Twitter: With What Purpose?

Think about it: Despite the popularity of social media, the world remains remarkably unknowable.  Extracting value from tools like Twitter requires people to use them in ways that their creators don’t encourage!

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UPDATE
:  I’ve clarified my thoughts per Wayne Porter’s thoughtful response.  Thanks, Wayne!
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Stop debating if Twitter is a time suck or should be measured for ROI. It IS worth your time at work or at play – IF you choose to make it worthwhile.  Marketers, it’s up to YOU choose to create-and-measure BEHAVIOR Twitter drives.  Nobody’s going to do that for you!

When we question “the value of Twitter” we should focus on the real issues — does it improve our lives and businesses or just complicate it?  If it complicates — hey, it’s BY DESIGN! (ours, not Twitter’s)

New rules for Twittering

“Fire your followers, hire your friends…”

“If you follow more than a few dozen people at the same time, you are a fraud.”

Some are suggesting new rules.  I like ‘em.  Why?  They force the REAL issue.  They beg the questions.

  • Should you measure your personal or business success using measures like number of followers?
  • What are such measures worth in comparison to others — others that tie to your business/personal goals?
  • When tweeting are we gunning for better “engagement”, increased good will, more reach — or should we strive to drive meaningful interactions… behavior… business outcomes?

To Twitter or not: how to decide

Twitter should make life easier not more complex.  The fact that we’re STILL debating its value is a sign.  As Wayne Porter points out, Twitter is failing to provide value for most users… and there’s a reason why.  Users.  Us.  Human nature.

Again, extracting value from Twitter requires us to use it in ways that most of us (and Twitter) don’t encourage.  Consider Jan

“The number of followers is not a score. It’s a statistic. Like ‘minutes used on your phone plan’ or ‘number of claimed dependents’… With every additional person you ‘follow’ the average ‘attention value per followed person’ decreases.”

In other words, do the math… and consider the outcomes (or lack thereof!).  He goes further and echos Porter…

“If you follow more than a few dozen people at the same time, you are a fraud.”

We hear more but know less

What has typical use of so-called “social media “created?  Low value, argues Jonathan Salem Baskin who suggests that given all the hyper-connectivity the world remains effectively unknowable.  Consider Jonathan…

“We have infinite access to the world as rendered via the Internet, but the content we gain comes with a loss of confidence and veracity.  We see and hear more, but know less…”

This,  I suggest, is what typical use — corporate and personal — of “social media” has given us.

Marketers Awake!

Today’s business environment (uh, nobody is buying!) demands more from marketers than ever before.  The answer on how to use Twitter seems clear: Use Twitter to drive behavior.  On a personal level the answer seems equally clear — use it to help build deeper relationships.

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