in Digital Web

Don’t be Foolish, use Twitter

As promised in my post about why Twitter isn’t any better than high school, here’s a gushing post about the sheer brilliance of Twitter.

To the person on the outside looking in, Twitter is akin to passing notes to your friends about the most inane matters possible. To the more cynical among us, it’s a reflection of the general “me first, me second” tendencies of millennials and Generation Y. When you tell them the majority of the users are over the age of 30, that it’s largely a tool for business and that Dell made a $1 million bucks last year in revenue JUST USING TWITTER they sit upright in their chairs and have more to tell you.

Look, social media is really about being social. You have to see it, hear it and engage it. And my friends, Twitter is all about engagement.

Here’s what’s great about Twitter:

1. Customers front and center People might not a Twitter from a Twiddler. In a world where sound bites can kill political campaigns and folks have seemingly infinite content possibilities, Twitter is network of audiences ready and engaged to hear what you have to say.

Tell them you’ll save them money or share some interesting news and they’ll keep following you. Unlike a blog, a newspaper or even a radio station, Twitter can pretty much go ANYWHERE I go. Through text updates, I can get notice of a major event almost instantly. So whether it’s a sale or something worse, Twitter usually breaks the story.

2. Let’s build our relationship… In the old days, how did mom and pop stores thrive? They build relationships with their customers. In the era of the big box retailer, shopping mall and Walmart behemoth, some might think that relationships have gone by the wayside. But it’s just not true. In the past, if you made a customer upset due to poor service or something else, they might tell a friend or a family member via the phone. The likelihood that you’d see a shift in business as a result of one angry customer was relatively small. Today? A customer who is upset with your brand could Twitter about it and word spreads instantly to legions of others who can air their similar grievances, causing harm to your brand that you knew nothing about. That is, unless you’re proactive.

3. Meet ‘n Greet 2.0: Those conversations with colleagues from around the globe have never been more dynamic. The water cooler now takes place across time zones and it’s happening in real time, without leaving your desk. It used to be, that after you met someone at a conference you had to fumble through cards to remember who they were. Or more recently, you’d add them on something like Facebook or LinkedIn, which was either too close or too distant for them to be useful. Now? Twitter is the new business card.

What do you think is great about Twitter?

  1. I enjoyed that when I saw it initially.

    I don’t think the issue is so much about “not valuing” other people’s conversations. It’s a matter of time and engagement. People just don’t have the time to invest and for a lot of us, it’s about building real relationships. Many of us have existing networks with people we call, talk to and see on a regular basis and they’re hard enough to keep up with, so investing in a proto-network of folks you might see at conferences (provided you can afford to and can take the time to go) is really a different level of interaction that most folks simply can’t invest in.

    Twitter isn’t a zero-sum game, but like anything you want to get something out of, it requires a lot more work than most folks can realistically put into it. So evangelists need to realize that like all things social media, it’s not and will never be a panacea to everyone’s ills.

  2. Reminds me of our popular post:

    The 3 Stages of Twitter Acceptance

    Normal to think that there isn’t much value in other people’s conversations.. the key difference comes when you engage with real people and talk about whatever IS important or relevant to you

  3. No sir. This is me learning from the masters of higher ed blogging. It’s all about the traffic. ;)

    It’s still pretty pointless. I can see the value now, though.

  4. All this coming from a man who not all that long ago I remember writing about how “twitter was pointless”… do I need to go dig up those past memories or are you truly a converted man now!? ;)

  5. I’ve started using Facebook and Twitter differently. On Facebook, I’m less likely to join groups, become a fan of a product or show, etc because right now, it feels more public than Twitter. I have “friends” from high school and old jobs on Facebook, but my Twitter account is limited to the right now: current professional contacts, close friends and interesting bloggers. Do other people feel this way, too? For colleges and universities, I think its important to maintain a presence in Facebook and Twitter, and reach a broader audience.

  6. I’m not convinced Twitter is here to stay. Many people comment about the signal to noise ratio. The one-trick-pony factor is there, too…

    Basically, I see Facebook to include the social elements, whereas Twitter is a utilitarian thing. Twitter has caught the eye of the mainstream, but is still a bit of a niche experience. It’s worth engaging with it professionally, but not socially. Of course I engage with it, but so far, I have not had any joyful experiences / fun through Twitter. And I really don’t appreciate that anyone can follow anyone by default – on FB, I get to approve any “friend” manually, rather than block them. In my head, that sends alarm bells ringing about Twitter’s potential. I do not feel secure, I do not get any fun from it, and it is a giant stream of spam. It is a user experience that does not have the same potential for long term mass engagement of the general public as other social networks.

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