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Gini Dietrich

Either You Love or Hate Twitter

By: Gini Dietrich | July 14, 2010 | 
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On this week’s InsidePR, Martin Waxman, Joe Thornley, and I discuss the resistance people have to using social media. We thought we were solely going to talk about Ivor Tossell’s article about Twitter in The Globe and Mail, but we ended up discussing social media as a whole.

You can listen to it here.

Our conversation led me to thinking about a comment I made a few months ago on my friend Maureen Blandford’s blog. Her topic was about using Twitter for thought leadership, not for mindless thanks and RTs that don’t lead your followers to anything of substance. You can read her original post here.

I commented…

When I was first trying to figure out how to use Twitter to engage with new audiences and gain new wisdom, it was hard to figure out the balancing act between letting people talk about our work, but also showcasing it. What I found, pretty quickly, is that the work spoke for itself and my Twitter network was MORE than happy to spread the word because I NEVER talked about it myself and I ALWAYS talk about other’s work. It was even hard for me to tweet our blog links, but I figured out that if you do it by engaging people, it works so much better than selling it yourself.

Social media, particularly Twitter, is just a big networking event. Just like you wouldn’t do at a networking event, you shouldn’t talk about how great you are online. As a friend of mine always says, those are the Type OOs we avoid…output only.

After I said Twitter is just a big networking event, Maureen thought I should blog about it. And, after Martin, Joe, and I extolled the virtues of Twitter this week, I thought the timing was good.

Talk about burying the lead!

Either you love or hate Twitter, but I’d venture to guess those of you who hate it, aren’t using the tool. For those of you not using Twitter, I ask you, why aren’t you there? Is it because, like Ivor Tossell says, it drives off newcomers, it looks dull from the outside, it can be insufferable, or it’s all a performance? Or is because it’s one of the many reasons I hear all the time: It’s for the kids (which we now know, thanks to Courtney Dial’s guest post a few weeks ago, isn’t true), it takes too much time, you don’t care what people had for lunch, or you can’t control what people say about you?

What if you changed your thinking from all of those reasons to, “I already attend at least one networking event every month and I get five business leads every time I get out there. I can get on Twitter, network with people around the world, and see if I can change five monthly leads to five weekly leads.” Perhaps the timing and the numbers aren’t correct, but you get my drift.

Twitter allows you to meet, talk to, debate, and become friends with people around the world. You can’t do that at your local Chamber event or your industry trade show. So, perhaps it’s time to put aside all of your excuses and try it out! I know you’ll be surprised at what it does for your credibility, awareness of you and/or your business, and your own wisdom.

Where do you fall? Do you love or hate Twitter?

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

43 comments
Justin Brackett
Justin Brackett

As I have said before, I love to hate twitter. I have spent a few hours on twitter over the last few months. Honestly, at first it was lost on me. I talked to a few people, who I already knew. We would talk about "how cool twitter was" then we would follow up with a TXT to say wow twitter rocks. Then one day I started talking to to this random dude in ATL, who suggested that I expand and start looking for others to talk to, I took his advice.

I have always loved .orgs. I love who they are, what they do and how they are changing the world we all live in. I love that they can be moved to action in a few hours. I love that they feed the poor and care for the weak.

Somehow it all came together for me, I started talking to .orgs about Twitter and how they could use it to, wait for it... yes communicate in real time, with their fans supporters and donors. So I love twitter.

BUT, I agree with the ever-wise, Gregg and "his" Wu Tang Clan. I have been known to hate a few users, because they use twitter to hide behind. With their lofty follower counts, and their self-proclaimed greatness, they throw verbal twrocks at people. They feel no remorse for shamelessly attacking from their far and away places. So I hate twitter.

All in all... I lovingly hate twitter, for connecting me with people, whom I would have never other wise met. For teaching me that it is more blessed to give than to receive. For opening my eyes to the way others see the world. For getting me news 45 mins before the major news outlets report it. For having someone to talk to, in the middle of the night, when I am unable to sleep. For giving me audience with some of the brightest most talented people in the world. For rocking my world with honest feedback. For comforting me when my world seemed to becoming to an end. For showing me that no, it is not you, your boss is a jerk. For reminding me that it is really not about me.

Mark W Schaefer
Mark W Schaefer

I love your wonderful insights on "getting" Twitter. I have a new class starting in a few weeks and think I will read this verbatim! Thanks!

Karen Swim
Karen Swim

I totally heart Twitter. I have been using it for a few years now and continue to find increasing value from it. I have found that those who are primarily two kinds of haters:
1) Those that really need help understanding how it can be used for their needs and 2) Those who at a real live networking event, size you up, decide whether you're useful, pitch you, hand you a card and shove off to the next victim.

