“Twitter is stupid.” Before you lash out at me for that line – you should know that I didn’t say that. Laura Fitton of Pistachio said it in her Twitter for Business keynote at Webcom Montreal, November 2008. Laura is an EXPERT on Twitter and makes her living speaking on and educating business owners about the Twitter phenomenon so she should know! 🙂
I recently wrote about how important it is to overcome doubt because sometimes when you’re starting a business a “stupid” idea can turn into a run away success. Twitter is a GREAT example of a “stupid” idea that has become quite a success story.
Twitter may be “stupid” – but it’s a growing phenomenon. I wouldn’t go so far to say it’s a necessary evil – even though it appears to have been an important part of the Hitler regime:
I remember when I first signed up for Twitter – and quickly forgot about it. I couldn’t imagine why anyone would CARE what I was doing! A few weeks ago – I placed the widget in my sidebar and started to make an effort to “tweet” and to follow others. The more I use Twitter – the more I can see how important it is to stay “connected”.
Because I’ve been twitterpated by Twitter, posts like Kalena’s 16 Must Have Tools for Twitter Users and Twitter – Social Media’s Hidden Gem are now catching my eye. Because of Twitter, I’ve discovered Darren Rowse’s TwiTip blog which is a blog devoted to all things Twitter.
The thing about Twitter is that it really is like blogging -which is why it’s called “micro blogging”. Like Blogging, Twitter is incredibly easy to use while at the same time being very difficult to master. If there’s just ONE blog post you read about Twitter – make it Liz Strauss’ 25 Traits of Twitter Users. Liz writes:
Certain signs and characteristics seem to show in the folks who live the social media culture. Certain value and actions make people who care about having relationships and conversation before transactions easy to spot.
It’s a must read because, as Liz’s post points out – not everyone “gets” Twitter. Despite what you may have read in the latest “get rich sitting on your ass” email newsletter, signing up for Twitter is NOT going to get you tens of thousands of visitors to your blog and it isn’t going to put money in the bank for you.
If you use Twitter to brag about how many followers you have – or you just blast Tweets about your latest blog post – then you won’t find Twitter to be a rewarding experience.
Twitter is a communication tool.
I’ll say it again – Twitter is JUST ANOTHER communication tool. There are other Twitter-like micro blogging applications that are competing with Twitter. Over at Splitbrain they’ve said goodbye to Twitter and hello to a new micro blogging communication tool. Does this mean Twitter is a business failure? Of course not. It means that someone had an idea about how to make Twitter better. (Remember this as you’re going through the steps to starting a small business. Can you do it better, faster, cheaper? Then maybe you should!)
One thing I will say for any start up that tries to make Twitter BETTER, they will benefit from the fact that Twitter “broke ground” with micro-blogging. It’s taken a couple of years for people to figure out what Twitter was good for and for Twitter to “catch on”. Anyone who can make a better version of Twitter will have to thank Twitter founders for going through the arduous process of educating the masses over the last two years on the benefits of micro-blogging.
Those who don’t remember history are doomed to repeat it. Over 100 years ago there was another communication tool hitting the scene – the telephone. It might surprise you to learn that people yawned when they heard about the telephone just like I yawned when I first heard of Twitter.
There’s a story that says the early telephone sales force wasn’t greeted with enthusiast demand when they first began selling their new fangled communication tool. The story goes that the single most effective “sales spiel” used to “sell” the new way of communicating was to tell people that the telephone made it so they could talk to their neighbors without getting dressed to go outside. It wasn’t until that “benefit” was communicated to prospects that the telephone began to “catch on” as a communication tool.
Ah – the first tale in the never ending saga of being human in the age of the electronic mob.
Wikipedia reports that “Twitter had by one measure over 3 million accounts and, by another, well over 5 million visitors in September 2008, a fivefold increase in a month.” I’m seeing other evidence of a groundswell around Twitter as well.
I use the Google Keyword Tool plug in to check for keywords when I begin a post. (It’s something I recommend you do and cover in more detail in my 8 Week Power Blog Launch course.) So, as I began this post, I went to check on what’s happening in Googleland around the term “Twitter”. What I saw was the average search around the term “Twitter” is in the 550K range. However last month (in November) that number skyrocketed to 1.2 MILLION searches. Yet more evidence that people are twitterpated by Twitter!
However, there’s another reason why Twitter is becoming the latest bell of the ball. See, Twitter promises free and easy communication with a mob of people Since communication is the foundation of advertising and marketing – well the appeal is obvious.
Advertising and marketing are simply communicating what it is your business can do for people to a mob of people.
Since Twitter is “free” and “easy to use” that makes it a “Free – easy to use marketing tool”. VIOLA! A small business owners favorite marketing combo – free + easy! This is why when a new means of “communication” comes down the path, it doesn’t take long for the marketing “gurus” to line up and announce that the SUREFIRE KEY to making untold riches is to simply utilizing the new method of mass communication.
Oh but here’s the “reality check” in the Twitter as the surefire path to riches scheme– If you don’t have anything to say – and you don’t know who you’re talking to – then Twitter won’t do much in the way of your marketing or your business. As a matter of fact, unless you’re a major company (like Dell) whose customers follow you just so they’ll know about the latest sale – you won’t find that using Twitter will put any cash directly into your pocket.
However, if part of your job description is that you have your finger “on the pulse” and to be “in the know” then Twitter is an indispensable tool. Since being “in the know” is an essential part of every blogger’s job description – that’s why Twitter is important for bloggers.
Are you twitterpated by Twitter? If so -why? If not – why not?