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    Scott Fox

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Comments

Ivette Muller

If it wasn't for Twitter, I wouldn't have met some amazing people that I am glad to call my friends today. I probably wouldn't have been introduced to you either through the 12 Days of Christmas Tweetathon - that would have been bad! :)

I agree that it is difficult to carry on a conversation with people in different time zones and even if you're not online at the same time. Sometimes I get a response and I forgot the question I asked!

I think the value of clicks with links is somewhat diminishing with things like Sponsored Tweets and ads. But, if you already have a large following, or at least interested followers that you are engaging with, they will always be interested in what you have to say. So blog posts and helpful articles/tips will still resonate with them.

The height of Twitter created a lot of interest and there were lots of new accounts. The question of whether they add value or will just go away will soon be told. With the upcoming launch of Twitter advertising, I think we will see a shift in the type of new users. But how the advertising will effect "loyal" users remains to be seen.

Brian

if it wasn't for twitter i would have never found this post...

HSK

It has turned into more of a news feed for me. I tweet, but I am positive, with only 103 followers, very few pay attention. Twitter now strikes me as a very self-serving tool overall. I am sure there are meaningful interactions on Twitter between followers, but really why are you on it if you are not trying to promote yourself/your product/your website?

Scott Fox, Author of e-Riches 2.0

@Ivette - Well said. For friends and real relationships I think it will continue to be valuable.

@Brian - Thanks for visiting and posting!

@HSK - That's my point - more self-serving noise yields less quality means people tune out and devalues the medium overall.

Shel Holtz

I have found a way to address self-serving noise. I don't follow any of it. What I do choose to follow yields value for me.

Seth Elgart

In some ways I think you're missing the point about what Twitter is for. If all it is is for marketing, maybe it *is* a failure. And it's certainly not for conversations. It is, though, a great implementation of a public bulletin board where I can leave notes and read others' notes. It works great for that, and I have no problem with having "only" my 100 or so followers.

I think to call twitter a failure because you "only" market to 25,000 people to me seems to totally miss the point.

Scott Fox, Author of e-Riches 2.0

Hi Seth,
I actually agree with you. I think Twitter's growth and popular acceptance are changing where its value lies. Today it's feeling more like a place to connect with small, trusted groups and as a news feed. Those both have value.

But that's a stark contrast to a year ago when everyone "had" to be on Twitter because it was seen as a new mass marketing phenomenon like blogging.

To say "it's certainly not for conversations" is directly against the advice given by most Twitter gurus and a reversal of the supposed value that Twitter offers. Isn't it?

Thanks for visiting.

Deb Kapsner

We may see a lot more self-promotion and narcissists on Twitter these days, but it's a new channel to have more interactions with people in your space--whether it's networking with people in the same industry, trying to engage with your customers, or connecting with others who share your passion for food, SQL Server, parenting, yoga, knitting, or show dogs across the globe.

As a corporate tool, it's also a way to monitor information and trends in your industry. For example, if a company is wondering if some newsworthy announcement has leaked, a quick check of twitter can give them a read on what, if anything, is out there. If there is an issue bubbling, Twitter will alert you long before other media sources would have in the past.

Lastly, it's brilliant at connecting and mobilizing people in real-time around world events. Think of the impact Twitter had on raising money for Haiti? And when the earthquake struck Chile, people were tweeting images and updates in real time. I find that to be quite relevant.

@jeddins

I agree that I tweet and follow less now since, as the list grows, so does the noise level.

Z'da

Scott, very interesting perspective, thank u 4 sharing :-)

It all depends on your objective for using Twitter. You need the right strategy and approach for Twitter to work. If the marketer ONLY cares to fill his/her pocket, then Twitter may not be the place because people will quickly see the 'self serving' from those who truly care to make a difference and bond, join in on the conversation and add to people's lives. When you add to people's lives, they will know you, trust you, love you and RT your stuff.

