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Randy Cassingham

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bullet  Twitter: Why You Should Care

Chris in Washington asks:

Randy: you've mentioned Twitter a couple of times, and I see you have a link on TRUE's home page to your Twitter page. I've looked at Twitter a couple of times, and I just don't get it. Do people really care that their friends (or favorite celebrities) are "Waking up to face the day." or "Eating a bologna sandwich for lunch."? Why?

No, no one is interested in their friends' lunch habits, and anyone who is interested in celebrities' wake-up times are in desperate need of lives. But Twitter can be an interesting -- and even useful -- part of your day.

The main problem, I think, is that Twitter's founders didn't really "get" what would make it useful. That's made clear on your Twitter home page, where the little box that you type your updates into asks you to answer the question, "What are you doing?" Twitter's power users have disregarded that, and made the site useful by applying their own ideas as to what it's all about.

This is the secret to making Twitter really useful: No one cares what it is you're doing. When people put in there that they're "Waking up to face the day." or "Eating a bologna sandwich for lunch.", it means they have no clue as to the power of Twitter -- and no respect for their friends' time. And the percentage of Twitter users that have no clue (thanks in part to Twitter's own confusion) is uncomfortably high, leading most people to say "I don't get it" when they look at Twitter.

Rohit Bhargava, a Senior Vice President at Ogilvy (a giant advertising, marketing and public relations agency), who wrote a book about putting personality back into marketing, posted what he calls "The 5 Stages Of Twitter Acceptance" on his Influential Marketing Blog:

  • Denial -- "I think Twitter sounds stupid. Why would anyone care what other people are doing right now?"
  • Presence -- "OK, I don't really get why people love it, but I guess I should at least create an account."
  • Dumping -- "I'm on Twitter and use it for pasting links to my blog posts and pointing people to my press releases (or stuff about me)."
  • Conversing -- "I don't always post useful stuff, but I do use Twitter to have authentic 1-on-1 conversations."
  • Microblogging -- "I'm using Twitter to publish useful information that people read AND I converse 1-on-1 authentically."
  • Collaboration -- "Actual, meaningful relationships and collaborations have occurred out of my usage of Twitter."

I'll certainly admit that I've gone through those stages myself. The important thing is to not get stuck in the first or second stage.

The Basics

Twitter lets you post "Tweets" (as they call them) of brief tidbits of information, with or without links, to other Twitter users who "follow" you or go to your Twitter page. How brief? No more than 140 characters. You can send the Tweets via the Twitter web interface, cell phone text message, various instant message services, or stand-alone applications that interface with Twitter (and there are a lot of them).

You can also send a "Direct Message" to anyone who is following you -- a private 140-character message, or you can "reply" to them in public by starting a Tweet with their user name, starting with an @ -- like, "@ThisIsTrue: I didn't understand the joke in your latest video, but I still laughed!"

A more recent convention is "hash tags", which makes it easier to find Tweets about particular events. For instance, people in the know Tweeting about Obama's presidential inauguration are including #inaug09 in their post to make it easy for people looking for information on that event to find what people are saying via Twitter's search tool.

A quick video, created by my friend Lee LeFever of Common Craft, called "Twitter in Plain English", explains the basics of Twitter...

...but Lee also emphasizes the "What are you doing?" aspect -- probably because Twitter asked him to. So you can see why so many people post about their lunch. I think those people are making a huge mistake, because Twitter can actually be useful to ordinary human beings; it doesn't have to be stupid "I'm having lunch" posts that only three people in the world care about.

No One Cares What You Are Doing

Ignore Twitter's suggestion that you post about "what you are doing". If you post that you're leaving the office and will "Tweet" again later to tell people you are now home, most of the very few people that are following you will quickly figure out you don't have a life and will "unfollow" you, and you'll be tweeting to the wind instead of adding value.

