March 11, 2010

What Does That Button Do?

Follow Us!

Have you seen that around a lot more lately? It’s all the rage, everyone’s doing it. It's so cool, where have you been?

Companies, agencies, not-for-profits, consultants, lawyers, teachers and people from all walks of life are joining Twitter.



What's the URL?

Some think Twitter a website – it is not. Some think it’s a way to simply bark out deals and sell some stuff – wrong again. While others have discovered it is a place where other human beings are actually sharing usable information that can help each other’s bottom line and knowledge base while expanding their personal community to a worldwide scope.

As with all things, the late majority arrives some time after the early adopters have populated the idea, taken it for a few test runs, poked holes in it and given feedback to its creators. More than three years later and the process continues.

Will It Go Bankrupt?

I have lost count the number of people who seem to be concerned about Twitter’s business plan and revenue model. These are people who are afraid that if they engage in this channel and it goes out of business, all their hard work will be gone. Wrong yet again.

Microblogging has nothing to do with a particular website. Twitter is the biggest right now but five years ago, MySpace was on top of the social networking world and now the horizon is looking mighty crowded.

Adopters and Naysayers.

The loudest crowd seems to be congregating on soap boxes outside of the space. They are lobbing ill advised and uneducated views of its effectiveness. It’s a little difficult to assess something without trying it.

There also seems to be a growing crowd near the “I don’t get it” booth in the parking lot. It's okay, I don't get how rocket ships get to a space station but I accept it.

There have been over 2 billion tweets since Twitter’s inception, there are over 50 million users, 62% of Twitter use happens in the workplace, almost one quarter of tweets are generated by computer bots and roughly 75% of all human tweets are generated by 5% of the users.

Numbers vs. Reality.

Now before you wave the “I told you it was a waste of time” finger, let’s compare to real life. About 5-10% of the people (depending on the industry) control 75-80% of the wealth and about a quarter (or more) of the workforce is mailing it in most days.

Twitter is not about mass, it is about quality. It's not about splashing everything with the same bucket of paint, it is about finding influencers. It's not about barking and yelling, it is about listening and building. And that takes time. If you don't have time or want quick results, buy a direct mail campaign and hope for the best.

Buttons and Widgets.

It’s interesting to watch as companies are trying to get in on the new thing (again, which is as old as humans have been alive) with “Follow Us” buttons on their websites. There is a recognition that microblogging has value to their organization. The problem begins when you click on the button and see very little activity.

I won’t name names and only as an example, a prominent Canadian entity with national scope is following less than 20 people, has less than 100 followers and is using this robust dynamic two-way tool as a one-way broadcast channel. What a shame.

What are your thoughts?

@knealemann
strategy. marketing. social media.

photo credit: handycons

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