Taking Back Twitter
I know I know I know.
I promised not to write any more posts about Twitter. But, one of the things I like to do on this blog, besides breaking promises, is talk about how new media is evolving. And Twitter, well, it’s kind of the evolutionary story of the year, or at least the month, so I thought it was worth talking about.
It’s finally happening. Twitter is being taken over by celebrities, the media won’t shut up about it, and the tech-geek early adopter community, who have been on Twitter since the beginning, are freaking out.
“Twitter’s going to jump the shark!”, “Twitter’s dead”, and “It’s game over!”, are just a few of the rumblings I’ve seen pass through my stream in the past few days. Some are being downright possessive about it, almost violated at the thought that that Kutcher guy or ol’ what’s her face Winfrey are going to somehow infringe on their ability to use the tool.
So, can we just stop this then?
I am the first one to admit, I love Twitter. That’s probably pretty obvious to most of you. I’m on it often and it’s been a source of close friendships, fun social times, and new business for me. I find it a very valuable addition to my social and work lives. I’m a fan, and I’m not planning to change that any time soon.
Twitter is changing, as we knew it would. Seriously, it was only a matter of time before the rest of the world caught on. But the way people use Twitter does not have to change. The reason is simple.
If you are in your early late thirties like I am, you probably remember those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, where you would read to a certain point in the book, then have to make a decision about where you wanted the story to go. You’d flip to the page of your choice, and continue reading. It was different every time. I loved those books. Never got bored of them.
Twitter is like that – it’s a “choose your own adventure” tool. What I mean is, even though Oprah and Ashton Kutcher and P. Diddy are making tons of noise on Twitter, even though millions and millions of people are following them and talking about them and so on, the fact is, YOU get to choose how you use the tool. YOU get to choose who you follow. YOU get to choose who you talk to, and what you talk about. If you want to follow 50 people, follow 50 people. If you don’t want to follow celebrities, just don’t follow them. If you want to unfollow someone because all they do is follow celebrities, then geez. Just unfollow them.
Choose your own adventure in this space. Nobody’s telling you that you can’t.
I leave you with the quote of the day, for anyone who thinks that they can make a million bucks shilling advice about social media tools. This is a tweet from my friend Bob Goyetche, and is reprinted with his permission:
RT @bobgoyetche: Today, the legions of Oprah-ites join Twitter – your twitter “expertise” = soon to be as valuable as teaching someone to browse the web.
But we all KNEW this day would come, didn’t we?
It’s funny, the only tweets I’ve seen about the CNN/Kutcher thing and Oprah’s highly-anticipated debut came from people complaining.
Don’t want to get caught up in the celebrity buzz? Don’t follow the celebrities and unfollow anyone who gets caught up themselves.
It’s like anything else on Twitter, really. For a long time I felt like I had to follow the Twitter heavy hitters. If Person X has 100,000 followers, they must have something useful to say, right? Well, useful is a subjective and personal measure. If someone isn’t tweeting something useful to me, I stop following them.
Joe Boughner’s last blog post..The death of the agency
thanks for the quote !
I’m with you, twitter – like the web, is a personal choice journey. Don’t like a celebrity? Then why would you go to their webpage, much less follow them on twitter.
Technologically though, I’m concerned. This will be a big test on twitter’s ability to scale – we though MacWorld was hard on twitter.. There are more Hollywood fans than Apple fans… should be interesting to watch
Bob Goyetche’s last blog post..Your conference toolkit
Good reality check! I remember being in a book group about 10 years ago when Oprah just started her “book club.” The members of my book group made a rule: no Oprah books–because naturally anything she picked would be commercialized and, therefore, ruined.
Last night I was at my current book group meeting and I mentioned that “rule” at the old group and someone pointed out how that was a stupid rule because some of the Oprah books are really great books.
Like you said, same goes for Twitter.
Although I can’t help but cringe when I think of her calling Ashton Kutcher “The King of Twitter.” 😉
Maggie McGary’s last blog post..If Twitter Wasn’t Mainstream Before, It Will Be After 4pm Today
You are so right, it is our own journey and own Twitter. My own following grew some by my own doing in the beginning and now mainly by people following me. In the fall of 2008, when my following was 200-400, I found myself being able to follow conversations and people much better and though I use Tweetdeck, now with 1000 followers, I get so much talking that I lose my place. But I have realized that I can’t be bothered by more people and I just have to be selective just as I would be at any gathering. I don’t talk to everyone… I pick and choose.
The growth of Twitter since even my start has been amazing and locally now all the TV stations and newspapers are there. I have been coaching the staff of the convention & visitors bureau on ways to converse as opposed to blasting. And today I got an e-mail from our Chamber targeted to all members telling them to join Twitter.
It will continue to grow (until something else replaces it) and become more mainstream but it is still a useful tool. And I have been blessed with the friendships and business relationships I have grown from it.
Julie Walraven’s last blog post..Ask Me Why?
You’ve got a good point there. Twitter is so simple that you can control exactly how to use it. I don’t connect with anyone unless I’m absolutely certain I can use their information. Truly ‘creating my own adventure’.
Brian Schuster’s last blog post..LinkedIn and the Use of Pitiful Communication
I found your blog on twitter! Great post!
To be honest you can only ATTENTIVELY ‘follow’ about six or so people properly. That is, reading everything they say, responding where appropriate, sharing your thoughts and concerns.
So why do I follow 1700 tweeters?
To me, it’s like sitting at an upstairs window watching a busy street, seeing people going about their lives. If you’re interested in people it’s fascinating. With Twitter you’re watching a rich flow of ideas – some trivial, some controversial, a few profound. If you’re interested in ideas, it’s incredible.
Mike Burgin’s last blog post..Staten Island Ferry, New York
You are so right, and so is Bob Goyetche. As the Oprah type of celebrity comes to Twitter, the test is scalability. New technology tweaks may be required to keep Twitter afloat. And that’s a good thing. As it is, whales have been seen even before Oprah came along… wait, wait… what I MEANT to say was Twitter had response time problems WAY before now. No insult to Oprah who I personally think is a brilliant businesslady. I don’t watch her or read her or follow her, but I respect the heck out of what she’s accomplished. I’m just not her target audience.
But, seriously, if you don’t care for the “People magazine” types of tweets, you don’t have to follow them, right? It’s a lot like which magazines you might pick up at a newsstand (man, am I dating myself or what? Hard copy is so 20th Century). You choose who you follow ultimately. Like voting, you’re a citizen of the net, exercise your right to choose.
We all hate it when something we discovered becomes popular. A friend and I are like that with bands. We enjoy seeing them BEFORE they start playing the big venues.
paul merrill’s last blog post..Fun Friday picture