I have clients and colleagues who find Twitter to be cumbersome. I know this is the favorite social network of many social media professionals, including you. What do you suppose makes Twitter so love/hate?
My experience with Twitter is pretty typical. I joined and after a day my eyes glazed over and I thought, ‘Why would I ever want to do this.’ Eventually I went back to it and suddenly it clicked, and I loved it.
I have three ideas about this.
- If it’s cumbersome, that’s normal. Most people don’t get it right way. You need to use it to get it.
- Again, it’s the mindset. People will say, “I don’t care about what you had for breakfast.” Well, I DO care – I’m building a relationship. It’s the same thing with water cooler talk – you’re not just talking about business. If that’s all we talk about it, then it’s just a business relationship, which is one-dimensional.
- You need to be somewhat connected on a regular basis. On Twitter, you can contribute as little or as much as you want, but its 24/7 real-time connection, unlike some of the other networks.
Twitter works because of the mobility. We can interact on our smart phone so we’re not tied to the computer all day. Without that, I believe Twitter would have died a slow death.
Twitter is like the mobile phone. When it was first introduced, we all thought “how are we going to manage this with everything else.” After a while, we got used to it. It became a part of life and we weave in and out of it.
Unlike other media, Twitter mirrors real life.
There’s a lot of talk about social media rules (thanks for the RT, don’t post too much, don’t post too little, 90/10 or 80/20, etc). Do you believe in social media rules? Do you follow them? Should others?
Every platform has its own set of unwritten rules.
Just be yourself. We tend to over think things. It’s social media - it’s going to be similar to how we are in life. When I leave somewhere, I’ll hold the door open for a lady because that’s my etiquette. The same rules apply online.
If someone re-tweets me, I generally try to thank them and engage with them in some way. I personalize my response and make sure I use their name.
For example, a woman from New Zealand recently re-tweeted me. Instead of ignoring or just thanking her, I looked at her profile, saw she was from New Zealand, commented, thanked her, and asked her how it was there. She responded and said there was fresh snow on the mountain. And, because I also saw that she was into snowboarding (from her profile), I was able to comment back about that. It’s all about the conversation.
What’s the future of social media?
I'm not sure if there will be a “next big thing,” or if there is, what it will be. For the most part I think we are in a "settling in" period. We are becoming comfortable with the platforms that are out there and they are becoming more integrated into our lives. I predict full integration – website/marketing/social media. I also think businesses will start to become more comfortable with social media.