In terms of the time zone difference ... tis NO problem when people know you, like you, and trust you. I have people on the other 1/2 of the world that will read my previous tweets and RT, because of the value I offer.

I have clients whom I manage their Social Media Marketing campaigns who are growing like crazy with ~ 50% increase in website traffic all because of of the strategy we employ.

Twitter is a tool and it's how you use the tool that will make the difference.

Well done, Scott - controversy is good :-) keeps people on their toes ;-)

M. Edward (Ed) Borasky

I'm kind of on the fence about this one, mostly because it's becoming clear that the B2C "marketing platform" battle is Facebook's to *lose* at this point. Facebook is an integrated platform - Twitter is an ecosystem. Google is a search engine and advertising/webmaster platform but not a *marketing* platform.

And for crying out loud, haven't the folks at Google ever heard of *focus*? Do one or two things really well, be number one or number two in a market, or get the Hell out? They make phones, they make cloud apps, they're in the *energy* business, they give away garbage "productivity" apps like Wave, and they're building a netbook OS and a browser.

I'm a big fan of Twitter - I'm part of the ecosystem as a freelance developer, and I've gotten immense personal value out of it. It has completely replaced LinkedIn - I meet people on Twitter and only occasionally look up their LinkedIn profiles these days. They've got some very interesting strengths:

1. Conceptual simplicity
2. Flexibility
3. Excellent developer relations - it's almost like an open source community!

You're right - there are immense challenges to Twitter, not the least of which is coping with what still looks like geometric growth in tweet flow without geometric growth in revenue. But as a developer, I have never worked with a company that treated its developer ecosystem better than Twitter does. I think Twitter has a bright future despite the challenges.

Michele Price

HAHAHAHA! One, what an old term and one most of us find lame today-Jump The Shark-SIGH.

Ok that was my minute of meeting you with the same energy and intention in your post.

As for Twitters usefulness, what you look for you find. It matters not if it is Twitter or happiness or clients.

I agree with Z'da when you work from a strategy and an exectuable (is that a new word like jump the shark giggle) structure and have a specific goal you are looking to reach then, twitter delivers for me and plenty of others.

This is not your Daddy's business world anymore. It is about your social capital/escrow. People do business with those they know, like and trust and some can create trust and others just plain ole piss people off.

AND I connect with folks not in my time zone, this is a global economy and my followers find enough value in my tweets I get RT without even asking.

What strategy are you using? Or was this one of those ruses to just get people to "play with you", which only works a few times then you get known as Peter-as in Peter and the wolf.

Prat Pris

other than scribes, celebrities, people looking to complain & PR, who uses twitter seriously anyway?

Melinda

Twitter makes me think of birds meeting up for a few minutes around a food source. Then, off to some other place new to sing a different song.

The Good.
I have been able to develop a following of tweeple that have similar interests or are interested in me or my service.
I am able to update status through various websites and various devices.
It performs as a consolidated newsfeed.

The Bad
There is lots of spamming
There is lots of noise. Some people just don't know when to shut-up.
It requires a significant amount of time to optimize its value.
It feels like your tweets have to communicate with a whole bunch of people with A.D.D. which is not very effective.
When the marketplace is changing to letting your customers tell you, Twitter feels a lot like lecturing.

Twitter can be used as an online marketing tool; but, like any other medium, it takes a strategy. Overall, I think that being successful at marketing on Twitter is difficult and the rate of return is not very high. It is a combination of a social network and shock media.

If Twitter institutes ads to monetize, it will be an online neighborhood ad newspaper with a bunch of advertising, a little news, and only picked up if you are looking for a below market deal or need to pass some time perusing while waiting for the oil to be changed.

Scott Fox, Author of e-Riches 2.0

Thanks for all the comments. Looks we all are helping to redefine how Twitter should best be used.

@Deb - 3 good use cases there for modern use of Twitter. I'll be posting a followup soon that includes parts of those. Thanks for sharing.

@jeddins - exactly.

