I tried Twitter long ago and decided that it sucked. I failed to see the upside for individuals or small business. As a marketing professor, I certainly recognized the importance of maintaining a watchful eye on big brands and the potential for customer service interventions. But, this seemed like it was one-sided and corporate.
Turns out, Twitter doesn’t suck at all. I, probably like a lot of people, tried Twitter at about the same time that I was diving head first into Facebook. This was a giant mistake because I was looking at Twitter to do the same things that Facebook was doing; connecting me to my friends current and past. When I tried this, the few people that I did know on Twitter were wasting my time in 140 characters or less. Not to mention, all of those people were also available to waste my time on Facebook. I hated it and all but abandoned my account.
Well, I will just have to admit that I was flat-out wrong. Twitter is awesome if you know what it does well. (WARNING: This is still very new to me and I couldn’t RT (That’s ReTweet) you if I tried…. but I will get there soon now that I know why I need to know.)
Twitter is mostly about providing access to communities that you wouldn’t otherwise be privy to. It is not about communicating with your friends or sharing your life. It is about content specific communication. You are either interested in what experts have to say or you want to demonstrate your expertise. For example, I recently started to listen to podcasts when I work out. I became interested in a couple of comedy podcasts (Jay Mohr’s and Joe Rogan’s) after listening to episodes starring my buddy, and fellow comedian, Bert Kreisher. The podcasts are entertaining on their own but they also introduced me into a stand up comedy community. I began to follow Jay, Joe, Bert and other future guests on Twitter. Other than Bert, I don’t know any of them personally and never will, but I enjoy following their tweets about what is going on in their community.
That example is based off of how I ended up reconsidering Twitter. More professionally, I have added countless experts in entrepreneurship. I am now following business owners, writers, politicians, academics and angel investors. These people consistently share what they are reading and writing. In no other venue could I quickly and thoroughly have access to a targeted community.
So give Twitter another try, or maybe a first shot. Try to target people that you don’t know but have interesting credentials in a community that interests you. Wether is professional of personal interests, follow a group of experts for a while and see if you don’t start to click on your Twitter bookmark before you click on your Facebook bookmark.
I look forward to following the mountain of material consistently shared on Twitter and eventually becoming follow worthy myself. If you are interested, look me up on Twitter: @PeteWhalenCO
Wait a minute, does LinkedIn not suck, too? I will have to reconsider that possibility.