What, then, should you post? Tidbits of information that are worth your followers' time to read. If you're a blogger, that might mean a link to an interesting new post. If you read other blogs, that might mean a link to an interesting post you've read -- share it. Links to interesting news articles or videos. A note that you just saw a plane crash into the Hudson river.

Here's where it gets really interesting: let's say you're a leader in your field, which, say, might be Macintosh updates. You'd not only Tweet links to your own new blog posts, but (this is vital!) links to useful articles, videos and blog posts in your field of expertise. Over time, people with interest in Mac issues will find you, follow you, and start to get an impression as to your expertise in the field. If they find your Tweets interesting or useful, they'll tell others (or give you appropriate credit by "Retweeting" them, which you do like this: "RT @MyBuddy: Put their post here, and with luck they left enough space for the RT and attribution!") And your reputation will grow from those retweets, since interested readers can click through to your own Twitter page from that, and can follow you with a click.

That's why a Senior Vice President at Ogilvy -- a guy who who wrote a book about "putting personality back into marketing" -- cares about Twitter. He understands that reputations and brands can be established 140 characters at a time ...if you do it right.

No One Wants to Read Your Private Conversations

(At least, not when they're boring.) Have you seen Twitter posts along the lines of "@MyBuddy: Yeah, you bet I did!" The "@MyBuddy" part shows that the tweet is a public reply: the poster is replying to his friend "MyBuddy". This is what is meant by "1-on-1 conversations" on Twitter. But most people spew garbage, like the above or "Yes: I'll be there shortly" to hundreds, maybe even thousands of followers, only one of which cares. People who do that are again showing contempt for their followers' time.

So, if no one is interested in what you're doing, or in your private conversations, what are they interested in? Knowledge and entertainment. If you've got either (or even better, both!) to share, you're set. For instance, in the days before I wrote this blog post, I Tweeted a link to my latest video, a link to a blog post, a link to an amusing article about the Washington DC police posting "Warning, Prostitution Free Zone" signs in the Inauguration area (I still had enough space to wonder, "It's legal at other times/places?"), and a link to just-released video that a security camera happened to get of the New York plane crash. If you would find those sorts of things interesting or entertaining, you might want to follow me. (If you don't, you'd "unfollow" and move on. It's no sin to unfollow someone, even if they're following you.)

But really, you don't need to post anything if you're not a blogger, an expert in a particular field wanting to build a reputation, or whatever. While Twitter can help you establish and build the "brand" that is you, there's still great utility in Twitter even if you have no interest in doing that.

The Key is Who You Follow

Don't have anything to say? Then don't say anything! But you can still get information or entertainment by having a Twitter account. Because once you have an account, you choose who you want to follow.

Let's say you're interested in environmental issues in the hotel industry. Then you'd follow my wife, Kit, since she happens to be a leader in that field. Want the latest in computer kinks and tips? Follow Ask Leo or Chris Pirillo. The latest trends in online video? Check out Steve Rosenbaum. Trends in online marketing and PR? Try Don Crowther. Home improvement? Tim Carter. You get the idea.

Celebrities, too, from Star Trek's "Geordie Laforge" Levar Burton to bicycle racer Lance Armstrong to that creepy "Puppet Master" on NBC's Heroes -- my old buddy David Lawrence.

And then there are the current events, like the inauguration, as I mentioned: searching for their "hash tags" (like #inaug09) brings the latest updates to you. For instance, the recent plane crash into New York's Hudson River was reported first on Twitter, and eyewitnesses posted updates much faster than the news media could.

No matter what the subject, someone on Twitter is covering it, and you can follow them and keep up to date.

And here's where the magic begins: for everyone you check out on Twitter, you can see who they are following too, and choose to follow those people directly. For instance, you can see who I'm currently following here.

And there's still room for a bit of personality, as long as it's not the only thing, and has a bit of relevance. That'll make Rohit Bhargava smile for sure.

And to get all the stuff that you chose from, you can check in from time to time on one page to see what the people you choose to follow have to say: your Twitter home page.

