I first heard about Twitter at a one-night class I took last year on blogging. The instructor mentioned it as a final comment. He introduced Twitter briefly as the newest social media communication phenomenon, and showed us the “Tweet” (message) he had posted before he came to teach the class that evening. His Tweet said: “Leaving to teach a blogging class at ACC.”
I looked at my table partner, and the expression on her face – a look she might give her little brother if he took the toilet seat cover off and put it on his head – made me laugh out loud.
I was the only one who laughed. The rest of the students just wore a similar expression that seemed to say, “Who on earth cares if this man is leaving to teach a class on blogging?” Yes, our society is shamelessly focused on such trivial topics as Paris Hilton’s dog and the late blonde bombshell Anna Nicole’s baby, but have we stooped so low that we’ll find this mundane fact interesting?
The instructor only had time to explain that we could use it to promote our business or product, and that was the end of it.
Fast forward several months. I’m investigating low-cost ways to promote my novels, my freelance writing and my small business’s products. I buy Paul Gillin’s Secrets of Social Media Marketing and Andy Wibbels’ Blog Wild, a Guide for Small Business Blogging. Twitter appears in twenty separate locations of the Secrets book, along with this sidebar testimonial to Twitter’s utility:
“Twitter’s Quirky Appeal Lara Fitton is a Twitter master, an independent consultant whose two young children create some lifestyle choices. She wants to work, but she needs to do that mainly from home. Twitter has become Fitton’s business network and support group. She has collected an entourrage of more than 3,500 followers…established relationships that have led to new business, speaking invitations, and personal friendships.”
I searched for Lara Fitton on Twitter, and there she was, wearing a garish green bow digitally pasted on her head. One of her Tweets (messages) reads:
Down by the corner of the street,
Where the three roads meet,
And the feet Of the people as they pass
Okay, so now I’m the one wearing the astonished expression, and someone, somewhere must be laughing at me. Am I so out of the current stream that I can’t tread water, let alone swim? Is this what’s called marketing? This is how you get business and speaking engagements, writing little ditties and Tweeting about preschoolers and museums, and Pooh falling on the acorn?
“I just don’t get it!”
This seems to be a common reaction to Twitter, and it’s what’s keeping many of us from tapping into its resources. It’s weird. It’s boring. So what if seven million people are signed up there? Just because they apparently have endless amounts of free time to chat, chat and natter, doesn’t mean I do. How can they find these mundane postings interesting?
Coming next – I learn why, and how. Meanwhile – do you Tweet? Your comments are most welcome! How’s it working for you?