Casual Evangelist

A mission to learn a little about a lot…

Twitter: “Go Human” or Go Home

Posted by Andrew on April 17, 2008

There’s been a lot of discussion on Twitter, the online social conversation tool (my current description of the system), about how marketers are beginning to flood the platform. In recent weeks I’ve been “followed” by dozens of company and marketing Tweeters, such as “myhomebusiness” and “simplecheapwedd.”

Like many of my Twitter friends, I check the account of each new follower, and all too often it’s filled with nothing but push marketing and links. And they’re taking the time to follow thousands of people, with only a small handful following back.

“Twitter is being taken over by spammers” is a common complaint, but, aside from the inconvenience of getting “new follower” email notices, I don’t see much of a problem. If I choose not to follow them back, that’s the last I hear of them. And, as demonstrated by their lack of followers, I’m not the only one not following back.

Traditional “push-style” online marketing techniques don’t work on Twitter, and it shouldn’t be long before this concept gets through to them. Many marketers haven’t taken the time to understand the medium and have jumped in without testing the waters first. The result is that no one is hearing their messages.

Twitter requires balance. People like interacting with real people. Linking to your content or letting others know about what you do is fine, but if it is the dominant message you’re sending to your followers, they’ll start un-following you pretty quick. The only exception is news feeds, such as @breakingnewson.

There are some companies that are using Twitter properly, and I support and encourage this. A fine example is JetBlue (@jetblue). I don’t follow @jetblue because I don’t often fly with them and don’t have much of an interest, but there’s a real person operating the account and they’re actively engaged in conversations in the community. At the time of writing this, @jetblue follows 1,440 people, and 1,378 follow back. That’s a very impressive ratio for a “company” Twitterer.

Marketers, you can only get out of Twitter what you put into it. Go human or go home.

(NOTE: I would like a better application to manage the new follower review process to avoid email notices.)

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2 Responses to “Twitter: “Go Human” or Go Home”

  1. Jonathan said

    I just started using twitter, and while I may not have a whole lot going on with it and I haven’t received any spam yet I’m glad to know that it only works in one direction currently. I can pick and choose who I follow, and it makes no sense to me to spam thousands of users and actually expect any sort of return on this – especially if it’s up to the person to follow back.

    What a waste!

  2. […] Twitter: “Go Human” or Go Home The way you use twitter defines success potential, that applies from the very […]

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