Why I still hate Twitter

Sometimes you doubt your instincts.

Despite your gut feeling, you keep bumping into people who have seen the light. They seem normal. They dress well. And they can be very persuasive.

Your formerly well-grounded assumptions about the nature of things and business fundamentals seem less secure.

It’s the reason bubbles form. You buy a condo in Florida because everyone you know is flipping condos in Florida and making a killing. Or buying stock in Pets.com. There are associated urban legends. Someone knows someone who is making a ton of money or sales on Facebook.

It’s also the reason people follow cults.

Then the bubble pops and you feel like a damn fool for not sticking to your guns. You knew it was all bogus. Why would adults – some with advanced degrees and thriving businesses – be using the same gossiping technology as high schoolers? Aren’t they busy – you know – working?

I never wanted to try Twitter. I wasn’t tempted. Then I spoke on a panel about social media at the nascent Social Media Club, and I was the lone non-Twitterer who railed against the microblogging site.

People in the audience booed. I was berated on blogs. Now I know how Jose Canseco feels.

But I am open to new ideas, so I tried it for a few months. I am in the business of knowing what’s happening, so I should be a good case study of Twitter’s supposed power. And as a small-business owner, I am willing to do pretty much anything I have to to make the business thrive – even more so now that I have four employees who rely on me. That is, I capitulated.

I followed about 50 people and checked their updates at least once a day. I had about 200 people following me – but very few were our target readers. I tried to post three or four updates a week. Most were related to stories we were writing. I couldn’t bring myself to post inane details.

“My dog just burped. He’s so cute.”

My study is complete, and it’s just as I thought: a waste of time and completely useless for business unless you want to reach lots of marketing people. I firmly believe that most business professionals who spend time on Twitter shouldn’t fool themselves. It’s playtime, no different from monkeying around on Facebook or checking ESPN or TMZ.

My goal was to find potential news tips and drive readers to our site.  In my three-month trial, I did not find one helpful piece of information that I could use for a news story or even something that made me smile. Not ONE.  Facebook and Google are far more effective for driving readers, and I’m not convinced too many of our target readers are on Twitter.

The haters are already tweeting that I don’t get “It.”

To them I say beware of anybody who cannot describe something and must use a vague pronoun reference. I would also point out that Twitter seems dominated by people in marketing and advertising, and they are usually trying to pitch their services. So at some point it becomes marketers marketing to marketers.

I would also refer them to the very panel at which I was booed. While on a panel about Twitter, one of my fellow panelists was tweeting.

Let me repeat that: Tweeting while on a panel discussing Twitter. It makes your head spin.

Here’s another problem with Twitter. Not everyone is clever. There is one fellow I “followed” who is witty and has a talent for spitting out whimsical bits of humor.  He’s really the only person I found who could pull it off.

So from now on, I say be proud of your disdain for Twitter. Brag about it at networking events. When the bubble pops, it’ll feel great to tell people you never believed the hype.

Then again, I said the same thing about Facebook.

Aaron Kremer is the BizSense editor. You may not follow him on Twitter, and please do not send him requests to be LinkedIn or recommending he join Facebook.

Sometimes you doubt your instincts.

Despite your gut feeling, you keep bumping into people who have seen the light. They seem normal. They dress well. And they can be very persuasive.

Your formerly well-grounded assumptions about the nature of things and business fundamentals seem less secure.

It’s the reason bubbles form. You buy a condo in Florida because everyone you know is flipping condos in Florida and making a killing. Or buying stock in Pets.com. There are associated urban legends. Someone knows someone who is making a ton of money or sales on Facebook.

It’s also the reason people follow cults.

Then the bubble pops and you feel like a damn fool for not sticking to your guns. You knew it was all bogus. Why would adults – some with advanced degrees and thriving businesses – be using the same gossiping technology as high schoolers? Aren’t they busy – you know – working?

I never wanted to try Twitter. I wasn’t tempted. Then I spoke on a panel about social media at the nascent Social Media Club, and I was the lone non-Twitterer who railed against the microblogging site.

People in the audience booed. I was berated on blogs. Now I know how Jose Canseco feels.

But I am open to new ideas, so I tried it for a few months. I am in the business of knowing what’s happening, so I should be a good case study of Twitter’s supposed power. And as a small-business owner, I am willing to do pretty much anything I have to to make the business thrive – even more so now that I have four employees who rely on me. That is, I capitulated.

I followed about 50 people and checked their updates at least once a day. I had about 200 people following me – but very few were our target readers. I tried to post three or four updates a week. Most were related to stories we were writing. I couldn’t bring myself to post inane details.

“My dog just burped. He’s so cute.”

My study is complete, and it’s just as I thought: a waste of time and completely useless for business unless you want to reach lots of marketing people. I firmly believe that most business professionals who spend time on Twitter shouldn’t fool themselves. It’s playtime, no different from monkeying around on Facebook or checking ESPN or TMZ.

