This is a direct comment to Chris Gardner’s blog post on iNews880.com
Chris, I respect that you are “NOT a follower,” great blog post regarding Twitter!
Having said that, hopefully you are a “listener.” Frankly, that’s where the real benefits start within social media. There are rich trends that exist about the Edmonton community and throughout social media in general, Twitter as a source is certainly no exception.
I also respect the fact that you understand what is important for you in terms of sustaining your high-level of job performance and the associated expected level of audience engagement. If the blog is the best tool for you to communicate with your audience based on research and experience, then stick with it. Go with what works for you. I strongly recommend that you don’t just engage in every new technology or in this case 3 yr old technology that comes along simply because others in your office have their own views. Certainly you’ve communicated Twitter wouldn’t be sustainable given your schedule. However, if that were your only issue I would offer that it’s perfectly fine to keep your tweet volume to just a few per day as long as they offer some value. Yes, there are others with a tweet volume that suggests they are not accomplishing much else, possibly even within your own ranks. I know personally my tweet volume fluctuates depending of what’s happening around me at that point-in-time and is also dependent on my objectives.
There is a larger issue here beyond your use of Twitter.
Frankly, this kind of situation happens frequently within organizations that don’t actually have a concise plan for operating within the social web. I’m sure you’ll agree trial by error isn’t always the preferred way to go. Unfortunately many organizations start down this path because one person convinces another internally to “join the conversation” and management is ill-equipped to handle the implications. This often ends up with a public airing of this uncertainty online, just like iNews880 is doing via your blog post as we speak. In this case, your audience is not only seeing an internal conflicting discussion regarding the “effective” use of social web tools such as Twitter being evident in your office, we also see the larger issue related to a lack of clarity from an organizational stand point. There doesn’t seem to be unification regarding how social media should support your business model. Regardless of whether that’s true, the perception is a bit chaotic.
“We are what we share!” Twitter is like a cocktail party, standing in a corner and not talking to anyone would seem odd, possibly rude.
Back to your personal position on Twitter, if you’re not prepared to communicate with the folks throughout the day in 140 character bursts and your employer has no clear direction or internal policy on this activity, then best to avoid crawling into the birdhouse. You are 100% correct that there are elements on Twitter that are not about building rapport and relationships in real-time, one of the coolest things about the Twitter platform, but rather spam related exploitation in one form or another. I support your position that these “micro-tribes” within the Twitter and social media community-at-large are shall we say, less than desirable. Twitter is an acquired taste as far as social media options go and it is a game-changer, not a fad. Much of our connected society is extremely impatient. Twitter is a real-time “statusphere,” that allows those with narcissistic tendencies to communicate at will about anything and attempt to be first doing it – breaking news! I admit I operate within that environment too. Follow me here. In some cases, those who didn’t have a voice at work suddenly do on Twitter and they can express it “quickly and often.” That element you seem to grasp well, that’s also why the “statusphere” concept like Twitter and the recently acquired $50 million dollar friendfeed are not “fads” that will go away anytime soon.
Sleep well knowing that at least with respect to Twitter you’ve stopped to look at the business implications (albeit your own) of using the tool first rather than simply trying to look like the one of the cool kids. Stay strong Chris, good on ya mate!