twitter

UPDATE – 2 years later, I think I am in the same boat. Although, I enjoy twitter and have a place in my normal work day for it, I don’t think it is of critical importance. Where I think it needs to be to survive. Much like I suspected before, Twitter still isn’t making money and the US is losing interest while the rest of the world (especially by the people that are fighting for rights in various other countries yet are not a target audience for monetization for quite some time) I think it is loosing the reactive flavor and is on the downturn. 

I was late to the party, I admit that. It may have been my marketing “spidey sense” going off at the time. . But I may be early enough this time to be right….Time will tell. Reread this post unedited….I think in my surprise and force submission to the tool has an telling point today. You choose. 

 

Just my opinion – Ok I have to admit it – In the beginning I never got the use of Twitter. I found it to be a colossal waste of time and a little bit narcissistic. Why would anyone care about the fact that I was “going to the gym” or “listening to Dave Mathew’s Station on Pandora”. “Flying to Seattle and I’m laid over 2 hours” ~ I mean really what benefit would these facts of life give me or anyone…

Twitter Image

I have always been brought up to turn my back on popular culture. Independent thinking and personal choice should influence your decisions, right? You see, to me I see the puppet masters behind Oz’s curtain when it comes to making of a buck by the manipulation of the ignorant public – a school of mindless fish with debit cards swiming in the direction that everyone does.  Every move, every turn, every jump is made by following the collective of school. Or in terms of people, we too have come to blindly follow things just to make ourselves feel included and part of a collective that we believe is bigger and better than us. Informed opinions are become quickly replaced by what the media tells us what is likable. Depressing?

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mwcRH_t6Wo&hl=en&fs=1]

This is never more evident than in the music industry. I have to chuckle when I think of 10 record (marketing) executives sitting around a table running a SWOT analysis on the likes of a Brittney Spears – they use the school of fish mentality to easily fleece us of our money all the while diluting the very product that feeds them. Let’s face it, there are countless Brittney’s out there – marginally talented people with pretty faces and figures. Behind them they have a hidden “marketing machine” that can transform them – through seasoned writers, image specialists, veteran backup bands, voice synthesizers, and plenty of lip syncing – into Gods/Goddess of Popular Culture! Since we are a culture of want and not need it easily plays into a marketers hands. To keep the analogy alive, it is quite like “shooting fish in a barrel”.

And it is at this point that other true musicians like, Jerry Garcia or Bob Dylan or Jimi Hendrix’s and numerous others, rolled over in their graves. (Sorry Bob I know you’re alive but Pop Culture people think you aren’t)

Stepping proudly down from my pulpit of independent punditry, I squared up my cynic hat and proudly ignored all the Twittering about Twitter at every media outlet that surrounded me. Every business convention regardless of the medium was saturated with talk of Twittering. It seemed everywhere – in every newscast, by every celebrity, by the water cooler, overhearing it at the local pizza joint!!! We all knew it existed and we all debated its use. God get over it already! Oprah just started Twittering and Ellen DeGeneres just mutually followed MC Hammer! I guess it is worth a free bucket of grilled KFC (sacrilege by the way)1-KFCGrilledChicken-051109

Really is this a tool that have any use in my busy life? Please, do tell…

Then it happened, Dan McCarthy (my boss and CEO of NCI) launched a ground breaking social media project called Project Massive Network.(www.apartmentfinder.com, www.therealestatebook.com) Simply put, he was trying to reach into our warm and comfortable world of mass publishing and shake us awake so that we can realize that there is an oncoming wave of customer opinion is reshaping how we all will do business in the future. Tools of empowerment like Facebook, Bebo, and Twitter to name just a few, were conduits for consumer to lead this marketing revolution. After all, shouldn’t we expect that if we ignore this rising tide of change then your company will become…errrr…well umm – Chrysler GM.  On a side note, this  is (was) a company that drowned in its own ignorance, by turning its eyes away when faced fact that Japan changed the entire world model and subsequently the economics of car building.

Much like Chrysler, I was still stubborn to change but now I forced by work to jump back into just another thing the people say that keeps me connected to the world. Thus, I again stepped gently into the murky and uncomfortable waters of Twitter.  Immediately,  I felt vindicated the first day. This” Twitter thing is useless!”, I proudly exclaimed to myself.   Disjointed conversations and a lack of anything important to say in 140 characters or less, I still wasn’t impressed.

Then a funny thing happened….someone peeked my interest on a topic.

Innocently, I clicked on a “tinyurl” and was surprised that I it dug much deeper than just 140 characters on a subject that was surprisingly interesting to me. Dumbfounded yet intrigued, I felt that surely this has to have been a fluke. Temporarily motivated, I began to wade a little deeper in these unfamiliar waters with a renewed interest. Curious, I then jumped into  the task of “following” my friends and coworkers…boom another hook to cool information, bang hooked on something again. Something foreign was taking shape.

Then it hit me – a “Twitterephiny” if you will (since every developer feels the need to make a cool word out of twitter, I felt like doing the same.). With every follower that I followed, with every follower following me, I was building my own community of like interests.  My own school of fish that had similar likes and interests. This school of fish that was willingly influenced because it was a community bonded to each other by social interaction. This wasn’t the blind and ignorant collective that I originally thought it was. It was just the opposite. Yes it is a collective but it is more than that,  it is a collective of both the followers as well as the followed. We are influencing each other willingly by using a media tool that is social.

“Twitterenlightened”!  I now understand that we are not a “school of fish”. On the contrary. we are really an “army of one”.  Mutual connections and realtime information that is relative to my life is extremely important to me. Thanks Dan @danielrmccarthy and Todd @TDubner, for forcing me to eat a mouthful of crow.

Wow, I am glad I got that off my chest…I have to go now, American Idol results are in.

(it is purely human behavioral research – get over it)

Twitter Marketing is real.

-James Newbill