Can you see how that might be powerful?

Of course, you can follow Twitter's original model and only see what "friends" are having for lunch. But I'm hoping this has opened your eyes a bit as to the real power of Twitter, and you can start getting actual personal or professional benefit from your time spent there, rather than be stuck at "Stage 1" or 2. And if so, please feel free to link to this page in your blog -- or just Twitter this page to your followers! Use this short version of the URL http://ThisIsTrue.com/d-twitter so you don't use up too many of your 140 characters. I wanted you to have room to add a bit of personality to your Tweet. :-)

An Update

Happily, Twitter finally abandoned the "What are you doing?" question and replaced it with a somewhat better one: "What's Happening?"

30 Comments on This Entry

All comments in this blog are reviewed prior to being published. Spammers: don't waste your time. The posting criteria are simple: if a comment is worth visitors' time to read, it's approved. If not, it's not.


Posted by Steven, Dayton OH on January 18, 2009:

Very nice summary of something I've had issues explaining.

Though I'd add one thing that's missing. One can - under "Settings" and "Notices" - control whose @ replies you see. I only see those where both people are those whom I'm following. So, for example, if you @replied to your neighbor I'm not following, then I wouldn't see it. If, however, you replied to @ScottSigler, then I'd see it (since I'm interested in both of your updates). That allows (IMHO) the conversational aspect of Twitter to continue without it becoming solely a push medium.

---

I couldn't explain it all, since I'm mostly addressing the people who "don't get it", so thanks for making it clear there are advanced ideas available to users too. -rc

Posted by Lee LeFever on January 18, 2009:

Thanks for posting this and sharing the video. A small point of clarification... Twitter didn't ask us to make the Twitter video. We made it on our own and shared it with them.

I think the uses of Twitter have changed since the video was made, but I don't necessarily agree that no one cares what you are doing. It depends on your goals and the people who are a part of your network.

While the business power of Twitter may lie in links and brand building, etc., I think for people who are close in the real world (family and friends), Twitter offers a unique way to share one anothers lives. I surely don't care about what a stranger is doing, but if it's my brother, it makes sense to me and gives me a window into his life that didn't exist before. I follow a lot of my best friends and endless real world conversations were started by a "what are you doing" tweet.

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Thanks for clarifying your video, Lee. And it's a good point that it's been around for awhile, and things have changed since Twitter's early days. -rc

Posted by Jodie, Canada on January 18, 2009:

Thanks for the reminder to look at others' lists for people to follow - I took a peek at yours and was happy to see a lot of old friends I'd love to re-connect with!

Posted by Lauren, Chicago, IL, USA on January 19, 2009:

I think Twitter is like any other medium: 5% power and 95% fluff. The thing is, though, the fluff is what supports the medium so that the power can exist.

It is Jerry Springer and People's Court and HSN and Smurfs that makes a home possible for John Adams or House, MD, or The National Geographic Channel. It is endless episodes of Saw and Friday the 13th that make a home for Milk and Frost/Nixon and Gran Torino.

Ninety-five percent of Facebook is fluff, but I just used it to reconnect with a childhood penpal in Finland.

When the telephone was first introduced, people weren't sure what to do with it. In some areas, popular music was broadcast over the phone for several hours in the afternoon. (I believe Bulgaria was still doing this into the 1970's.) Telephones are now ubiquitous, and 95% of their use is probably fluff. But it is not the telephone's fault that millions of teenagers are using it to say, "No way!" and "Way!" to each other.

When the personal computer was first introduced, manufacturers were explaining how the woman of the house would use it to store recipes.

YouTube is full of fluff, but you can also find tutorials on handcrafts, on solving math problems, and on issues of the day. Do not criticize YouTube because you do not have anything to say worth videotaping. And do not criticize Twitter because your bologna sandwich is not noteworthy.