My goal was to find potential news tips and drive readers to our site.  In my three-month trial, I did not find one helpful piece of information that I could use for a news story or even something that made me smile. Not ONE.  Facebook and Google are far more effective for driving readers, and I’m not convinced too many of our target readers are on Twitter.

The haters are already tweeting that I don’t get “It.”

To them I say beware of anybody who cannot describe something and must use a vague pronoun reference. I would also point out that Twitter seems dominated by people in marketing and advertising, and they are usually trying to pitch their services. So at some point it becomes marketers marketing to marketers.

I would also refer them to the very panel at which I was booed. While on a panel about Twitter, one of my fellow panelists was tweeting.

Let me repeat that: Tweeting while on a panel discussing Twitter. It makes your head spin.

Here’s another problem with Twitter. Not everyone is clever. There is one fellow I “followed” who is witty and has a talent for spitting out whimsical bits of humor.  He’s really the only person I found who could pull it off.

So from now on, I say be proud of your disdain for Twitter. Brag about it at networking events. When the bubble pops, it’ll feel great to tell people you never believed the hype.

Then again, I said the same thing about Facebook.

Aaron Kremer is the BizSense editor. You may not follow him on Twitter, and please do not send him requests to be LinkedIn or recommending he join Facebook.

Your subscription has expired. Renew now by choosing a subscription below!

For more informaiton, head over to your profile.

Profile


SUBSCRIBE NOW

TERMS OF SERVICE:

ALL MEMBERSHIPS RENEW AUTOMATICALLY. YOU WILL BE CHARGED FOR A 1 YEAR MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL AT THE RATE IN EFFECT AT THAT TIME UNLESS YOU CANCEL YOUR MEMBERSHIP BY LOGGING IN OR BY CONTACTING [email protected]

ALL CHARGES FOR MONTHLY OR ANNUAL MEMBERSHIPS ARE NONREFUNDABLE.

EACH MEMBERSHIP WILL ONLY FUNCTION ON UP TO 3 MACHINES. ACCOUNTS ABUSING THAT LIMIT WILL BE DISCONTINUED.

FOR ASSISTANCE WITH YOUR MEMEBERSHIP PLEASE EMAIL [email protected]




Return to Homepage

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
19 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jake Rowell
Jake Rowell
12 years ago

I haven’t gotten anything useful out of it yet, but I was it linked up to my Facebook and blog to display links to posts. Doesn’t waste my time, so I’ll keep doing it. Like you said, most people on Twitter are there to simply broadcast information, not receive. You have to be one of the witty people in the cool kids club to get much out of it business-wise.

Meghna
Meghna
12 years ago

In a way, I agree with you. I wouldn’t be tweeting if it wasn’t “required to market” the web site I work with.

I do have friends on twitter, but among the 400+ ppl I follow, I rarely get to see their updates there (if they are updating, which they rarely do unless its part of their job too).

Jim Tucker
Jim Tucker
12 years ago

Like so much of what evolves out of global connectivity, Twitter represents the willingness to try something new. What it is reminding us of, however, is that face-to-face contact trumps mouse-to-mouse contact every time. This will grow in importance in the coming decade as people begin to realize that walling themselves off behind a digital identity makes them both faceless and uninteresting to anyone.

trackback
Why I still hate Twitter – RichmondBizSense | Twitter Traffic Experts
12 years ago

[…] Post By Google News Click Here For The Entire Article Twitter Traffic Machine Review- January 25th, 2010 | Category: Twitter Traffic Machine […]

Scott Dickens
Scott Dickens
12 years ago

Twitter is self-policing in terms of direct marketing. Don’t follow people that hock their services constantly, and your experience gets better. Twitter’s just like Friday Cheers: if you’re selective and only interact with people who provide value to you, then you’ll like it better. If you tried to talk to everybody, it’s just frustrating (and noisy). Most value I find on Twitter comes from personal interchanges that start from a “tweet,” not the general stream of information. To have these conversations you have to post more than a few times per week. You can’t follow people blindly. I follow about… Read more »

Anne Byrd
Anne Byrd
12 years ago

Twitter got two genuine, well-intended attempts from me, as well as a couple of events focused on the topic. I couldn’t be more done! I’m delighted to have met some great people (at the events vs. as a result of anyone’s Tweets), so I’m taking my new toys and going home. Twitter be gone.

Stan Smith
Stan Smith
12 years ago

What I have found is that it is nearly impossible for me to keep up with thousands of friends and followers so I am more inclined to agree with you than I may have been a few months ago. As the numbers increase the value of the relationships decreases in direct proportion to the number of people I add. I’m rethinking my entire marketing strategy and believe that I can possibly handle around 150 friends and family members without frying my brain trying to keep up. My marketing strategy until recently had been to develop relationships using social media to… Read more »

Carter snipes
Carter snipes
12 years ago

I’m happy to see @Other People with @ Twitter. Maybe I’m just getting @ Old @ 33.

