I’ve come across a few blogs recently that bemoan people who post trivial information on twitter, stating that, in their opinion, it turns people off from Twitter, or that people are simply narcissistic, with their endless stream of ‘I’m in Starbucks enjoying a latte’ type tweets. They write blogs pointing out the correct etiquette of twitter and that you shouldn’t post this type of update, that it’s bringing twitter into disrepute.
Well, to all of that I say: If you don’t like it, switch it off!
See, that’s the beauty of twitter, you can pick and choose exactly who you follow, and then in addition to that you can dice up your list even further to create streams that are only populated by your favourite tweeters and streams that specifically cover topics that you want to single out for attention.
And I think some of these people that post blogs criticising what people do and don’t talk about on twitter, and what they should and shouldn’t be saying, are missing the point. Twitter isn’t just for business people to spout on about the latest SEO project or their new website, or their special offer or latest great article. It’s for everyone and anyone, to say exactly what they want, when they want.
It’s very simple: follow the people who interest you, and if after a while they no longer interest you, or if what they are saying turns you off, then simply switch them off; unfollow them, don’t moan about them.
If someone wants to say they’ve just popped into the post office to buy some stamps, or have just had a cup of tea with three sugars, so what, let them. This might be hugely fascinating to their own group of followers. Of course it may not be, but that’s not for anyone to say, it’s totally subjective.
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
Twitter is about expression and freedom (well, to a degree as we’ve found out more recently with some people saying a little too much when they’re not supposed to and getting themselves into hot water as a result) and the ability to pick and choose who you listen to. Don’t chastise just because people are saying things you don’t want to hear.
Obviously some etiquette guidelines are good to adhere to, especially if you are using twitter as a promotion tool and you are specifically trying to generate new followers and engage actively with peers and prospects, these shouldn’t be overlooked.
But the rules are not hard and fast rules, they are not laid down in legislation, they should be noted and applied in a way that fits with your way of working, your type of business, and in a way you feel comfortable with. Although, it would be foolish to think that if you’re a business tweeter and you don’t post anything other than what you ate for breakfast and what your plans are for lunch that you will gain lots of followers who are within your target audience. You need to tweet about stuff that your audience are interested in – and that all depends on the audience you are trying to reach.
Advice should be exactly that: an opinion or recommendation offered as a guide to action or conduct, and should be applied and adapted in a way that fits best.
Twitter is literally full of nonsense, the majority of tweets are probably totally irrelevant to the majority of people, but searching, segmenting, and listing, provides streams of interesting, relevant, and on topic information that will enrich and enlighten in a way that we have not ever experienced prior to this dawn of social media where we are exposed to a continuous stream of information.
And, on that note, I am off to enjoy a nice tall cappuccino, with chocolate sprinkles on top, at my favourite coffee bar, in case you’re interested!