You People and Your Twittering

March 12, 2009

Posted in Web Industry.

On Monday March 9, 2009, I tracked every single tweet that came through my Tweetdeck. I categorized the tweets according to their use and intent and content. Nothing fancy or scientific here, just a quick label. After all, I do still have a job (until my boss reads this).

Quick notes – of course results will be different from day to day or person to person. I am currently following 90 people on Twitter and frankly, I can’t keep up with many more. Some of these folks make quite the ruckus.

Now, some findings…

Twitter isn’t for Self-Promotion

Regular vs Self-Promotional Twitter Use

The overall categories were there to determine how much people use Twitter for self-promotion. I see a lot of people linking to themselves, their own blog posts, or otherwise hyping their own stuff.

But as you can see, that really wasn’t as much as I’d expected. Maybe it was a slow Monday for blogging, but I think I was exaggerating how often that happens.

More than that, it speaks to how I use Twitter: I tend to unfollow people who simply post their own stuff. I can easily subscribe to your RSS feed and read it at my leisure, so posting every single blog post is a quick way to get banned from my Twitter list.

Twitter is Personal

The “regular” category isn’t particularly informative, so I broke it down further.

twitter personal use.jpg

I also wanted to see whether people used Twitter for professional purposes. Obviously, most of the conversation I recorded was of a personal nature. Some people were on vacation, others were simply complaining about the weather or work. I counted anything that was value-added work info as “professional,” and broke it down further if it had a link or not.

My take on this? Twitter is about personal relationships, not professional gain. Though as any salesperson knows, relationships are often what make sales. So it’s not entirely without professional relevance.

Twitter is about Relationships

No pie chart for this one – it’s all about the total number. 350 tweets. I read 350 tweets in one day. Many deal with far more than that. I only follow 90 people, remember. So what’s the value in all this noise? How do you get work done when there’s a crowd of people chattering away about their personal lives?

Well, I try to tune them out and come back later. But when I’m on Twitter, I’m trying to respond, be helpful, and build relationships. A great example came from my wife the other day, when she saw a chance to promote the summer camp she works for:

dccurry: Jam packed day. 1st off to a camp to check out our spring girls retreat potential. Camp costs are causing us to check other camps this year
abear23: @dccurry if you want info on camp Tannadoonah let me know. I’m the camp director.
dccurry: @abear23 definitely! Shoot me some info.

If you follow someone just for the sake of promoting yourself, it will be obvious. That’s why I don’t follow people who are following so many more than are following them. There’s a good quote that seems to fit:

Here’s the rock, paper, scissors game of selling:
Relationship is more powerful than price.
Relationship is more powerful than delivery.
Relationship is more powerful than quality.
Relationship is more powerful than service.Jeffrey Gitomer