposed to tweet about?” But it’s not just older folks or the technically challenged who find Twitter confusing. We’ve tried to explain how tweeting works to a slew of great minds and legends in their respective professional fields with mixed results. As it turns out, even Twitter’s CEO admits that the social network is hard to use.

Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo, in an interview with Kara Swisher at the D: All Things Digital conference in Rancho Palos Verdes on Wednesday, said he believes Twitter is still too complicated for the masses to understand.

“Simplicity,” Costolo said when asked what he thought was missing from Twitter.

Costolo marveled at how Twitter, thanks to its 140-character confines, has forced users to create a language of their own, but notes the downside is remarkable language is super hard to understand” for newcomers. Costolo cited placing quotes around an “@” as one example of new user error commonly found on Twitter. Costolo says Twitter’s future relies on bridging the gap of pleasing longtime users and making the site easier for newcomers. In his chat with Swisher, he also championed Twitter’s ability to break news and spread important information, but denies the company’s rumored desires to become a media company itself.

“We are the platform for global information distribution,” he said to emphasize Twitter’s goal of staying by the people and for the people.

Perhaps Costolo is right. Maybe Twitter is still too difficult for the casual social media user. But as folks who run Twitter for business campaigns, we happen to think it’s those very things that make Twitter an awesome marketing tool. Once a brand has learned the lingo, Tweeting can be an incredibly powerful way to keep in touch with clients, address customer service issues, promote new products and create new content.

Readers, what’s your take? Is Twitter too complicated, too easy or just right? Tell us about it in the comments!

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