How to Hate Twitter (Yes, You!)

Real Estate Services with Digital Content Creator

I hear it all the time, "Twitter is a waste of time." "I just don't get the big deal about Twitter." "I'm too busy." "I only focus on mortgages." (A little secret snark there for a friend.) Let's back up just a few steps so we all have the same perspective.

Twitter. If you have not heard of it welcome to earth. Twitter is, simply put, a very fast past, one sentence electronic bulletin board. Oddly enough about 25 years ago that was the only way I communicated over the Twitter T-ShirtInternet. Actually it was called FIDONET back then and I accessed it with a computer with less power than your digital kitchen timer. So we have come full circle - only now it is much faster, there are millions of users and it is graphical instead of a black screen with little green letters!

Twitter was developed way back in 2006 - the equivalent of a digital millennium - by Jack Dorsey. Jack was joined by Evan Williams (not in a bottle) and Biz Stone who at first named the system twttr (flickr inspired the idea) and later spelled it out to Twitter. It has no specific meaning except that twitter was near twitch in the dictionary. Long story but if you listen to Social Media Edge Radio every Tuesday at noon you may already know it!

Twitter is limited to 140 characters including space and punctuation. Why? Think text messages (SMS - Short Message Service) on your cell phone. That is how Twitter was designed to work so that you could use either your computer or your cell phone. The very early stages of Twitter were, indeed, no frills. Today, however, there are literally hundreds if not thousands of third party developers using the Twitter API (Application Programming Interface) make it possible to do many things with Twitter - including be successful.

But I promised you a way to hate Twitter.

Many Active Rainers are guilty of the first way to hate Twitter. In fact AR makes it pretty simple by allowing you to "post your blog to Twitter". In fact I use that service and people who follow me on Twitter will be notified when I publish this blog article. That's probably the best way to hate Twitter.

What I am about to do is not to embarrass any particular person. In fact I'm just going to do a search on Google for the phrase "Just posted on Active Rain" and pick the 3rd and 7th links. Quickly visit and (like I said, no offense to these guys). The reason I chose these is because they are perfect examples of one way to hate Twitter. They really are nothing more than mindless Twitter spam and a horrible use of API bandwidth which could even make Active Rain look bad.

So what is wrong with the way these accounts are being used? Social media. One have of its name is social. When you go to a social event do you walk up to everyone you see and say, "Hey look what I just posted to Active Rain"? You would likely not be asked to another social event by those people even in the event you were allowed to stay for the current one. People block accounts that are just streams of API posts with no engagement from the account holder. You get 100 blocks and Twitter says "bye-bye".

Our friend, Jeff Turner (@respres), knows and speak about engagement as an essential activity for social success. He is correct of course. Without social it's just media and who cares? People want to interact, engage, share, discover, and influence. It's why Twitter works and is different than Facebook, MySpace, Active Rain, and other social media networks because with Twitter if you don't have followers you are talking to yourself! I love it when I come across a Twitterer who is following 1 person and has 0 followers but 350 tweets! Nobody has seen those!

Some of the people who use Twitter as a one way street - them publishing and you reading because they never actually engage with Twitter - will defend it by saying, "But I get Google juice!" Yes and no. Firstly I can tell you Google is all over Twitter links and counting them differently than say Wikipedia links or Active Rain links. Secondly Twitter uses the no-follow attribute in any link you post as appears thus:

<a href="" class="tweet-url web" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">

While Google does FOLLOW that link it does not index that link so, no, it does not in that manner count for even one little drip of Google juice where inbound links are concerned. True it may get you a handful of Social Media Edge Radiovisitors, mostly the 14 bots that hound tweets but if you do not have that social equity which comes only from meaningful engagement or stardom you really are just wasting time and space.

Speaking of stardom. Ashton Kutcher (@aplesk) is a star. You, the author of a book that sold 15,000 copies and host of a podcast are not. Michelle Malkin = star. Ken Cook = twit. Steve Forbes = star. Jason Crouch = twit. Why do you think Jason, Mike Mueller and I work so hard to stay on top - to engage others? If you do not do the same, if you think just having an @ before your name gives you social equity you will hate Twitter.

Now consider the story of @Bronto and the success they have had on Twitter with attracting new clients and new talents. "DJ Waldow of Bronto met a prospect through Twitter who knew of the company and valued the company's industry insight. When it came time for the prospect to find a new vendor, he went to Waldow and turned into a client. Bronto built a relationship with the prospect through Twitter, which helped the company stay in the prospect's mind." - Web Worker Daily

Obviously this is a very narrow look at a very wide subject yet I assure you Twitter is good stuff and has had a very good impact on my life and my businesses.

Follow my personal tweets @thekencook or listen to Social Media Edge (formerly Twitter Tuesday) Radio every Tuesday at Noon Eastern or listen to the archives anytime.

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Writer For Hire - I write. Whether you need blog content, research intense reports, data reports (and accompanying charts and graphics), ebooks, presentation content, speeches, advertising scripts, or similar, let me show you what you can have.

I started writing on Active Rain in 2006 when I was representing the mortgage industry. I am no longer in that industry and many of the older posts contain outdated information. Please do not contact me for LENDING or MORTGAGE questions but rather contact a licensed mortgage professional from your area. I have always been in marketing and branding and that is still what I do. Thanks for reading!


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  1. Joe Colón, Jr. 11/24/2009 04:43 PM
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Comments 45 New Comment

Clare Dove
EyeFiMedia Property Marketing Experts

Professionals especially will be kicking themselves shortly for not jumping on the bandwagon before now. Although its never too late to give it a try... just dont knock it until you try it! The only bad thing that could happen is that no one follows you end up tweeting to yourself!

September 04, 2009 10:50 AM
Damon Gettier
Broker/Owner ABRM, GRI, CDPE
Damon Gettier & Associates, REALTORS- Roanoke Va Short Sale Expert

If I shouldn't be Twittering from my AR do I disable it?

September 04, 2009 09:46 PM
Ken Cook
Writer For Hire
Digital Content Creator

To all who praised how great Active Rain is: We know. But do you ONLY hand out business cards at church? Do you ONLY eat at Burger King? Diversity with a focus on content and substance. There are 158,000 users on AR and MILLIONS on Twitter and TENS of MILLIONS on Facebook. Do the math :)

Naoma - awesome story! Jason and I have a few, too. People who "don't get Twitter" are missing out.

Russell - thanks for being a listener and sharing about it here!

Damon - the trick is to do MORE than just send your AR posts to Twitter. If that's all you're doing chances are nobody over on Twitter gives a rip. HOWEVER if you engage on Twitter, as Naoma who commented about the $400k sale she's closing as a DIRECT result from Twitter then leave it. My AR posts are also announced on Twitter.

September 05, 2009 12:35 AM
Sharon Alters
Your Fleming Island Relocation Agents.
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty

Ken, I go to people's posts all the time from Twitter and FB - but I definitely get what you mean. You're a twit spammer if all you tweet is your AR blogs as they post! Waiting for my first twitter lead!


September 13, 2009 01:38 PM
Joe Colón, Jr.
Shaffer Realty, LLC


   Wow, I'm admittedly a rookie when it comes to Social Networking and I have to say that this blog post has done more to explain Twitter and Social Media than all the Facebook/Twitter/AR Meetups combined--thank you.  That said, I may want to be more open to a mixture of sites as I dive into the world of Social Media.

   Great Post, I'm glad I took the time to read it. It was very much worth my time.


October 09, 2009 05:15 PM

Ken Cook

Writer For Hire
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