Twitter as a twool (as cool tech dude, Guy Kawasaki called it) has so much potential. So much more than the average – I’m just getting started with social media types or social media naysayers – realize. More than just a never ending stream of “hey, I’m headed to Starbucks for my daily dose of caffeine” type messages, Twitter gives its community of users the ability to network, share information, recommend others and search out content that is relevant to them.
I had the opportunity to demonstrate Twitter’s power in an “off the cuff” sort of way during a business meeting yesterday…at Brio in Buckhead. Yes, I know it’s crazy, but I do eat lunch. So we were talking about Twitter and I simply asked…what executive level are you trying to reach in corporations to talk with about your services? Sales VP was the answer. Without any real thought or tweaking, I whipped open Twitteriffic on my iPhone and simply typed Sales VP Atlanta. And wouldn’t you know that a major corporation in Atlanta had just placed a hiring notice for that exact position within their company. You’re saying to yourself, Barb is that really so interesting? You bet. It just so happened that this particular company is EXACTLY who my lunch guest had been trying to penetrate to not only discuss services, but because she works for a major placement firm, she knew that several of her clients fit the bill for the position. She was stunned! It didn’t occur to her to use Twitter as an alternative mechanism to traditional job boards.
The story I just shared is why I love Twitter. It is more than dribble about where people are eating breakfast. There is power and potential beyond what many people realize.
Now for the story of why I don’t like Twitter! Or maybe I should say that it is the users without a clue who leave a bad taste in my mouth.
I wasn’t with Twitter from the beginning, but I’m told by those in the know that it used to be totally about building relationships. There was a genuineness about wanting to get to know the people who wanted to follow you.
By the time I came on the scene, there was definitely a divide between the camp of people (like me) who think you use the tool to build visibility, credibility and relationships without spamming the network and those people who think there is nothing wrong with spitting out one tweet after another that is merely a sleazy sales pitch.
And now we have the abusive use of the direct message feature aka DM. It is used to SPAM people who have decided to follow what you have to say. It works like this…I decide to follow Johnny, because he seems sort of cool and his tweets are interesting. Minutes after I click the “follow” button, I receive in my Twitter inbox a direct message that is “automated” and says something like…”hey, thanks for the follow…check out or buy or sign up for my whatever…” It is all about what they have to sell without any thought as to whether I’m their buyer or not. Slinging hash on the wall basically.
Look at the picture I’ve included with my post…these are some of the messages sitting in my inbox right now. First it is…”now follow me on Facebook”. Then it’s “cool affiliate program”. Next comes “wanna make some moola?” And my personal favorite, “I just added you to my Mafia family, you should join.” Sure, I’ll get right on that.
Do you really think any of these people care about getting to know Barb? No way. I cannot stand this practice so much that the 35 people who’ve done it to me recently are now being booted from my network.
Sales people (and anyone who sells a product or service) take note. This is NOT what buyers want. In fact, they are tired of being inundated with this sort of garbage. It is what gives social media sites like Twitter a bad name. Some of us truly do want to create value and develop relationships that ultimately lead to sales. In my opinion, these DM tactics are used by people either ignorant about the impression they are creating about themselves, or they are so desperate to make a sale that they don’t care.
I’m curious, what do you think?