Posted by Carly, Rhode Island on January 19, 2009:

I think it's a bit of a broad generalization to say, "No one cares what it is you're doing," and that people who do use Twitter to answer that question have "no respect for their friends' time." I do care what my friends are doing, and my friends do care what I'm doing. The beauty of Twitter is that it is something different for everyone. I'm not using it to promote a business or build a brand; I use it to stay more closely connected with the people I am separated from by geography (whether that geography is a couple of miles or a couple thousand miles). That doesn't make MY way of using it wrong.

---

I think you missed the conclusion, that noted "Of course, you can follow Twitter's original model and only see what 'friends' are having for lunch." -- and, as it continues, miss the real power of the platform. The point is, you can make it work for you, no matter what your preference is, and it doesn't have to be rejected by the masses as "useless". -rc

Posted by Phil, San Antonio, TX, USA on January 19, 2009:

All you've managed to do is further convince me that Twitter (how can you take anything seriously with "twit" in the name?) is just one more thing that I have absolutely no time or need to deal with. I barely have time to keep up with my Facebook page!

In my opinion, all this "Social Networking" is just another means of thumping your chest and saying "Look at me! Look at how many friends and followers I have! Look how self-important I am!"

---

Yes, it is time consuming; all real work is, in fact, work. And indeed some are keeping score by the "Huge number of friends!" metric, rather than the "How can I add value?" proposition, which is hugely different. In my opinion, the former will have diminishing impact as people ignore their puffery, and the latter will be respected for what they bring to the table -- and inflated raw numbers ain't it. -rc

Posted by Claudia - Thousand Oaks, CA on January 19, 2009:

Thanks Randy - wouldn't have looked at Twitter without your article.

Posted by Amancay, Hood River on January 19, 2009:

Ugh! It's sincerely frustrating to read a rather well written article, that is so far off base.

mostly the sadness comes from the fact that you are basically pigeon-holing twitter to specifics that are not necessarily the case. time has proven that people DO actually care what you are doing: proven by the mass response of facebook's now commentable status updates, & the growth of blogs/personal online journals that surged through the net in years gone by.

depending upon your industry, people often want to know that the people they are dealing with are, in fact REAL PEOPLE with REAL LIVES. and will flock and stay with blogs and such that reflect that mix.

I, for one, update my status nealry every hour... or MORE! Sometimes noting that I'm a dweeb and spilled tea down my shirt the moment I walked in the door. Other times sending out a shout out to a friend for their birthday, or simply announcing my need for coffee every stinking monday. The amazing thing of it is, it's not JUST my face-to-face friends that follow me, in fact daily more folks do... and they respond, react, and interact regularly.

Oh, and every now and then you'll glean random photog or tech info off me... but mostly, it's just my life.

few and far between have been my qwitters, and I've networked intensely in my industry thanks to le twitter.

---

Different strokes for different folks, of course. But that's exactly why busy people are blowing Twitter off, rather than grasping its true power. -rc

Posted by Cory, Topeka, Kansas on January 20, 2009:

You are right in that people don't want to know what I'm up to. However, my friends seem to be pretty receptive to the idea.

I'm one of those guys who posts the mundane things that I'm up to. I'll post that I'm going to lunch, and more often than not, somebody calls and wants to join!

I'll admit it is a bit odd, but for some of us, posting the mundane can make the mundane a little more fun.

Posted by David, Canada on January 20, 2009:

I don't see much of a difference between it and Facebook - the only reason I have a Facebook account (well, primary reason that I got it in the first place) is playing the odd game. I have several "friends" on there (including yourself), but that feature doesn't serve me much good (and indeed, I only have a few really good "friends" in real life on there, most are people I went to school with 20 years ago (who I didnt' even hang out with back then, but it's interesting to see them now) and "work acquaintances") - so it's mainly just a fun tool for me that I rarely spend more than 5-15 minutes a day on (and, as I said, mostly for entertainment). I'm not a "leader" in many fields (well, one, anthematology, but it's such a rare and specialized field that I don't know of any other anthematologists who are on Twitter, and less people on Twitter who'd be interested in that field), the only person I know who is on Twitter is you, and I already get plenty of updates through the newsletter and Facebook on you.

