Monday, July 26, 2010

The Rise and Fall of Twitter.

No offense to local Twitter users (sorry Jesse), but today's article in the Bulletin about Twitter pretty much documents why I think Twitter is -- less than useful:

"...most of the top Central Oregon Twitter users are selling or promoting something...."

Let me ask you this: If you were asked to a party and you knew that everyone at that party was going to try to sell you something, would you go? If you walked into a room where you are pummeled from all sides by someone yelling at you about their product, how long would you stay?

Blogging has always been in danger of this, too, but somehow the odd or quirky or personal manages to squeak through, and somehow it's easier to weed out the relentless self-promoters from the titles. I'm usually able to categorize blogs into subject matter: Mommy blogs, travel blogs, promotional blogs, teenage angst blogs, etc.

By the time you read a tweet to find out if it's personal or promotional -- well, you've already read the tweet.

I suppose all social media becomes prey to the self-promoters, and the answer is to try to limit your exposure. Facebook, for instance, I've heard the trick is to accept as friends people who are truly friends. But I think what happens is that we all wander in newbie-like and get overwhelmed and then...we can't be bothered.

Even though I own a business(es), I've tried very hard not to turn either my blog or tweets into self-promotion. In fact, I've actively avoided it. I quit looking at the "hit" rate a couple of years ago, and haven't checked since.

I realized early on that the temptation to gussy up my blog to make it more attractive to the casual reader, to write about only "positive" things, to try to make me or my business to look better than it was, to constantly refer to my wonderful relationships, were all things that might, in the short run lead to higher readership. I've made no attempt to play the -- you sign me up, I'll sign you up -- game.

I have a feeling sometimes that people are simply yelling past each other, a circle of self-promoters who think they're accomplishing something but are simply making themselves known to other self-promoters.

I think it's a catch-22. In the end, I think it destroys the usefulness of a blog. At least to me. I'd rather keep 50 very interested readers, than garner 2000 readers who merely browse. Or never actually read the damn thing, or comment. It isn't a race to see who has the most followers before you die, folks.


blackdog said...

I do not twitter, tweet or chirp and have no intention of doing so.

Some people seem to be tweeting almost constantly. I can't believe they have that much to say that would be of interest to anyone. Does the world really need to be kept informed on a minute-by-minute basis about where they are, what they're doing, what they're thinking?

A certain amount of egotism is involved, I believe.

dkgoodman said...

I think you're going to the wrong parties. Most people don't go on Twitter and read random posts by random people; they follow their friends. If you don't like what a friend is posting, you can stop following them.

You can go to a chamber mixer and pitched by every other salesperson there, or you can go to a party where only your friends are invited and you're not likely to get pitched by them. Twitter is more like the latter.

Duncan McGeary said...

You're probably right, Dave. As I said, I guess that's the trick to Facebook too.

It feels almost rude to de-twitter someone, you know?

dkgoodman said...

It does feel rude, but I still do it. Most people don't notice that they have one less follower, and if they do they usually don't know who dropped them.

Bewert said...

I tweet regularly, 2-4 a day maybe, but it is more sharing stuff I find interesting than self-promotion. My last tweet was a link to a good article on algae for fuel. No time to be obsessive about it.

Anonymous said...

I'm on Twitter, and I really like it. Lots of interesting stuff comes my way.

But almost none of it comes from people in Bend. There is little doubt in my mind Bend has the most useless and annoying Twitter community on the planet. I wish I was exaggerating.