In Chris Brogan’s latest blog post he compares tweets to snowfall, but what I found more interesting was his take on some of the deficits facing corporate Twitterings. And they are what one would expect, the lack of the human touch. Twitter is not a broadcast system, even for the giants.
If you’re looking to use a social network to build business relationships, there must be a blend of personal and professional. No one (NO ONE) wants to read about your job all day. They want to know you. They want the “behind the scenes” of your communication. They want the “liner notes.” If you have to talk official all day, then brand it and stick a logo on it, and people will or won’t talk to it.
The humans, however, want to talk to humans.
And, they want YOU to talk about other people and not just your job. They want you to talk about them. They want you to wish them well on their spelling test. They want you to mention the great deals, but only once in every 12 tweets or posts. They want your account to be a snowfall, not a blizzard of business.
Ask anyone who’s receiving your message, and that’s what you’ll get for an answer.
His thoughts had me thinking more about Twitter. It’s a medium that fascinates me, one that is very difficult to describe. I remember the first time I had to explain it to a small company CEO who very much was open to using it, but I only had 10 minutes to convince. I thought it would be easy to do so, but though I made good points he just didn’t “get” it, that is to say, he didn’t get excited about it and it fell away out of his very busy life. Below are some of the spontaneous thoughts I had after reading Brogan’s article, posted as comments, going to what is unique about Twitter:
There is something to the asymmetric connection of Twitter that is an art form. It’s the way that everyone is partially blind to everyone else, and the electric shot of communication proximity can occur in an instant pushing past barriers. Corporate Twitter has to create these vertical flashes of “behind the scenes” and the human, combined with horizontal information spread. All in a tempo or rhythm that connotes pulse.
I think Twitter is a strange bird. It isn’t what it appears to be, or what you can even describe it as. It’s fast, thin and penetrative. But if you don’t “play it” (to mix metaphors) you won’t understand what is happening. It’s not radio It’s not magazines, it’s not even Facebook. Each Tweet needs a smudge of the hand that tweeted it. It’s a challenge, even for persons, let alone corporations.
Aside from the sweet melange of metaphor-mixures that occurred to me while thinking about Twitter (art form, music, heart beat, birds, game, fingerprint paper: ha), there is a point I’m getting to here, and it’s a point that I have been working through to for some time. It has to do with the asymmetry of the connection as well as its lexical thinness. Tweets are like – hear we go – small slips of paper you can pass under the door of even a big wig executive’s office or a house-wife’s kitchen but in such a way that they (more or less) do not pile up because they dissolve.
If you could slip something under the door of a reader you want to know, what would it be?
And what would you want slipped under your door?
Of course this is nothing at all what Twitter is like. But…