Posted by Chris, Georgia on January 23, 2009:

So I read your article and immediately check out your Twitter page. Your most recent post (tweet?) informs me that you are reading a book.

I am not one of the three people in the world who cares about this.

I still don't get it.

---

You don't get it because you didn't give it 1/10 of a chance, especially the part about there still is some room for "personality". My "tweet" before the one you note was about an amazing photograph you could have checked out. The one before that was about the newspaper business, and how it relates to democracy. The one before that talks about a trojan "virus" on computers. The one before that was about a wild security problem at the "Wired" web site. And the dozen before that were on various other topics. If you have no interest in any of those things, then I can't help you; most people will find some portion of that of use or interest. And, if not, they can search through millions of other users to find things that do interest them, or find of professional use. And I made that fairly clear. No interest in anything? OK -- but then, why are you online at all? -rc

Posted by Quinn, Denver on January 23, 2009:

I find myself in an interesting position -- I am one of the people who uses Twitter to keep people posted about my daily activities, but I agree with you that that is not its true power.

I got my Twitter account because I have health issues that sometimes cause me to go out of commission without warning, and maintaining regular voice and text communication with all the people inclined to worry about me so that they would know I was reasonably okay was exhausting. Now I can just tweet when I am having a particularly good or bad day and when I am actively open to social invitations or inclined to stay home and rest without having to target particular people with demands or over-sharing. It has been a great help to me. Even so, I'm not answering "What are you doing?" so much as I am answering "How are you doing?", which is the question my friends are mostly interested in.

If I ever get to where I can handle the frequency of messages that Following several people for their expertise would engender, I will definitely be adding more people to my follow list, however, as I greatly prefer the short format to most blogs, and I agree with you that it can be an immensely powerful information tool for people inclined to use it that way.

---

It's an interesting -- and certainly valid -- use. If it works for you, great. But it sounds like you're unsure. So the question is, how do you meet your goals and make your posts "interesting" and/or "useful" to others at the same time? You can share interesting links, bits of your own expertise, pointers to fun stuff, whatever. That sounds like an unbeatable combination for you and your followers. -rc

Posted by Chris, Georgia on January 24, 2009:

No interest in anything? OK -- but then, why are you online at all? -rc

In fact, I am interested in several of the items you mentioned, and have regular resources which I check for news about them.

Let us stipulate that your Twitter page is more eclectic than most, and that others who are "using the power of Twitter" generally stay on topic. How do they leverage this site -- in 140 characters or less? How does it effectively supplant or supplement existing tools used, such as email newsletters and RSS feeds? I don't think it does; I still think it's a toy, not a tool.

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I'm using it as a tool, and I'm finding it useful. My post here was merely to suggest that others try it before judging it. The next step is up to you. -rc

Posted by Christina, Austin TX on January 24, 2009:

David Pogue of the NY Times just wrote a great article about Twitter and someone using it to "harness the wisdom of [your] followers in real time."

It's not just being able to say "here's what I'm doing" that makes Twitter such a great tool. I wish the people who commented here saying "it's just like Facebook" or simply brush it off by saying "I don't get it" would have looked past the obvious reasons people start using Twitter to the broader applications.

The first report of the recent US Airways jet crash-landing in the Hudson River, for example, was a Tweet -- before the news media got to it. Twitter's value to impart information is much greater than just for a boring extension of a boring blog. It makes more relevant information (and concise!) available to more people in a quick, unconfusing, and aggregatable manner.

Hope you continue to turn people on to new ways to use today's technology!

