April 29th, 2009
Today, we seem awash in media – the social kind and otherwise. I jumped into the Twitter pool, for example, because my friends and colleagues were beginning to behave as though I might devolve into a fish if I didn’t start tweeting. I’m tweeting, OK?! Stop bugging me!
724 tweets later… I actually think I get a lot out of Twitter. I follow 180 people (all their tweets pop up together on my “home page” for easy reading) and I’m mind-boggled that over 400 people follow me, theoretically raising my profile in the universe. I wander the site, use search and stumble onto things I didn’t know. I’d say that the value I’m getting from the site falls into 5 active categories:
1. New Twitter friends. If you tweet enough, eventually you find people that you’d be friends with in real life. They think like you, or don’t and are mature enough to joust with you on a topic. They’re funny or profane or smart or all three. Here are 4 twitterers I feel lucky to have “met”: Note_To_CMO, Brian Kenny, Ron Shevlin and Jason Siegel
2. Current friends with whom I don’t spend nearly enough time: TheCMOClub, JarvisCromwell, Marc Handelman, Steve Sieck and Jarvis Cromwell
3. Marketers of some status whose thoughts I find interesting: Bryan Eisenberg, Douglas Karr, Pete Blackshaw and Ann Handley, Jeffry Pilcher and Jeremy Pepper,
4. Business figures/celebs/media personalities such as Seth Godin, Steve Case, Maureen Dowd and Downing Street
5. I learn things about the world from HardlyNormal, FT, The Nation, Be The Change and others.
In the beginning, I was just trying to keep up, stick to Twitter’s unspoken rules and get the hang of the site’s ebb and flow. I’m sending’ some tweets and wandering about. I try to make each tweet reflect a thought that someone might care about or find amusing. I try. I always ask myself, brutally, why I think anyone might be remotely interested in or amused by what I’m about to say. If I can think of a reason, I tweet. If not, I come back later.
It seems to me that not everyone thinks of others. There are many on Twitter who think – as Dane Cook said on Larry King last week – that “Just ate a ham sandwich” is a good tweet. Could a twitterer possibly think that one’s banal eating, drinking, sleeping and transportation status are, on average, remotely interesting or worthy of someone’s time? What sort of blind arrogance or obliviousness could prompt someone to believe that “Hmmm, coffee” adds something to another person’s life experience? That “Got to be at Tampa airport at 6am” is noteworthy? I actually posted this video in another post – on my other blog – but it just captures this aspect of Twitter so well…
As an aside, there’s another category of weirdly self-absorbed twitterers. I’ll call these folks “twegomaniacs” (I wanted to be clever with “bozo,” but couldn’t make it work). I’ve followed – then un-followed – two of these twinsufferables: the first, a famous business celeb and author who was cluttering my life with random tweets 24 hours a day (because she has people tweet for her at 3am), and a business journalist who just thinks he’s da bomb. Drove me nuts. Clogged my home page and took far more of my time than their respective contributions deserved. They’re history.
Which got me thinking: what responsibility does each of us have to everyone else on Twitter, particularly those in our respective follower/followee universes? Do we have the right to blurt “Forgot to pick up my shirts” and other tweets of that ilk? Are we so vain as to think that every random thought should be expressed? Would you walk up to someone at a cocktail party and yell, “New sneakers!”
I didn’t think so.
So what’s the purpose of my meandering? Just this: I think we should expect more. More from each other, more from the media we consume, more from our choices.
Curate the words and factoids fighting for your brain space each day. Think about the value of your time.
The airwaves/webwaves/our brainwaves are only going to get weirder and more clogged as time goes on. Horse has left the barn. Can’t unring a bell. That dog won’t hunt. Etc. There will be more and more detritus trying to get in. Edit out what doesn’t make you better. When was the last time you started receiving a new email newsletter, or unsubscribed to an old one?
And in the case of Twitter – for goodness sake, don’t voluntarily invite folks into your head who need to tell you that they just got back from the grocery store or plan to enjoy the sunshine. As an aside, a lot of other folks have perhaps had the same reaction to Twitter’s potential avalanche of inanities: more than 60% of new Twitter users stop using the service altogether within a month of joining. In my world a 40% retention rate is yikes time.
I simply think you deserve more. And if you don’t start sweeping out the crud, I’m afraid you might just start telling me that you’re gonna watch some TV now… and that won’t be good.
‘Back soon with further thoughts on this topic (with examples from your favorite marketing magazine…)
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