@Z'da - I agree. Twitter is just a tool and correct use can be very beneficial. I'm probing for correct uses for small business owners new to the medium - most of whom have heard they "must" be on Twitter and have inflated expectations. Thanks for your comment - healthy discussion is good!

@Ed - Thanks for a helpful comment. Most of my readers are not developers, though. Your appreciation of the Twitter developer ecosystem is great but doesn't directly add value to people trying to use it as a marketing channel today.

@Michele - No, I'm really trying to make sense of Twitter's evolution. Newbies to Twitter today are presented with a much different landscape (a marketing-dominated one) today than 18 months ago when I wrote my last book. See my many other posts on Twitter (some links above) for my own evolving POV and attempts to help readers prioritize Twitter in their social media marketing plans.

@Prat Pris - Lots of people are new to Twitter daily and trying hard to make sense of it for their businesses. If it's just a toy, knowing that will help them better allocate their time elsewhere.

Scott Fox, Author of e-Riches 2.0

Wow, Melinda.
Lots of great points in there, especially about the audience having ADD.
Twitter really is a mix of good with the bad, isn't it? I think the angst I felt which caused me to write this post is really a result of an increasingly low rate of return, as you suggest.
Thanks for sharing all that.

Sam Hasler

TV loves twitter. It allows them to get 140 character soundbites viewer responses to quote on shows. They don't have to wade through and edit lengthy emails any more.

As long as Twitter is the only 140 char game in town it will continue to be prominent on TV, and that will feed into it's perceived relevance.

Robert Merold

Its always about following the money

Twitter will still be a great communication medium for folks to share short (thankfully) postings to 'others who care'. But there is no money in that (someone to pay for the infrastructure at minimum).

The problem is when they try to monetize: huge volumes of mindless spam will quickly be a turn off. Serious e-marketers are learning that its about engagement with the prospect, not blanketed noise - its why an ad on Hulu is more effective than ads on broadcast TV. Its hard to see how Twitter makes that shift and if they can't they will be tomorrow's My Space

Norbert Mayer-Wittmann

Before twitter was promoted to mainstream media, it was a comparatively tightly knit community (focused on marketing, advertising, ... -- essentially: commercial twitter ;)

There were 2 things that led to the loss of community: 1. fixation on real-time, which was primarily due to news industry bankruptcies; and 2. Celebrity appeal, primarily due to the "gossip" aspect of twitter.

I think Dave Winer and I agree that 1000's of twitters will "blossom" I think that quote of his came a couple days after I posted that opinion on Kara Swisher's blog, but TBH I think he and I agree on a lot of things, so it's not surprising. I think the part that he doesn't "get", though, is that each of these twitters will be topically focused (and indeed the code supporting it may be a little different). The crux of community is so-called "natural" language, not software... -- see also: The Wisdom of the Language

:) nmw

Brian Hayashi

When I first made the CB radio analogy back in 2008, I was just six months into my Twitter experience.

http://connectme.typepad.com/news/2008/05/twitter-vs-cb-r.html

My opinions have changed dramatically since then, and spelled out in greater detail at http://go.twavl.com/twitter

My response to your points:

(1) While the ease-of-use have indeed turned much of Twitter into a spam fest, at the same time I am getting a much better experience because I learned to stop following anyone who seems questionable. I learn more in less time, and the same automation tools help me screen out stuff.

(2) I totally agree with your point about the lack of true synchronicity. Only the biggest whales have the critical mass to use @reply etc effectively. But you know what? That "gaping hole" is an opportunity for Twitter, or some other entrepreneurial startup -- like you or me!!

(3) As far as automation - many small businesses need tools so they can do all the things you decry - schedule tweets, auto-respond, etc. They need to be focusing on their businesses AND using technology. It's said that small business owners need to wear many hats, and while Twitter can feel like a hamster wheel, its ability to capture new leads is a huge plus.

