I use twitter quite a bit – partially for fun and partially for work. It’s great for finding semi-random bits and bobs of facts/background research if you have a good set of people you follow. Obviously I use it a little bit (a very little bit indeed!) for marketing. The plan is that I build a reputation so fabulous that I only need to announce a forthcoming training workshop and it instantly sells out on the back of my million connections (and their connections, if I must).
Equally obviously it doesn’t work out this way.
Take, for example, a tweet of mine which was re-tweeted by a man called Garr Raynolds (@presentationzen). Garr is pretty much the guru of what I do (I train people in presentation skills) and being re-tweeted by him is akin to being passed the ball by the captain of your national team…
When I say the re-tweet I grinned, waited and then looked at the number of hits my website had taken – because Garr’s re-tweet contained a link to an old blog entry of mine.
And the effect of a recommendation by arguably the world’s biggest authority on slide design was……?
Twice the number of hits in an hour as my blog normally takes in a day. Time to have a cup of tea and celebrate my new-found super-stardom. Not only that but I got a load of new followers… well, three, if you must know but three’s better than two, one and zero, right?
And then I started thinking of the way twitter works because I know for a certainty that come tomorrow (or even later this afternoon) no one will remember my blog, or me for that matter. Even Garr himself will have forgotten about it, because that’s how twitter works.
Pull a pebble out of a pond and very quickly the ripples settle down and there’s no way to tell that the pebble had ever been there.
So what’s the use of twitter (and, I’d generalize) social media in general, if anything we do is also so instantly forgettable? I have to confess I have absolutely no real idea and I’m always inclined to take things with a pinch of salt when people are sure about how to “Maximize your profits from Twitter”. The same is true of Facebook and (especially) less robust networking sites such as Ecademy. Things change too often online for us to set much store by it.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-online networking (I use one particular website a lot and find a lot of comfort/support/advice in it – despite it sometimes feeling like swimming with sharks to log in!) but I do wonder how well we can get to know people this way. It’s not the electronic nature of the networking that undermines it, for me at least, it’s the basic and fundamental ephemeralacy of it.
Relationships require time, not a clicked “like” link!
PS: Garr linked to an old post: I’ve since found a use for prezi! 🙂
And btw, I’m @presentations.