A majority of twitter users don't use their accounts to post. They use it as a method of collating information, news and following specific accounts. Lurkers if you will.
Lurkers make up at least 40%
of the twitter active user number - so you may think that you don't know anyone on twitter, but you're probably wrong. Not everyone wants to broadcast their thoughts, but that doesn't mean that they don't look at the same stuff on Twitter that you do. Not everyone wants to be followed.
At the end of the day, the BBC requires positive feedback from their audience to justify their spend, as they are a public broadcaster who are not allowed to present financial records alone as a sign of success.
With the text system, they were given the opportunity to get this feedback directly from listeners to them to prove that people wanted things. This meant that if they wanted to play a song that the BBC bosses wouldn't agree with - they could override that disapproval by presenting evidence from the texts, or even just use it to gauge how engaged the audience is with a particular show (which is why the team occasionally pushes the audience to text in over trivial things such as 'what's your favourite cereal'.
When social media (for commercial use) rose to prominence via Facebook - the team pushed all the audience to there and started to focus their content online. This was because it was a free alternative to texting in, and it appealed more to their target audience (at the time, the largest age group of users on Facebook was 15-24).
It reached them through a medium that they were already using, was modern and would set the standard for interactive radio broadcasting. The content they provided got many more hits than the Radio 1 website, with an enhanced sense of engagement. All of this would come across very well to the BBC bosses, and secures the future of features such as the pub quiz, by assuring anyone who challenges the merits of it (with quantified data).
Twitter came along and provided everything on a much more instant level. It is a much more social platform for brands to interact with, and allows the show to reach a much wider audience - as interacting with a brand on Twitter is as simple as using a hashtag. More people post on Twitter (in terms of volume) than on Facebook - which means that the team benefits much more from using Twitter as a means of show promotion.
The number of worldwide trends that the show has produced shows the power of Moyles' audience - something which won't be going unnoticed among the Radio 1 bosses. Being able to show that your audience is so engaged with your content that they can trend a benal topic (#saynotohardbutter) - is not only great for the future of the show, but also for justifying the rambling, ridiculous show content that a majority of fans of the show love. When Capital tried to trend #CapitalFMrocks the other day, the team blew them out of the water with #Radio1Rocks trending in London, the UK and Worldwide - that's the kind of data which provides insight into the audience that Rajar figures can't.
For every journalist criticising Moyles for being out of touch and too old, the team can present data to negate that view and prove them wrong. The BBC needs data like this to justify a majority of their programming & spend. Radio isn't just Radio anymore - maybe that's sad, but it's the way that the whole industry is moving.
This was a way longer post than I anticipated.