---

I'll continue to lead the horses to new sources of water. Some won't drink, but that's ok. -rc

Posted by Meredith, Massachusetts on January 25, 2009:

I think Quinn in Denver's use for Twitter sounds extremely useful. I've had no interest in Twitter, but my elderly mother, who lives in another city, just ended up in the hospital partially because she didn't feel well enough to get herself to the doctor's office earlier in the week and none of us knew about it. Now that I realize that we have to keep closer tabs on her, I'd be very interested in having her Tweet each day to let us know how she's doing.

---

Why is doing that in public more useful than sending an e-mail to a list of family members? -rc

Posted by Meredith, Massachusetts on January 25, 2009:

It's more useful because we can easily add people to check it without her having to change her email distribution list. People can "opt-in" instead of having to request to be added. And the limited length is less intimidating - no need to say anything more than "feel good today" or "have a bad cold." Of course, I'm assuming that no one would bother to sign up to receive her tweets who isn't interested - isn't that generally a correct assumption?

---

Yep, and your reasons sound good. Just wondered! -rc

Posted by Tristram, Portland ME on January 27, 2009:

This is a bit late, but I wanted to mention something cool that Jeff Jacques, author and artist of the webcomic Questionable Content does with Twitter. He created a separate account for each of his characters and every once in a while he stages a sort of Twitter Theatre with the different accounts. It is done mostly through @soandso's and it is really quite amusing. Plus, although characters don't talk to readers, readers can still respond to the characters. The whole Twitter Theatre idea could be used in really great ways... "Shakespeare in the Tweet" being an amusing idea. Great article, Randy!

---

Very clever indeed, and it just goes to show how entertaining and clever people can be when they look beyond the "bologna sandwich again" types of posts. -rc

Posted by Danny from Oregon on January 29, 2009:

Last Saturday I went to a Jonathan Coulton concert, and he mentioned that in the time leading up to the event he had used Twitter to take song requests.

---

Another good example of using Twitter to provide value, rather than empty "What I'm doing" posts. -rc

Posted by Josh, Arkansas on February 4, 2009:

Thanks to your essay I am now hooked on Twitter. It never seemed interesting to me when it was all about "What are you doing right now?" Most people I know lead pretty boring lives, and even if it's a celebrity I really don't care what they're doing on an hourly basis. So I avoided it.

But when you presented the concept of using Twitter as a kind of micro-blog, and pointed out some of the interesting things you can find there, I finally checked it out. And I must say I was impressed. I mostly use it as a way to share interesting links I run across, but I'd rather not post on my LiveJournal, because I don't feel like writing up a paragraph or three about it. This way I can pass it on to friends easily without cluttering up my blog. And of course I can follow TRUE and other people I'm interested in, smaller and specific news sources, and even the Alaska Volcano Observatory! (@alaska_avo is currently reporting on the Redoubt Volcano, predicted to erupt soon.) So thanks to you, Twitter has another fan (@jo_chan). And I thank you for presenting it in a new light and making it interesting and useful to me.

Posted by Bob, California on February 25, 2009:

I still don't see the value of Twitter.

I've been in IT for 14 years, been programming since I was 13 (I'm 42), so I'm generally beyond the social-networking age group (not to say folks my age don't use it, just that we didn't grow up with it).

Nothing here has shown me any value to Twitter. I'm trying, just not seeing it.

---

I can't explain it any better or more clearly. Either you understand the possibilities or you don't. If you do, only trying it will demonstrate whether it's of value to you or not. And there are plenty of people getting value who are older than you. -rc

Posted by Catherine, New Brunswick on March 23, 2009:

Thank you for this article. I am one of the many who are not interested in pointless personal updates. A recent discussion on CBC radio had me thinking about Twitter, and your explanation is extremely clarifying. I plan on setting up a home page so I can follow a few topics, and see where it leads. I think I will start by following YOU.