Brian Glass
Brian Glass
12 years ago

Aaron:

You’re a tech guy and I value your opinion. You’re nixing Twitter just saved me a whole lot of time. PRICELESS !!!

Nicolette Tallmadge
Nicolette Tallmadge
12 years ago

I’m going on my 2nd year of Twitter and I have to agree the previous poster Scott is that it’s all in *who* you follow. I don’t follow just anyone who follows me, they have to be in my target market or their past tweets have to have useful information or news. I always check out the other person’s profile and tweets before I follow them. That was the thing I learned before Twitter started becoming useful to me. I have over 3,000 *targeted* followers on one of my accounts and no, not all of them have something useful or… Read more »

DaveMurr
DaveMurr
12 years ago

When I 1st joined Twitter (2 yrs ago), it looked like a waste of time. I didn’t see the purpose. I gave it up after 3 months. Then I gave it a second chance, and began following people who were in the same niche, and listened to what they were sharing. This is where the light bulb went on. For me Twitter is an incredible way to connect with people you wouldn’t normally have the chance to meet. This then leads to an increased potential of opportunities. Now as a marketing tool… I’m not a big fan. For me a… Read more »

Nick Dawson
Nick Dawson
12 years ago

Arguing about the usefulness of twitter is about sound as arguing about the usefulness of a telephone. I’ve never heard of someone getting a phone and expecting it to ring without first calling someone else and giving out their number. Like it or not, there are millions using social media tools who have a wide range of success stories. Being dismissive for the sake of being sensational does not change that. It does however make me feel badly for the folks who will read this and shy away rather than making their own conclusions – they may be missing out… Read more »

Jim Washok
Jim Washok
12 years ago

I’m with you. I’ve given Twitter three tries… and on my last foray, felt like I got “it.” I was posting a number of tweets, usually links to content relevant to my interests in mobile, marketing and design. I re-tweeted interesting comments and rapidly increased the number of those I follow. What turned me off a third time was that despite my attempts to create conversation among nearly 1000 followers, barely anyone, if anyone at all, would respond. Even when I would respond to questions posed by those I follow, there was usually no ensuing conversation… even from the person… Read more »

Keith West
Keith West
12 years ago

I’ve made a couple of runs at Twitter, and am maintaining my current one. I’m not convinced of its long term value to a general audience. However, I think the potential is there. Personally, I use it as a way to post relevant news items to my website. Using “Reeder” on the iPhone if I find an interesting article, all I have to do is hit two buttons and the article gets posted to my site- bookmarked for future reference as well as putting keywords on the site. Using it this way I’m not so much worried about who is… Read more »

Andrew Bleckley
Andrew Bleckley
12 years ago

Aaron –
Just ‘twitted’ your article… Maybe you will start a revolt!

Aurelia James
Aurelia James
12 years ago

Aaron – I like to hear you feel this way and I remember hearing you voice the same thing about Facebook in my first Journalism/PR class. I was completely against Twitter while everyone in the department was raving about it and I refused to join until I was forced to in my last semester for my Campaigns class. The first week I used it I thought, okay, maybe this has potential, then I got bored and overwhelmed with all the “tweets” that filtered through. I stopped using it completely for a few months then recently started checking in again just… Read more »

Linda Heath, Financial Holographix
Linda Heath, Financial Holographix
12 years ago

II’m cheerfully abstaining with the other independent thinkers out there. Twitting (yes, I said “twit”) seems more appropriate for kids than grown-ups with real work to do. This craze strikes me as a hyper-cyber-frenetic manifestation of a narcisistic society looking for its 15 minutes of fame…in all the wrong places. It contradicts the principles of knowing your audience, combining high-tech with high-touch and actually caring about the other person. Granted it probably saved the life of the grad student observing sensitive political events in a foreign country. Anyway, I have a policy of not following the crowd, because they usually… Read more »

trackback
An open letter to Aaron Kremer of Richmond Biz Sense… « Jon's PR 1.5
12 years ago

[…] In your post “Why I Still Hate Twitter,” you bring up some valid criticisms that the folks at Twitter need to meet head on if the platform is to continue to be viable.  Twitter is a haven for marketing people, no doubt.  The fact that you followed only 50 people validates an opinion of mine that Twitter does not to a good job publicizing the programs, services and platforms that makes it easy for people to follow others with similar backgrounds, likes and goals.  Finally, I agree that Facebook and Google are better ways to drive communities, readers and traffic. […]

trackback
How Aaron Kremer Can Use Twitter without Using Twitter « Tony’s Weblog
12 years ago

[…] 2010 · Leave a Comment Much has been made of RichmondBizSense.com head Aaron Kremer’s love letter to Twitter. It seemed to offend some fans of the service, and it definitely confused some of his peers in the […]