(4) And lastly - the 800lb gorilla of Twitter advertising - I believe a lot of people are entirely too quick to condemn Twitter advertising without having seen Twitter's vision. My meetings suggest Twitter has a take on ads that many people will like - and the few interviews with @biz and @ev seem to back this up. Let's save the condemnation for AFTER the launch of Twitter advertising!!

Scott Fox, Author of e-Riches 2.0

@Sam - Nice point about the fit between Twitter and TV. I hadn't thought of that one but it makes sense.

@Robert - As marketers we're always chasing the "new", aren't we? And yes, it comes down to the money. I think Twitter will continue to evolve, especially given that it has so effectively outsourced much of its evolution to the developer community.

@Norbert - Yes. I guess much of what I'm exposing here is part of the transition from one Twitter culture fragmenting into many smaller but more targeted ones. That's the future of marekting in general as you suggest.

@Brian - Thanks for the detailed responses. Your #3 is where the hope for Twitter's future lies in my mind. That's the kind of e-business and marketing strategy we talk about a lot here at ScottFox.com.

Thanks everyone for visiting to comment.

(and again to the NY Times for picking up this post!)

- Scott Fox

tom sauer

I am very new to twitter and was trying to set up a page and get people following me so I could communicate daily specials I offer on my site http://www.sprintcupclothing.com and kept scratching my head asking myself "how does this work?" I have come to the conclusion it won't work for me to promote my website. My page is itsraceday but I have less than 25 followers after a few weeks. I agree twitter is dead. I see myself as an average, everyday kinda guy and us my feelings toward something as a barometer so if I feel this way many feel this way.

Scott Fox, Author of e-Riches 2.0

Hi Tom,

Don't give up yet! What you are doing sounds like a good start if it doesn't chew up too much of your time.

Twitter still has value, it's just at a smaller scale and higher price than it was last year.

My point above is that the first generation or two of Twitter users had a good time of it but today the forces detailed above have combined to make Twitter more challenging for new users, especially small business owners (like yourself) who are not full time social media pros.

Check out this video I shot a while back for my recs on how to use Twitter successfully (despite the complaints I list above):
http://www.scottfox.com/2009/11/twitter-how-to-use-twitter-marketing-strategy.html

I hope that's helpful.

Let's discuss more in the ClickMillionaires.com Forum, too.
Scott

Marie

Let me approach this from a receiver rather than a broadcaster perspective. I'm not tweeting for my business. I am gathering information, keeping informed and trying to learn - about a lot of things that are not "marketing".

Even the people I enjoy (Chris Brogan, Mashable, etc.) post too often. And if you get even 15 or 20 of these types of people - even in different categories like food, celebrity, marketing, crafts - the overall din becomes deafening. If I keep Tweetdeck on, its a constant interruption, if I turn it off and have to search through tons of tweets for the nuggets at the end of the day it is tedious. It's easier for me to get info via RSS, flowing into my email tool, sorted by category or blogname and read it when I want to.

And the content is richer through other means, unless someone tweets a link to a thorough article. So, I know it serves a place and a lot of people love it, but it makes me crazy - and ADD is a great analogy, Melinda!

Scott Fox, Author of e-Riches 2.0

Hi Marie,

Thanks for the thoughtful analysis from a non-social marketers POV.

I think a lot of this discontent centers on Twitter's requirement that you be present in real-time to interact with other folks.

That's fine if you are up for having running conversations but is frustrating for people whose time available for social media participation is limited (i.e., who are not social media professionals where that same dialogue is their business).

One of the huge benefits of both email and social networks is that they split communication into convenient asynchronous bits. As you suggest, Twitter seems like step backward from that, doesn't it?

Rex Dixon

Now you need to write the post "The Shark has been jumped, how to make the best of it!" - since you pointed out the flaws that I will have to agree with, you should point out the benefits or the best way to use what is there. Good post, and I found you because I follow some decent people. @RexDixon

Scott Fox, Author of e-Riches 2.0

Right you are, Rex.
All the conversation and controversy about this post has helped me refine my best approach recommendations for using Twitter today.
Coming at you soon - stay tuned!
Thanks for the comment.