Hater group #2 doesn't hate twitter they really ate the whole process of building relationships. They want to get in and get it done without the small talk. They are bottom line driven and see the rest as a waste of time.

Jon Buscall
Jon Buscall

It's an important tool / channel but you shouldn't just jump on the bandwagon without some kind of strategy.

If you're a locally based business why not follow the 100-500 people geographically closest to you. Just do a "blank" geo search on Twitter Search.

You can then connect with them, learn about them, and hopefully lead them to your services / products.

So, yup, I drank the twitter kool-aid. But we need real life case studies to convince the unconvinced.

Mike
Mike

Yes, do!

Gini Dietrich
Gini Dietrich

Would you also please tell my friend Mike (above) why he should get on Twitter for personal reasons?! Maybe he'll listen to you, Dr. Jon.

Shelly
Shelly

I fought Twitter at first - for all the reasons you listed. I thought that it was for kids, or silly, or would just waste my time...

But then I signed up... at first it was odd - who do you follow and why would people follow you? (and actually one of the first people I followed blocked me - kind of weird... but oh well... I started typing in shows or stuff that interested me a followed people talking about that... I would jump in the conversation and then chat...

I have learned a LOT of things on twitter. Have a question? ask it! someone knows the answer! I met great people who I really, really want to meet in person... and hopefully the are as awesome in person as online :)

So if you couldn't tell - I am on the side of Twitter lover... :)

Shelly
Shelly

LOL - I doubt that is true - and I DO want to meet you in person some day! :)

I love to ask questions and get the differing opinions!

Gini Dietrich
Gini Dietrich

I'm not as awesome in person as I am on Twitter so let's hope we never meet. :)

You're so right about asking a question and someone knowing the answer. I use that application of it at least once a week!

Puneet Dutt
Puneet Dutt

I just recently got on Twitter.

I volunteer my time at an art gallery in Ontario working on building their social media presence, and PR for their events pro bono.

As a part of the event committee, I asked a woman next to me if she was on Twitter. She said no. She told me I was joining a bandwagon. I told her this was the direction that business and the rest of the world was heading. I pictured her in some old western film with a bonnet on, getting left behind in a cloud of sepia dust.

This is the modern alternative to networking like you said, and for me it's the modern day equivalent to classifieds, and a portfolio of sorts to showcase to employers as I start to apply for jobs.

As a transplant from New York, to Toronto, it's allowing me to network, and start conversations with people in the PR industry here, that I otherwise would not be able to meet. I think Twitter eliminates the formal, and awkward tap on the shoulder, introduction and hello.

And it gives me a chance to talk to people
and gauge what changes are happening, and catch the latest industry buzz from the ground up.

Just yesterday my twitter account caught the eye of someone in Communications wondering if I was looking for a job. I hope that keeps coming, because I love Public Relations and Social Media, and I hope to find a job here soon.

Although I did notice something when I looked in to see what people were talking about in the town of Markham. A lot of them are talking about themselves, and nothing with scope or relevance to the greater world around them.

Instead of connecting and engaging and drawing more people into a networking circle, they were talking about what they had for dinner, and what so and so said to offend them.

I think Twitter like a sorcerer's wand; with the proper incantations and use, as per instructions, it can be a powerful tool. I think every user needs to ask themselves, what do I intend to do with this account? Personal blathering can only work if you're an uber celebrity, and people live and die for that sort of information. Otherwise, it benefits the rest of us very little.

So I encourage everyone to try and use it. Those with clear intent. If not, they might end up getting left behind, in a cloud of swirling sepia dust. I for one, hope it helps me find a job in the career field I love.

Gini Dietrich
Gini Dietrich

I LOVE your cloud of swirling sepia and bonnets! LOL!!

Just like Jon says after you (below), you definitely should have a reason for getting on there. It doesn't have to be a hard reason: I first got on Twitter when it launched as BearsFan07, just to figure it out. Then I got on in December of 2008 as me to figure out how it applies to B2B companies...for our clients.

Jaimie
Jaimie

I am a Twit-aholic... They say admitting the problem is the first step... but I don't want to be cured.

I love Twitter. I have connected with the most amazing human beings on this planet. People with whom I never would have gotten to know either in person or just online without being a Twitter user.

Jaimie
Jaimie

Yeah...like you, but most importantly the new love of my life Pete....

Mike Koehler
Mike Koehler

I do not use Twitter. I do see the potential of it for networking for biz however. Not sure how relavant it would be to personal life, at least mine anyway. Between Facebook and a few message boards I'm on, do I need another place to network and meet people for mindless fun and entertainment? Plus, I agree with Dallas, there is a lot of nothing about nothing on there.

Mike
Mike

Apparently you have a point....or 6.

