Journal, Social Media

HOW TO: Describe What Twitter Is

During my daily email exchange with the gang, one of the emails I got from my cousin included this:

Only if your life is interesting enough should you join twitter. Unless you have someone you want to follow, then, I guess, that’s okay.

I replied with:

That’s actually the most falsified definition of Twitter ever. That’s what Twitter was like in 2006. Then 2007-2011 happened.

In an effort to make my real life (and thus, non-Twitter) friends understand what this “Twitter thing” really is, and what I’m actually doing as a profession for that matter, I figured I’d spent 10 minutes writing up a response that was less suitable as a tweet.

If you’ve ever run into someone who thinks similar about Twitter, feel free to paste this email to them. Apologies if you find it sloppily written.

• • •

Twitter is about reaching out and meeting people. Networking, if you will.

It’s the greatest networking tool in our generation for meeting and creating relationships with people. It’s almost entirely conversations; nobody cares about what he or she is having for lunch. Those kind of people have 12 followers. In a recent study, it showed that even celebrities have little influence over their followers.

The most successful Twitter accounts on Twitter aren’t celebrities. It’s the companies that get it. Like Starbucks. Why? Because 80% of their tweets are chatting and connecting with their community of people and building relationships. They only spend about 20% of the time talking about “themselves”. Why is Justin Bieber also one of the most popular Twitter users? Because he actually talks to people. Sure he says a few things of what he’s doing during the day (he’s a celeb, some kids care about that), but he actually talks to people. Ditto for Dana White.

What I’m saying is the guy who sits there and talks about how his back is aching from his work chair isn’t using Twitter the way it’s intended for. In 2007, Twitter realized this and thus implemented the ability to send public messages to and from people. People seem to be stuck in 2006 and think it’s just about talking about yourself. It’s not. Hell, even to this day, when it comes to tweets about what you’re doing, 71% of those kind of tweets are ignored. Nobody cares about you, and that’s why nobody follows you. The tweets that people read are the ones sent to one another. And that’s how people build followers. Build friendships. Build a network.

Do you guys really think my life is interesting enough to gather 3400 followers? Hell no! It’s from chatting and meeting new people all the time, online and off.

At a social media conference last year, Jason Falls, one of the most influential Twitter users in the world was a guest speaker and described it best when he said (something along the lines of):

Twitter is like a networking event. Imagine you were by yourself and walking into a room full of people talking to each other. You walk through the crowd, overhearing conversations.. knitting, sports.. hey, sports sounds good. You join the circle of people talking about sports. They make a little room in their circle to include you. You add to the conversation. You meet new people. That’s what Twitter’s about.

Anyways, I have this conversation a lot with people, dispelling the myths, so writing this ain’t no problem. Would rather have said it though. Or tweeted it. But I don’t think it’s possible to fit this all in 140 characters.

• • •

I think this is all factual. If I’m not, let me know and I’ll fix it. I may have laid it a little thick on him about personal tweets, but I was out to prove a point. For the record, I love tweeting photos of my better lunches. He’ll just have to learn that on his own.

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  1. Nadia Rampersad

    May 19, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    I really couldn’t have said it better myself. I try to explain twitter to some of my friends who don’t get it…now I will direct them to your blog:) Superbly written and so well sourced!!

    1. reggie

      May 19, 2011 at 4:53 pm

      Thanks Nadia! Some people just need an update, that’s all 🙂

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