Another week on Twitter, more lessons learned.
TS: Who is using Twitter?
DB: With most new social technology, the youth came on first and the “old-farts” eventually join – that’s the typical adoption progression. In this case, though, adult users adopted early on. For example, mommy bloggers love Twitter and have been vocal on it for a few years. In short, Twitter is great for people that like to have a megaphone.
Early growth is also driven by celebs, specifically athletes. While celebs were quick to embrace web sites, blogging and Facebook, athletes and sports figures have not. But with Twitter, athletes got on board early. Shaq is a great example of an early adopter of Twitter. He’s 100% authentic, he shares and doesn’t sell. Most of his updates are retweets or replies, making him highly interactive. He’s interested in talking to anyone that interests him – sharing his network as he gives people exposure to his huge following.
TS: How does Twitter compare to other social media platforms?
DB: Twitter is much more powerful than blogs, Facebook or MySpace for a personality to have direct communication with fans. Simplicity puts Twitter over the top. Also, the platform provides unfiltered access to people and their lives. Take Ann Curry for example. She tweets about stories she’s working on, and also includes personal takes you’d never see on TV.
TS: Do you think Twitter users are a representative demographic sample of all internet users?
DB: Not yet, but at some point, absolutely. In just a few years, the users will be more mainstream, just like blog readers are now. This brings up an important point: There are tweeters (they post updates) and there are readers on Twitter. Readers will wind up being a pretty representative sample of internet users in general.
TS: What are your pet peeves RE Twitter?
DB: First, utilitarianism. People tend to expect to get something back for everything they do on this platform. For example, the protocol that you should follow back everyone that follows you. This isn’t Facebook.
Second, Twitter users get rewarded for talking too much. Tweets don’t have much of a shelf life on the average person’s timeline if they follow a lot of people. As a result, you have to post multiple times to show up. One exception to this is Tony Hsieh (Zappos founder). He doesn’t tweet that often, but when he does it is meaningful.
TS: What tools do you suggest for getting the most out of Twitter?
DB: Personally, I love the web version of Twitter, even more than Tweetdeck, etc. I’ve installed the Grease Monkey plugin for Firefox, then Troy’s Twitter Script. You have to install Grease Monkey first. This ins’t hard, I’m not a techie and I did it. Once you do this, you’ll see added functionality from your web based Twitter page. For example, you’ll be able to create groups (friends, business, etc.) that show up as links on the right side of the page. This way, you have clean streams without all the clutter that are relevant to you. There are other cool features too.
TS: Finally, what advice would you give someone going on Twitter?
DB: First, set up some alerts to listen for discussions about you or your company/product/service. You can use Twilert for this, as it provides email updates (my preference).
Next, tweet for a bit to develop your voice. It takes several tweets for you to find your comfort zone. Do this before you go on a following spree (presumably to grow your following by reciprocation.0
Finally, have some real personality. Don’t be a robot or a link generator. Be yourself, Shaq does it. It is a generous thing to do and people respond to personality on Twitter.
Read previous Twitter Tuesdays (Volumes 1-4)