Re: Tweeting. Making a # of it @ Twitter.

Posted on May 13, 2010


It seems that the importance of social networking passes many of us by. I know plenty of people who are either incapable of understanding the complexities of it, or despise it with a passion reserved for the killers of their first born. A friend of mine, who runs his own very successful communications business, is probably a mixture of both of these mindsets, and he views FaceBook as somewhere between meddling in black magic and the harbinger of end of humanity.

Now, I can understand that there are huge benefits to FaceBook and other social networking sites. For instance, I’ve been able to keep in touch with friends from all over the World and even get back in touch with people I thought I’d lost. It’s a great way to organise social events and to share your photographs with friends and family from across the globe. Unfortunately, it is also a way in which to flaunt yourself like a fat-headed egotist, providing pointless status updates and inflicting the web with embarrassing photographs of every single drunken night out.

Which leads me rather neatly to Twitter. I’ve only just become involved with this medium, having perviously thought it to be the most shameless means of self promotion since the X-Factor auditions. Plus, I really didn’t understand how it worked. And neither did any of the people I asked, for that matter. Here we have this vital social networking site, and nobody I knew seemed to understand how it worked.

Only after being advised by industry insiders as to Twitter’s value, and noticing that every single media position required someone who “Tweets with confidence”, did I decide to dip in my toe. With less than three followers, one of whom was my mum, I tentatively Tweeted. Nothing happened. What had I done wrong? I had no idea. However, this is the thing about Twitter. Despite being a hugely connected site, it is mostly one-way traffic. After sending a few half-hearted Tweets into the ether, and receiving no digital echo, I left it.

Months later, whilst drinking with some mates in the Dog & Duck in Soho, I was quietly informed as to how Twitter worked. It was a rather discreet conversation, as though I were being let into a secret, or shown behind the curtain.

This conversation, along with the persistent advice to improve my networking, prompted me to return. I no longer expect a response or a RT (retweet) but simply put it out there. Not only that, but I’ve come to see that this is much more than a simple outlet for those with ADD. Twitter really does connect you, and it is possible to reach a staggering audience, previously unreachable in the past.

Possibly. Quite possibly.

For instance, if I wrote an article on James Bond and I linked that in a Tweet to JamesBondLive, the millions of people who are connected to that would have access to it, and they in turn could RT it to people in their network. That’s a huge number of people. Or I could put a # in front of something I was talking about, which would then link it to everyone else using that # group. As an example I could Tweet: Check out my article on the DB5 @jamesbondlive #astonmartin #jamesbond Anyone reading #jamesbond or #astonmartin would get it and if JamesBondLive RT’d it, all their readers would see it too. It’s memetics gone mad.

I’m certainly no expert, and with just 10 people following me, I’m hardly in the best position to promote myself. However, this is changing day by day.

At the end of the day, social networking sites are reflective of those who use them and their intention. If you think the World shines out of your arse, then you’ll be able to boast and brag to your heart’s content. However, if you’re simply there to communicate as effectively as you can to as many people as possible, Twitter isn’t a bad place to start.


Posted in: Editorial