“Tweeting”, “Retweet”, “You know, I have 39 followers”, “Oh my God! Gul Panag replied to my tweet”. Wondering what am i talking about? If you are, then someone like me will surely be shocked. Ask why? Because Twitter has taken our nation by storm. A storm which has made celebrities and minsters across the world take notice.
So what really is Twitter?
Twitter is one of the most famous social networks in the world today. Despite it being launched in 2006, it was initially restricted to the USA and a few other countries. But the period of 2008 – 10 has been some sort of a golden era when its membership increased more than 1382% in 2009 over the previous year. That’s a lot of technological gyaan, right?
But then, there has been MySpace, Bebo, Hi5, Facebook, Orkut and a multitude of other social networks.
So what’s so different about Twitter?
Is it the fact that it’s an online SMS based service? Or is it a medium wherein a person can follow anyone and everyone?
That’s the biggest problem. Not many of us have really been able to understand what Twitter really has to offer. It’s all turning out to be a trend wherein a person joins Twitter but doesn’t really understand what to tweet, how to follow and how to unfollow.
Take for example us Indians, most of us joined Twitter because of Shashi Tharoor (@shashitharoor) and rest of the other Bollywood celebrities. It became a tool to connect to celebrities and listen to their endless blabber. But then we love anything about Bollywood, don’t we? From tweeting about their latest movies to what they ate in breakfast, everything was lapped up (read Retweeted) like never before.
When Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) joined Twitter, the frenzy had to be seen to be believed. Every tweet of his be it from him saying ‘love you all’ to ‘preparing for the game tomorrow’ was retweeted as if there was no tomorrow.
People find it so comforting to tweet about things ranging from them having lots of money in the bank to the fact that they are going for a 7 day trip to Switzerland. And the end result – burglaries. C’mon guys, is that the reason why Twitter began in the first place? Though I have pointed out India in my example, such a problem isn’t limited to India only.
Twitter has become a medium for marketing professionals of all kinds. Some use it for talking about their brands and improving the customer service. Nothing wrong in that. But then many others use it to post nonsensical spam. There must be millions of bots on Twitter automated by individuals or companies which really don’t serve any great purpose.
Twitter was started as a 140 character online SMS service. The brainchild behind the idea, Jack Dorsey thought that an individual could communicate within a small group of people by using an SMS based service. And thus the idea of Twitter was born. But then what we are seeing today is a lot of pointless babble, spam and endless chatter which most of the times isn’t too engaging.
So this makes me wonder, do people really know that what one types in those 140 characters can affect your life? Those 140 characters have the potential of separating the best from the rest in every sense of the word be it getting noticed, making friends or even getting applications for a project.
Don’t believe me. Then try out!
Some random pearls of wisdom
• Tweet, engaging – Does it ring a bell? – “Going to the bathroom”, “Having chai and bread”, “Loving life” etc. is stuff which is tweeted when actually a person doesn’t have anything too great to say. It’s what one calls talking to himself or herself. And only a crazy person will do that right? Sometimes it’s ok, but all the time? NOOO!
• Spam? A big NO! – Tweets about buying stuff to 10 people in a space of a few seconds, automating 10 tweets within a few minutes from applications like twitterfeed, Assetize etc. are nothing but plain irritating. And what a person will do seeing this. Your guess is right! BLOCK AND REPORT SPAM!
• Dialogue! What’s that? – Isn’t it always said that man is a social animal? Then why do you want to be unsocial on Twitter? I am sure if that’s the case, the only thing one can decipher is that you just love talking to yourself. And so I again came back to the same term – CRAZY! If you are cringing read this, then what are you waiting for? Start engaging people with your conversations to get more followers and create a dialogue
• #nowfollowing! Why announce? – Whenever one starts following someone, he / she uses the #nowfollowing tag to publicly announce it. Ok probably sometimes it’s understandable when one is excited about following someone. But then always??? Does it really bother the world out there who you follow or unfollow? I seriously don’t think so.
• Tweeting personal information. Out of your mind?? – “Have a 10 room house..It’s so spacious”, “Got my new bank account finally with ICICI”. Is Twitter a personal diary that you keep tweeting all your personal information? Not unless, you really want your house burgled and your family kidnapped. Isn’t it?
• List people – Listing is something which I myself haven’t been able to understand completely till date. But yeah it is an amazing way to recommend people or to tell people that “yeah dude..I am interested in what you tweet about.”
• Retweeting! Its good when in short supply!! – One can retweet if he / she likes a particular tweet. But then there are some who retweet each and everything till there is no tomorrow. This situation seems so much similar to when a person has cash on his cell and feels like calling each and everyone on his phone book till the balance gets done and dusted with
• No Speeches out there! Only 140 characters! – Twitter has 140 characters and it is important to say everything possible in that much space. But then there are some very interesting personalities who tweet what they want to say in 10 continuous tweets in less than a minute. Guys! Don’t fool anyone. This just shows that you really don’t know what Twitter is all about.
• Celebrities..Hahaha, What a joke! – Celebrities across the world seem to be enamoured by Twitter. But then there are some interesting characteristics which distinguish them
i. Their account is outsourced to an agency
ii. They tweet on their own and most of the time become active only when they have to promote a movie / music release
iii. They take potshots at each other like Shobaa De and Sonam Kapoor or RGV and KJo. (virtual fighting anyone)
iv. They retweet all the praise about themselves and their movies
Even after the above WARNINGS, you want to go ahead and follow them, do so at your own free will. If nothing else, it would surely give you lovely fodder for sarcasm and jokes.
• Marketing on Twitter..You kidding me! – Since Twitter grabbed eyeballs throughout the world, how could companies as well as individual marketers stay behind? But then while some succeeded in their endeavour for others like Rediff News, NDTV, Shoppers Stop etc. it became another tool for spreading their message. Some of them also linked their tweets to their Facebook or Linkedin accounts.
Do these companies think we are crazy? If they regard online communication across all the mediums as similar, why have Facebook, Twitter, Orkut etc. in the first place? You can directly use a website to give out information right?
But then the individual marketers are ten steps ahead of these companies as they keep following random people and spamming all the time. No day goes by when I don’t have to block at least 5-10 random people.
Some of the best examples of using Twitter include MTV India, Dell India and Tata Docomo. More than being active and highly conversational, they are also used in listening to what people are talking about.
Bored reading all the above points? Sleepy? I am sure you will be a bit for sure. Ain’t it? The previous ten points are not the Ten Commandments. Neither have I tried to create an article titled “The 10 best ways to tweet”. And for the information of everyone, neither am I going to write the next book on this subject.
All I have tried to put down is some interesting insights which I came across in the last 1.5 years of being active on Twitter. Do you still think 140 characters can’t cause shame?
Here’s seeing all of you on Twitter soon..
Till then ‘Tweet Tweet!’