M.M. Daniels

I believe that twitter is on the way out but there is still some value left in it.
In some cases it does seem like people are just talking to themselves.
I also wonder how it will be once they actually begin to advertise. How many people will leave and how many people will just ignore the adverts just like they do everywhere else.

Tania Halpin

I definitely think that twitter is turning into a bit of a spam fiasco but I do get benefit from it and make a point of not spending hours there everyday.

I also agree that the power of twitter is dwindling and it's usefulness for online business is not as good as it used to be. The problem is that all of the spammers have taken the fun out of the social networking side of things and there are fewer and fewer "honest" tweeters who want to network globally as well as develop relationships.

Ultimately, I beleive that twitter will outlive its usefulness.

Thanks for your post.

Barbara

We successfully use Twitter during our live webinars - for participants to post questions in real time.

Ching Ya

Scott,

A well written post stating all the concerns. Twitter has indeed becoming more crowded than before. Spammers, lurkers, hijackers are all there joining the hype, inevitably causing a certain doubt of the effectiveness of Twitter.

For us, the challenge is to break through, separating ourselves from the bots. Twitter is still a favored medium. People are listening, but we need to find out the right group of people to connect. Discovering our audiences and build credibility, relationships -- this may take time, but I do think there is no short cuts in all networking, even Twitter. :) There are still gems to be discovered, even for marketers.

Appreciate this mind provoking post, Scott. Glad to meet you here & Twitter. Impressive site. Thanks for visiting earlier.

@wchingya
Social/Blogging Tracker

Scott Fox, Author of e-Riches 2.0

Hi everybody,
I appreciate your thoughtful comments. This has turned into a really good discussion thanks to your participation.

It feels like a lot of you are frustrated with Twitter but still finding some value in it with lowered expectations. That pretty much agrees with my POV, too.

Thanks for visiting and I'll see you on Twitter, too (as long as we can tell each other from the bots as @wchingya says!)
Best,
Scott

Liz

Twitter is great for chatting to friends and meeting new people. However, my experience is that as a marketing tool it takes far too long to build a following of people who are interested in what you have to offer. This is compared to Facebook, in which you can build a following of genuinely interested people in a fraction of the time.

Darla

Twitter is NOT a substitute for an email list.

Perhaps it should be used to identify specific contacts a shotgun not a scatter gun. I have made some great contacts on Twitter. You must provide valuable information.

Sunni Patterson

Twitter is a great application for keeping up to date with friends, events, entertainment, etc. and definitely has its place. But, it's far less attractive and effective for building relationships with clients or potential clients. I believe other social media outlets are more conducive to this and build authentic dialogue i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.

Kevin Mastaw

I agree with most of your thoughts on this, Scott. I've seen a huge drop in the number of clicks on links in specific posts - even AFTER my following got above 10,000. What I am using twitter for though, is an introduction tool - i.e. it brings to my attention people who I would like to contact to further develop a business relationship with. After that, I have to work on building those relationships "off-twitter" so to speak.

regards,
Kevin

Scott Fox, Author of e-Riches 2.0

@Liz and @Sunni - I agree. Neither is the correct tool for every purpose, but Facebook seems more useful these days.

@Darla - I definitely agree that Twitter is not a substitute for an email list, but for busy small business owners a similar approach (regular one-way updates of valuable content) may be the best use these days.

@Kevin - Yes, I think the best uses are evolving now. Finding new people, keeping up with the news, etc. seem to be dominating over last year's "let's all tweet each other all day" approach.

Scott

Bruce

That being said, a study has shown that Twitter may be a better online marketing medium than Facebook. Market research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey and iModerate Research Technologies revealed that nearly 20 percent more Twitter users were likely to recommend the brands they followed than Facebook users (60 percent of Facebook users, compared to 79 percent of Twitter followers).

Florida

yeah twitter has become somthing that is pointless on an individual basis. Its more of a company and celeb kind of thing now

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