Why twitter is not (yet?) all that valuable for BPXers ( and others)
Last night I could not sleep; one of those evenings where all the work keeps spiralling in my head. And as I was thinking about all the work ahead of us I got a message from twitter. Now some people like twitter and I think there is a small business value to us all ( and it has something to do with events ) however I definitely think there is a law of diminishing returns.
I found the blog by the noisychannel about twitter and other social media being a ponzi scheme http://thenoisychannel.com/2009/01/02/an-attention-ponzi-scheme/ utterly fascinating. I am assuming you have used twitter or at least signed up and started to follow some people.
So I originally was following more than 100 people in the beginning and quickly realized twitter is really only about following the active people that add value to your world. Most people are not active at all and although you are following them, you can mostly disregard them. But then you do have the active ones and personally I cannot follow more than 10-12 active people. ( and with active it means they seem to be glued to the keyboard or have some sort of electrode stuck to their brains and they transfer their thoughts to tweets automatically). What I also found out is that most people do not say what they are doing but most peope say what their thinking. So perhaps the first tweet question should not be what are you doing; but what are you thinking. Secondly I compare following 12 active people is almost like using the search radio station function on my car radio. Every 5 seconds there is another channel change and I both have a hard time following and I only am able to follow part of it ( sometimes because they are tweeting with others that are not part of your inner circle).
I am almost at a point where I wonder if twitter and other types of quick salvo social media tools (including texting) have something to do with an increase in Attention Deficit Disorder: http://add.about.com/ ( and don’t get me wrong this is really a serious issue)
I did find twitter good for breaking the news to me like with the Bombay bombings or the Hudson river plane crash. Perhaps there is a business model for twitter owners there ( faster than NPR, CNN or AP News); since I still have not figured out besides advertising if there is any business model at all for them. ( And from myspace we know by now that millions of members does not equal millions or billions of value ) Additionally it is kind of nice when you are trying to track an event or go to an event if you are following people that go to the event and feel their experience of the event. I think some of the value of twitter lies there.
From a marketing perspective twitter is according to me overhyped. Marketeers seem mostly lost these days, having no clue which social media tool to go after and penetrate and converse with their potential clients. Twitter is hard because it is not picked up by the search engines like google; so one problem is that any message that you have in twitter can not get amplified through other channels (you could compare it like going to an event as a marketeer and trying to reach an audience with a banner ad; how effective can you be ?) additionally you have to use the people that are followed most ( like Guy Kawasaki, Robert Scoble or Barack Obama ) and use them as your marketing person; good for them ( they can choose what they want to amplify and even ask for money….); bad for you !
The best thing for a marketeer is to find the people they trust and that have weight and are followed acitvely and see if you can work with them on a campaign; still tricky because they will message what you want in their own words ( or at least that is what I would say; Do you agree with me that most super active twitterers are freedom fighters ?)
In a business world and a business sense I am still trying to figure out how twiter functionality could be used for our as well as any business teams. I tend to gravitate towards more closed smaller job focused team groups where the question changes from ” what are you doing” to some more tailored questions to the group you are following:
– What decision are you making (as a manager I would be interested in this )
– What was the outcome of your meeting ( sales, partner org, general )
– What was the customer saying about which product? (sales)
– What problem do you have; or How did you fix the problem ( service engineer organization )
In the end it is to me all about making each other’s work day more effective. I have the challenge that I manage a global team located all around the world: China, India, Israel, Germany, US East coast, US Central, Canada and US West coast. So twitter functionality (if kept simple) could possibly increase transparancy and communiction. My favorite thing would be if twitter functionality and e-mail would be totally synced into one queue ( I do not think you can get totally away from official communication channels like e-mail and only focus only on non official communciation). Right now the issue is that there are too many tools out there for us and that creates a feeling that you have to watch too many (TV? like ?) channels at the same time. I am not sure if that makes me and others more effective ( I do not yet feel it makes me more efficient ).
So for the BPXers and others amongst us. If you are doing a project and you can create a small project group twitter or cubetree channel.. you could try it ( but you can also create a DL in e-mail. Still struggling with what the difference is) and see if it makes you more effective. If you are thinking about how you can integrate twitter functionality into a business process and you have found the magic potion..let me and the others in our community know.. I would be very curious to learn how you think it could be useful beyond the news and current hype factor.
Hopefully you did not see this blog as a rant or a rave.. just felt I needed to dot down my thoughts on paper regarding this topic. This could easily become a whole thesis; and I am sure there are many trains and schools of thought.