Ken Burnett’s recent blog on Twitter trivia and how we might avoid or reduce it.
Ken can be followed @kenburnett1. Visit his site here. Follow Laurie Pringle at @laurie_pringle. Visit her website here.
‘By engaging with people about the little things in life, I get to know more people and they get to know about me and the organization I work for.
‘The chance to peek, however superficially, into the lives of so many people has been a lot of fun and a great opportunity to grow some wonderful new relationships. I’m far less interested in following people who never laugh, share their life and/or make use of the “social” nature of social networks - than I am those folks who post useful “content links”, one after the
I had to write. What you find trivial and pointless, I find to be the joy of twitter. In fact, it’s also what has allowed me through our ALS Canada twitter account, to move some newly discovered twitter followers into real time relationships, 3rd party events and donations. It’s about knowing people on a relationship level.
It’s called “social media” for a reason. I like to know the people I'm dealing with. It’s far more fun to follow someone's professional tweets when I can also see pics of their kids, pets, know a little more about what makes them laugh, cry or identify with their pet peeves. It’s a relationship - or at least, it has the potential to become one.
By engaging with people about the little things in life, I get to know more people and they get to know me and the organization I work for. As I demonstrate an interest in who they are, they want to engage with me personally and ALS Canada professionally.
What are you missing when you filter out the potential to discover great people who you may not know yet? Sure, ten of their tweets may be inane to you, but the 11th may be pure gold. There’s a world full of funny, bright, talented, interesting, odd, ordinary, wonderful people out there - and some of them are using twitter. When you create a twitter elite group and become overly selective about who you follow, you may miss some great new folks that you’ve never heard of. Sometimes you find the most precious gems amidst a pile of rubble. As long as you’re not wasting loads of time sifting through it, it's just a wonderful find.
If you’re finding too much tripe in your twitter usage, perhaps you're not using tweetdeck to its fullest? You can create groups, search terms etc. to ensure that you see all the tweets from people whose tweets you enjoy, without completely slicing out those people who are new to you and who may well surprise you with some wonderful content, as well as some sense of who they are in their every day life.
I find that getting to know people is at the heart of what we do. Having the chance to peek, however superficially, into the lives of so many people has been a lot of fun and a great opportunity to grow some wonderful new relationships. I’m far less interested in following people who never laugh, share their life and/or make use of the “social” nature of social networks - than I am those folks who post useful “content links”, one after the other.
Hope you’re enjoying a fabulous Friday!
Laurie’s last word:
One more quick example!
A couple weeks ago I attended an improvisation night at a local dinner theatre. I tweeted my dinner and mentioned the show. I received a response from one of my (and ALS Canada’s) followers, informing me that one of the improv people works with her in some community theatre she does.
Yesterday I received a tweet from her, offering to partner with ALS Canada for their upcoming two week show run. They’re going to have a small auction, give us some tickets to sell and brainstorm some additional ideas with us - as well as promote our participation in the press.
Had I not tweeted that, I seriously doubt that we’d have received this offer. She is also part of a bigger group of media people here and we’re hoping this will lead to more opportunities with that group.
You just never know where a tweet and a connection might be found. Twitter is like a neighbourhood pub. If you keep on message, don’t reciprocate and don’t really express a genuine personality - you miss great opportunities. To date, we’ve had three third party events come out of new followers on twitter and we’ve received interest in three more that we’re in the process of supporting.
Balance is critical, but some of the best practices we’ve come to rely upon for other forms of marketing are actually detrimental to social media.
One thing that remains true - you have to test! Social media is constantly evolving and dynamic due to the influence that instant communication brings with it. What works for one person or organization, may well be an utter failure for another.
Ok - now I’m off to get sushi!
The Twitter 100: Describing the 50 per cent in the middle as lazy is a bit like referring to lapsed donors as ’people who have stopped caring’. These twitterers are lapsing, people, and at quite a rate. Why? And does it matter? Note also the bit about loud mouths...
(Image by Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten)
Ken’s reply to Laurie
Thanks Laurie for your charming response to my post. My blog was an attempt to be provocative. Though, it’s not entirely playful. There are important points to be made, that I hope some people might think about. These are that words work better when they are used carefully, concisely and with precision, which Twitter is great practice for. And that anyone communicating by any means is well advised, if they want to get their message across, to think about the audience as much if not more than about the message they want to promote. As any direct marketer knows, audience is more important than offer.
I don’t really want to be elite, even if it is possible to screen followers and set up groups on Tweetdeck (other than unfollowing, I haven’t worked out yet how to do that).
And I do enjoy Twitter. I don’t want to lose the good stuff that comes with it. At first I thought I’d simply misunderstood what it’s about. But having used it these past eight weeks or so I see real practical, useful potential for it. Except... Not the way many, if not most, people use it.
I fully accept I’m a grumpy old curmudgeon. Most people of my generation don’t get Twitter. Many try it and leave it quickly. Most are dismayed at all the clutter, the trivia. A lot of younger people are the same. Supposedly ‘busy’ people particularly have a problem with it. I’m no more busy than most people. Maybe less. But time is my most precious resource (I guess I’m at a vulnerable age, but then, I always was).
Perhaps I’m not sufficiently on the lookout for new relationships (I’ve got to confess I don’t use twitter for that). I fully agree about finding gems among rubble. But surely this is the point. It’s the rubble that gets in the way of the gems. So I want to have as little of it as possible, so I can enjoy the gems more easily. Your position on this seems not that far from mine.
Obviously people’s views on what’s interesting or entertaining are subjective and varied. You are you and I am me. I watch TV shows and films that interest me and read magazines, books and websites on the same basis. I expect you do too. Social media will be no different. It has to fight for share of audience and to do that, it has to be relevant.
So I’m not sure why anyone would want rubble. People will drift away from Twitter unless it can become easier for us to access what might interest us. With Twitter that can only happen if people become a bit more selective about what they send. Not, I hope, leaving out entirely the quirky human touches – after all, they can be interesting, amusing, entertaining, instructive, helpful, provocative, charming, or any combination of those things. It’s just that usually, they’re not. And that’s the bit that, on an individual basis, people need to re-think.
If they don’t, I think Twitter will go the way of the hula-hoop. That was fun, for a while. But not many can do it now.
It would be better for all if the discipline before tweeting was to ask, ‘Is this either interesting, amusing, entertaining, instructive, helpful, provocative, charming, or any combination of those things, to anyone other than me?’ That gives a lot of scope!
By the way I’m back in London now, but I don’t see why you might be interested in what I’m having for dinner.
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