Gini Dietrich
Gini Dietrich

I have a lot of reasons YOU should use it:
* New running partners in cities where you travel (cough, Chicago)
* Updates on running and training
* New marathon races
* Ice cream recipes you'd never find on your own
* Blogs and influencers in restoring old furniture
* Wine makers

Need I go on?

Richard Becker
Richard Becker

Gini,

Originally, I hated Twitter. Then, I loved it.

Nowadays, I just like the way I use it. If I used it like some people I see use it, I'd probably hate it. So, yes, Twitter is what you make it.

Best,
Rich

Gini Dietrich
Gini Dietrich

You know, Rich, this is a very good point. You'll get to the point that you use it the way it works for you. What works for you may not work for someone else. But it's a pretty low entry to figure it out so everyone should try it!

Gregg
Gregg

As my esteemed colleagues of the Wu Tang Clan might say, "hate tha playa, not tha game".

Once you get over the fact that the is misspelled, it nicely applies to this situation. Twitter is a platform, it exists to be used however the individual users desire.

I feel like I spent the first year on twitter trying to build up numbers and the next year I've been culling down as I've found a lot of the people I already want to talk to, and can find new people to talk with from their recommendations and conversations.

Having said that, yeah, I f'in hate Friendster.

Gini Dietrich
Gini Dietrich

Okay Mr. I see no use for Foursquare. Which is fine because I will remain Mayor of Big Teeth until you figure out that you get free stuff from it!

Dallas Kincaid
Dallas Kincaid

Honestly, I've yet to find my way with Twitter. Most of it seems to be a rehash of blogs that I'm following anyways with RSS. So what's the point? I've taken a few sips of the kook-aid, but I'm not sure I'll ever have a "Oh YEAH!" moment with it. (BTW, I think I should get some mad props for my double kook-aid reference)

There also seems to be a lot of crap on twitter with people tweeting stuff just because they feel they need to tweet. Sort of like that person at a party that talks just to talk?

Anyways, my $2.47 cents worth on Twitter...

Gini Dietrich
Gini Dietrich

Okay, two things...how the heck did we meet?! Um, yes. Twitter! AND how the heck would you expect me to join forces in company pranks if we hadn't met on Twitter?! Come on, Mr. $2.47!

Kasey Crabtree
Kasey Crabtree

I LOVE twitter, with the exception of the glitch I seem to have with my avatar being stuck as a green bird when I tried to change my pic.

July 31, 2010 will be my one year anniversary on twitter. When I think back on the past year and the sheer numbers of new, GENUINE friends I have made DIRECTLY through twitter, I get a little emotional. My entire perspective of what is available to me socially, personally and professionally has changed in the past year, not just because of twitter, but it has played a very big part.

Twitter is a great way to network and then have the opportunity for F2F contact and I cannot get over the number of people an events that were going on "under my nose" that I would have never learned about had I not been on twitter.

Now if we can just fix my avatar! Grrr!

Daniel Hindin
Daniel Hindin

Kasey, that absolutely stinks about your avatar. :-( I've been wondering why your face was replaced by a green bird!

I feel the same way about Twitter. It's crazy to think of all the people I've met and things I'm doing that just wouldn't be a part of my life if it weren't for Twitter. If I think about it too long, it's kind of scary! But I'm just going with it and enjoying the ride!

Good luck with the avatar!

Liz
Liz

I agree that it gets easier to see the potential value of Twitter (or really, any piece of technology) in direct correlation with your own exposure to it: how long you've had an account, how many of your friends use it, etc.

Once something becomes ubiquitous enough, we don't question the value. How many people do you know in 2010 who claim they "don't see the point" in owning a mobile phone?

Gini Dietrich
Gini Dietrich

Or using a phone at all! Or email. Or fax machines. Or microwaves. :)

Andy Donovan
Andy Donovan

Great post Gini - the topic is one that I often broach with people who aren't using Twitter...don't seem to get it...have never used it but absolutely hate it.

I remember when it was considered "Facebook Lite" in terms of the FB Status Updates which these same people used daily but now couldn't rationalize via Twitter.

Why I love the medium is its ability to maximize the reach and impact of not only day to day friendships across a vast area but also allow us to do the same for our client messages. Understanding the medium, its audience and its capabilities allows us to go where we could only have dreamed about before.

In fact - had it not been for Twitter I wouldn't have met you (whom I consider my Twitter BFF), Martin and a host of other Tweeps I know count as friends. If you love Twitter you'll know what I mean...if you've never used it and don't then no amount of "flag waving" will change your mind until you see for yourself what all the hub-bub is about.

Just like the old "Life" cereal commercial...I'm sure if you try it and truly engage with it and those on it you'll like it. Happy Tweeting. Andy

Sally G.
Sally G.

Hi Gini!

