Lets get real about this, to paraphrase Loren Feldman,
"Twitter: people write stuff, people read stuff. That's it". There is no big
social networking secret at work here. It's simply a communication tool and not
even a very good one. It breaks down more often than my first car, which I only
paid $240 for.
The truth is, twitter is for geeks.
Actually, it's not even for geeks, it's for uber-geeks. Not that there is
anything wrong with that, I use twitter myself and have at times been called a
geek. But to someone who uses the Internet for business (gasp!) and to make
money, Twitter is often just a distraction.
It's something for the ADD crowd to cook up and inject into
their veins. There is nothing wrong with using these systems. But what are you
online for? Chat, make friends, make love? All good stuff, but are you online to
make money? It's important to get your priorities right. Is your market the uber
geek? If so, dive in, Twitter is where your market is at.
But, if you own a small consulting firm or are the VP marketing for a
medium-sized manufacturing firm, I doubt twitter is where your customer base
will be hanging out. You need to identify and connect with your customers and
potential customers, and Twitter is not usually the most efficient (or
effective) way to do that.
Some have said it's
a great tool to use for list building. But when you absolutely need to build a
list and be able to communicate with your market, a third party system is not
it. Email is far more effective and people do not have to sign up to a third
party system to use email.
customers already have a Twitter account, forget it. If your customer base
already uses Twitter, you may have already read numerous blog posts praising the
system and are using it to your advantage. If so, that's great. That is not
what this post is about.
This post is not an
anti-Twitter post, it's not even a pro-Twitter post. It's a "Do that which makes
sense for your business" post, a reminder that there are black holes out there
which will suck all your precious time from you and not give you much (if
To get real benefit from Twitter you need to
build a following. Those who already have over a thousand followers can
send a digg request or a "hey, check out this post", and get a great response.
But here's the thing, that following has been built up over months or years,
with hours worth of expended effort. People simply follow/fan/friend the same
people whatever system they are in. The person being followed simply says,
"check out this new system", and they all go join and add the same people to
Building a following from scratch simply using
Twitter is possibly not the best use of your time. A following on Twitter should
be viewed as a by-product of success elsewhere. This only makes sense if your
business is with the natural inhabitants of this system. You need to be able to
connect with your customer base by giving them the least amount of hoops to
jump through. Even RSS. How many normal people use an RSS reader? I live and
die by RSS, but I am not normal. I live life on the cutting edging of Web
Twitter is fantastic if you have a market which already
uses the system. But ask yourself, do you need to reach out to that
If you think using Twitter is free, you are insane. As a
business person, you already realize that your time is money, so when you spend
an hour on Twitter learning what people had for lunch, you are paying for that.
When you think about it, you can apply that to everything. Even reading this
post is going to cost you money, I just hope I can make it profitable for
Twitter is addictive. Real people are using it to
communicate, and that can be fun. If you are online to have fun, fine and dandy.
But, if it's profit you are after, you need to judge accordingly.
Still not convinced? Still want to walk the soft sands and hoped you wont
get sucked in? Then, by all means, Twitter away.
The above article
was written in collaboration with
, a social media
marketing expert. Thanks, Lyndon!
By the way, you can
follow me on Twitter
if you'd like,
and I promise not to tell you what I had for lunch. And regardless, I still
think you should reserve your brand name or
company name on Twitter
even if you
don't plan to use it, just in case. -Dharmesh
Originally published Jun 12, 2008 12:47:00 PM, updated July 28 2017