Cozying up on Twitter

Cozying up on Twitter

Summary: Twitter...yet again. Stephen Rose over at Fast Company has discovered a new use for the beast: Following the activities of business contacts with whom you want to ingratiate yourself.

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Twitter...yet again. Stephen Rose over at Fast Company has discovered a new use for the beast: Following the activities of business contacts with whom you want to ingratiate yourself.

So What?

Twitter (skip this paragraph if you know) is a micro-blogging service. You use it by "tweeting" posts of up to 140 characters. You can tweet from your PC or your phone, and you can arrange to follow other people's tweets. If you're sufficiently interesting, others may follow yours. And that's all. Twitter is the most trivial important application you'll ever run across.

Sample tweets: "Heading for HI," "At bat next," and "Have stomach rash shaped like Vatican."

Following contacts' activities is incredibly powerful. If you're in sales, knowing what your prospects are up to lets you establish rapport even more effectively than talking sports. And rapport is the first step on the way to closing a sale.

Except--and this is just the problem with Twitter--it's so personal and yet so very public. Why should I go to the trouble of tweeting my day-to-day activities just so salesmen can accost me more effectively? Do I really want them waltzing up and asking how the stamp collection is coming along and whether I've been able to clean the stain where old Bowser horked up the reptile? Not especially. It's probably age (I have a lot of that), but I'd prefer that the general public's knowledge of me be limited to posture, height, gender and taste in legible T-Shirts. Anything beyond that I reserve for friends and family.

So perhaps Twitter (like most things Internet) is generational. Job-terminating Facebook photos don't seem to worry 20-somethings--why should personal tweets? Maybe the next generation is fundamentally more sociable that mine (even unto liking strange sales people). My attitudes are clearly out of fashion. Perhaps this can be fixed. "Twitter therapy" might one day help me loosen up and join the mainstream. But for now, I'm signing off. Though I have had my final tweet (the one about the Vatican) printed on a T-shirt.

Topics: Browser, Enterprise Software, Social Enterprise

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4 comments
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  • Twitter....

    Change in most cases does start with youth. Those that have little or no experience adopt new ideas faster. Caution or conservative approach is not part of the chemistry. We have a strong tendency to forget our own reckless behavior, age does have draw-backs.

    Someone has too lead. The race to find that edge and utilize new tools that generate dollars is all about throwing the old rule book away. Unless there is some action, you have nothing to evaluate. Maintaining a "social" appeal reflects character. Sales is all about character.

    Twitter may not be the answer, but it does allow us too experiment with changing technology. That in itself is the benefit.
    bluegil
  • What exactly is the Vatican shaped like?

    Great post... everybody is gaga over Twitter, but how is it that different from some fusion of IM and blogging?

    Geek & Poke has a lot of great cartoons about the Twitter lifestyle:
    http://geekandpoke.typepad.com/geekandpoke/2008/06/the-hub-of-our.html
    joemckendrick
  • RE: Cozying up on Twitter

    Yes, the new transparency with the Netgen can be off-putting to those of us who grew up in more "private" times. Still, after jumping into the pond, I'm seeing benefits along with the negatives. Tweeters are forming relationships with people from all over the world we would otherwise never meet. We send & receive snapshots over a period of time, filtering those who have compatibility --or at least understanding-- for who we are & what we have to contribute.
    M. Steinberg
  • RE: Cozying up on Twitter

    It's good to see someone is reading my Fast Company posts. :) The Twitter angle is not for everyone. It does depend on what you do, the demographic you work in and industry. Since I am technology based, Twitter is the hot tool of the day and is treated as such. Look at it this way, any tool that give you any edge is business, grab it, use it and don't share.

    Thanks for the plug guys!

    Stephen Rose
    Fast Company Blogger
    http://www.fastcompany.com/blog/stephen-l-rose/tech-odyssey
    stephenlrose