I neither love nor hate Twitter ~ however I do see it to be a tool with tremendous influence, opportunity and reach.

I was able to appreciate it more once I got clear on its positioning and utility in my own priority list. When I initially entered the Twitter realm ~ it was like walking into a new High School for the first time months after the first day of school.

Identifying the various 'groups', agendas, alliances, trust agents and illusion artists takes time and can be an ongoing occupation if you allow it to be.

I think it's a place where you can mistakenly believe the Sphere of Influence is outside of you and you must work your way in.

With clarity, investments of time, energy and skill/info-sharing ~ the benefits soon become more apparent.

Twitter also seems to be highly populated with Introverts - so perhaps this form of 'invisible' networking and relationship building holds less appeal for those who truly come alive in the environment of face-to-face.

At the end of the day, Twitter is but ONE way to extend reach, establish connection and share significance - it is simply not THE way.

Mark W Schaefer
Mark W Schaefer

Love the mid-way through high school analogy Sally. So true.

Gini Dietrich
Gini Dietrich

Oh I didn't mean to imply it was THE way. I completely agree it's one tool. I do think it's the best tool for networking - it's for the friends you haven't yet met.

I am an introvert and I love that I can get on there, when it's convenient for me, and have my social needs filled. I also love that I can be grouchy, but no one on Twitter knows it. But Mr. D is an extrovert and he has yet to get on Twitter. So perhaps you're right about that!

Patrick Reyes
Patrick Reyes

You know where I stand on this. I wouldn't have met you if it weren't for Twitter. For me, Twitter is all about sharing good information from others and conversation. I've learned a ton from links other people (like you) have shared. It brings people together from different parts of the world.

If you hate it you probably haven't spent enough time with it to give Twitter a fair chance. I didn't really "get it" at first because of that very reason. It wasn't until I started seeing the value (learning and meeting new people) that I jumped right in with both feet.

As with the other social networking tools, the challenge / motivation becomes convincing traditional marketers that creating content that integrates the social web (i.e. Old Spice) can have a huge impact on awareness and creating conversation.

Great post Gini!

Gini Dietrich
Gini Dietrich

PR - see Sally's note about it being like the first few days of high school. I think that's what you're saying, as well. But the point is that everyone should give it a shot, if only for the networking!

Tom
Tom

I love Twitter. It's such a great tool for connecting with people and sharing information and articles that allow me to be more knowledgeable. I learn from people that I would probably never have the good fortune to meet in real life, and can connect with the leaders in many industries. If you tried talking to a C-Level employee in real life, you'd probably have to go through the normal chain of command to have a conversation. Twitter bypasses that completely. It's a great tool for getting noticed and getting your opinion out there to people that matter within the industry.

I think Twitter can fundamentally change the way those with little industry experience look for work. Connecting with the right people, posting high-quality information, and making insightful observations on Twitter could potentially catch the eye of employers. It's an interesting new way to think about job hunting for my generation.

Tom
@tmiesen

Tom
Tom

I love Twitter. It's such a great tool for connecting with people and sharing information and articles that allow me to be more knowledgeable. I learn from people that I would probably never have the good fortune to meet in real life, and can connect with the leaders in many industries. If you tried talking to a C-Level employee in real life, you'd probably have to go through the normal chain of command to have a conversation. Twitter bypasses that completely. It's a great tool for getting noticed and getting your opinion out there to people that matter within the industry.

I think Twitter can fundamentally change the way those with little industry experience look for work. Connecting with the right people, posting high-quality information, and making insightful observations on Twitter could potentially catch the eye of employers. It's an interesting new way to think about job hunting for my generation.

Tom
@tmiesen

Jeannie Walters
Jeannie Walters

I think it's pretty obvious I'd marry Twitter if I were allowed more than one husband!

Gini Dietrich
Gini Dietrich

I see no reason you can't marry Twitter. I've married my Kindle, my iPhone, and my Westone headphones. I say, GO FOR IT!

Joey Strawn
Joey Strawn

I am very much on the Pro-Twitter side of this argument. For the longest time I resisted it because I couldn't see how I would get value out of it, but then I read a few books that lauded about the possibilities and decided to give it another shot. I'm glad I did.

When I approached it from the right attitude I found that I got more out of it than I could ever put in. I've made more great connections and friends and have learned more through my time on Twitter than I ever had before. I even write about it in my blog (http://wp.me/pTCZM-58) and talk about the time issues and people's reservations about logging on.

I loved this post and plan to RT it to spread the wealth. Thanks for your thoughts!

Gini Dietrich
Gini Dietrich

I'm reading your blog post now and the preface made me, literally, laugh out loud! I also love your comparison of Twitter to the Dyson.

Thanks for the link, the wealth spreading, and YOUR thoughts!

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