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I had the feeling I was being followed! -rc

Posted by Suzy - New York on March 27, 2009:

I agree in some respects but most definitely not that no one cares what you are doing. I do! I find the most mundane updates the best. I liked twitter when it was just "what are you doing" but now it's bigger and more annoying. I like to read the stuff that you don't, so I just want to put in my two cents that not everyone feels the same way about it. Obviously we'll just choose to follow different people. An update from a someone I follow was "had Panera Bread for lunch." Sorry but that's interesting to me. I liked it better than the FOXNEWS update on Fargo. I can get that stuff easily from my RSS feed anyway.

Posted by Bruce Doxey, Zephyr Cove, Nv. on March 28, 2009:

I still fail to see how twitter is needed for anything, considering all the options for communication. How is it better?

---

It's not "better", it's simply a different medium. Is e-mail "better" than putting something on a blog? Depends on what you want to do. -rc

Posted by Kay, Columbus Ohio on April 8, 2009:

I've read this and I am still not convinced as to why I would sign up for yet another internet concept. I have blogs, e-mail, IM, Facebook and MySpace accounts, and it's just too much. I barely check my e-mail and I know that, like everything else in time, I would just stop checking my Twitter account and I would end up with yet another thing that I don't bother with anymore.

I'm really not buying this whole "power" thing in terms of how Twitter can be a useful tool (considering that there have been a number of things before it that did the same thing), and the last thing I need is yet another distraction from my grad school homework.

---

Those who are finding it useful -- find it useful. If you don't, then don't do it. Simple as that. Now get back to work. -rc

Posted by Felicia in Houston on May 5, 2009:

I'm in the dumping phase edging toward the cusp of conversing. So far I've only received one tweet that specified @FeliciaGriffin1. I still follow more than I'm being followed. I guess it all comes down to one's level of comment activity. You have to comment a lot and do it frequently to rise to the infuential level.

Posted by LeeAnn, Austin, TX on June 15, 2009:

Thanks so much for helping me see that there could actually be some sort of use for Twitter to me.

This has been interesting. And thanks for your wit and wisdom.

Posted by David, Lynn, MA on July 8, 2009:

Interesting article on Twitter. You have pushed me just slightly past the "Twitter is stupid" phase, but I'm still not gettting an account. I don't feel it has enough utility for me.

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And that's fine. There's nothing that's great for everyone, including e-mail. -rc

Posted by Wayne, High Point NC on October 9, 2009:

I have my blog set up to automatically 'tweet' when I do a new post. I get new 'followers' every day that come up with "Bob is now following you. Bob's stats: 4832 followers, following 5352 people, 1 tweet."

Yup, 'Bob' is a tweet spammer. The spammers are going to kill off Twitter, too.

Let's face it, you couldn't read the tweets of 5352 people if you were following that many people, yet that's just what is happening.

---

Yes, spammers and fraudsters are trying to game Twitter. So what? How does that affect you and the way you use it? It doesn't. If you notice an obvious spammer following you, you click "Block" and you're done. But even if you don't, you don't see their spam unless you follow them. They're jerks, but it doesn't get in the way of you getting value from Twitter. -rc

Posted by Mary in Georgia on October 27, 2010:

I don't tweet, follow, or re-tweet (can't imagine limiting myself to 140 characters, for one thing LOL), but every time a friend says "I don't understand this twitter thing," or "I want to use twitter for my business, but am not sure how to best use it," I send them a link to this blog post of yours. You opened my eyes when you first posted it, and I can only hope that my friends find as much good info in it as I did.

(and if we're lucky, they'll sign up for ThisisTrue, too!)

---

Nice that you're helping your friends. I think the 140-character limit is a good one: it forces one to get right to the point! But yes, many thoughts do require more. -rc

Posted by Anita Upper New York State on April 25, 2012:

If I had been directed to your article all this time ago, I would have been using Twitter all along. I didn't get how to use it, but I'm beginning to. Not sure how humorous or entertaining I can be, but, hey, I can try.

I am trying to build author brands for the genre I write in. Just never was clear on what to write beyond the obvious promo stuff. I hate self promo, so I sat out of the social networking game.

Now I'm motivated to give it a shot.

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