Twitter This and Tweet ThatBy Christine Cox
It’s true. There are lots of people out there that still don’t get Twitter. I know a few of them, and my hunch is you do, too. And you may be inclined to fall into the trap I often do; the “let me explain this to you one more time” trap where before long you sound like an evangelist, pounding your fists on the coffee house table trying to get it through someone’s thick head that Twitter’s about relationships, and it’s not just a place where people vent and kvetch and talk about the minutia of their day.
Those of you who do get it may not need to read on, unless you’re bored, you read fast, and you’d like to pick up a another tidbit for your next fist-pounding episode.
1 – Twitter is about building community
I grew up Catholic, and I’m now what’s known among us as a ‘recovering Catholic’. But one thing that my parents did successfully get across to me is that one of the reasons ‘church’ is so effective and so many people are willing to drag their tired asses out of bed on a Sunday morning for it is that it creates COMMUNITY. People need to live in some form of community. No man is an island. Twitter connects and builds community from one side of the world to the other. Do I need to mention Egypt, Tunisia, the earthquakes, the floods, the fires? Natural disasters, political uprisings, and yes, even just creating curiosity and energy around your brand or your cause – all these things bring people together and Twitter is a way to make that happen. For free.
2 – Twitter is in real time but it takes time
Twitter breaks news in real time. How entirely cool is that? Like the television “Breaking News” flash, twitter allows you to hear the news as it’s happening AND engage in the process of that news. But remember, your ‘twitterati’ (the scores of people that will eventually be following you and hanging on your every tweet) is not going to happen overnight. Building true community takes time, patience, and genuine curiosity. If you’re not curious, if you’re not relatable, if you’re not honest, don’t bother. Which brings me to . . .
3 – Twitter is for the Curious
When I was 17 my mother took me to France; just us two. Needless to say, it didn’t go smoothly – a teenager with her mother for six weeks in a foreign country can be tricky. But to this day, there’s one thing I clearly, vividly remember about that trip. As we were walking the streets of Paris, I started whining that I wanted to go back to the room to write my boyfriend for whom I was pining like a 17 year old. My mother stopped in her tracks, looked at me very sweetly but sternly and said, “How can you? You’re in Paris! Aren’t you curious?” Curiosity is underrated. Twitter has so much divine, delectable, intrinsic, immensely interesting content day and night, one could honestly spend an entire Saturday doing nothing but twitter-chasing. (No I haven’t done that, I swear.) Be curious. Learn. Grow.
I’ve gotta run. I have a potential client I need to contact that I met on Twitter yesterday. He posted a simple question. “Does anyone out there appreciate the poetry of John Dunne?” I said I did, we got into a conversation, he said he’s been looking for a good PR person to help him market his book and film about cooking for people with diabetes. The project is fully funded and he needs help. Help is on the way! Thanks, Twitter!
Side note: Singaporean director and filmmaker @sioksiok (Tan Siok Siok) made a documentary about Twitter called Twittamentary – watch the trailer below or by clicking here and let us know what your twitter story is these days. Do you have a good one? Will you watch the documentary?