I was out the other night with my sweetie’s co-workers, helping to celebrate one of their birthdays. It came up that one of the co-workers had just attended a workshop that day on Twitter. I, of course, Twitter enthusiast that I am, was all over it.
“So, are you going to join??” I asked, thinking, “I have to get her handle so I can follow her.”
“No,” she said. “What’s the point? It’s a lot of noise. I don’t want to know the minutae of people’s lives.”
Hmm… good point. Hard to argue with that.
There is a lot of noise on Twitter. Clearly, having tools like Tweet Deck or HootSuite to deal with thousands of Tweets daily makes a big difference. But there’s a bigger problem, here.
Here are two good reasons NOT to join Twitter:
1. If you don’t have a purpose for Twittering, and you don’t have a plan. I wrote a while back about Oprah joining Twitter, and how anything she touches turns to gold (by which I mean, becomes immensely popular). If you are thinking, “hey, this Twitter thing sounds cool, everyone I know is doing it, I should check it out,” that’s fine, but stop first, and do some research and planning.
What do you want to use Twitter for? It’s most useful application is to drive traffic. So, if you have ablog, vlog, podcast, or Flickr steam, Twitter can be really useful for increasing your stats. It can help to drive traffic to your website. If you have a business, it can help you to promote special deals and sales. But it’s good to have a plan going in–how are you going to use it? When will you tweet? Map this stuff out before you begin.
2. You have the time and energy to put into it. You can’t join Twitter, follow 1,000 in 10 minutes, and expect that you’ve done your job. Social Media is all about making connections. You can Twitter on five minutes a week, but for me, the minimum would be 5-10 minutes, three times a day. Because Twitter is real time, things happen fast, so it’s good to check in more than once every 24-hours. You need to respond to interesting tweets, Re-Tweet stuff you like, and respond to people. If you are doing nothing but putting your own stuff out there, people will quickly loose interest. They want connectivity as well.
There was a big hoo-haa about this Neilson Blog post about Twitter’s recidivism rate. Turns out, only about 40% of the people that will sign up for Twitter this month will continue to post. The other 60% will abandon their accounts (it’s coined a new term: Twitter Quitter). I get it. Twitter’s hard. Not to learn the interface, or to get started, but to learn the nuances of the culture, takes time. (shameless plug: or you could hire Simon and I to do a workshop for you).
I’m okay with people not jumping on the Twitter bandwagon. I am excited about people who are excited to join for the right reasons, and who are committed enough to keep at it and follow through and to create Tweets with value. Maybe there will be less people twittering about their ham sandwich they had for lunch, and that is never going to be a bad thing.