“Son derriere noir… c’est formidable!”Hilary van Doren, Fame 1980, MGM

Command Performances – Everyone it would seem loves to perform and be in the spotlight. That is certainly true with the noise that surrounds the “gotta be on” approach people have taken regarding Twitter. Problem is even though thousands join each month, only about 40 percent of them stick around after a few days. The thrill of talking to yourself in a crowd seems to get old real fast according to most studies. Photo Source – MGM

We see the value in Earth Day. We recognize the importance of World Peace Day. In deference to our wife we think even Mother’s Day is OK. But Twitter Day?

Somehow Oprah coming online and saying “Hello Twitter World.” (or whatever) is not quite up there with the wizard of Menlo Park (Edison) calling one of his assistants for help!

For the most part, we don’t really care that Oprah, Shaq, Parris, Kutcher and a lot of other folks are thinking about or talking about. Yet a million or so folks have signed up and track their every 140 character utterance.

Our son — who has an account but is too busy instant messaging with his smartphone and Skyping on his notebook – made the observation that if you Twittered in the real world instead of on the Internet you’d be arrested for stalking. Heck we have people following our updates and all we have is a Twitter account…and we thought we didn’t have a life! But there is a growing Twitter population. In just a couple of years it has grown to well more than 10 million according to comScore.

As Domino Pizza, Amazon and other firms are quickly realize the mob mentality can be a force to be reckoned with. In the old days you used email, the phone and if you wanted to use the wayback machine you sent a letter.

Hum of Noise

Today people young and old can’t stand the vacuum of silence and we rush to take advantage of every personal and social networking tool that is available.


Always Connected – It used to be there were only a few ways for people to communicate. Today the tools and services available to us to talk – even if no one is listening – are mind boggling. People not only use the social networking services, they are becoming more savvy in their application. Source — IDC

Twitter and other microblogging tools caught the attention of people everywhere when terrorists attacked the hotel in India and when the US Air plane went down in the Hudson River. Instantly people around the globe could see the news first hand. News media incorporated the citizen journalists’ inputs with their coverage seamlessly. The interesting fact is that Twitter was adopted by older users (35+) and that the younger crowd is less likely to Tweet.


Adults Rule – Finally there’s a social networking activity that “adults” dominate. Either they were there first or kids found it just too dumb to use and master. Maybe it wasn’t such a hot idea after all? Source – Nielson Research

The 35-44 year olds also spend a lot more time Tweeting than the younger crowd. From the personal contact perspective Twitter, Yammer and the other microblogging services deliver a valuable tool for people to get in touch, stay in touch in our hectic, sometimes chaotic world.


Staying in Touch – If calling someone is becoming old hat, we’re fortunate that there are a growing number of social networking options for people to use. Individuals and companies are learning how to leverage microblogging to stay effective and in touch. Source – Pew Research

Fortunately we didn’t have to learn a new language when we started using Twitter because most of the IM “words” are used to keep folks’ messages under the 140 character cap. The brave new microblogging world already has its own dos and don’ts guidelines if you want to stay out of the line of fire from other short statement people who are online.

For people who want to get business done rather than simply chat at the world, services like Yammer are much better.You simply carry on your specific project or activity and yet exchange information, ideas and concepts in a virtual/conversational manner.

Yammer is proving to be much more efficient and effective than email because people can have conversations with fellow employees, consultants, suppliers. It allows a profile and group list that you can check, post to and check from your computer or phone. The near-realtime environment lets you add photos, documents, videos to keep business moving.

Company Microblogs

Firms like Cisco, HP, Xerox and companies large and small have found that the instant messaging is a valuable work tool. It’s a lot better and safer than working together online with the rest of the world looking over your shoulder and kibitzing.

Hundreds — if not thousands — of companies around the globe have taken the Twitter plunge to talk with customers, sell products, improve customer support. Dell earned a few million last year selling used equipment from their Tweet corner. The same is true of HP. FedEx, JetBlue and hundreds of other firms including Whole Foods Markets have climbed aboard the microblog wagon because it is another – ultra cheap – way for them to improve and enhance customer relations activities.


Customers Count – Technical and customer support organizations have found that microblogs and social network tools are very effective in not only delivering service but also enhancing and expanding the customer relationship. Most of the social activities have been adapted and adopted to improve service and lower costs. Source – Society for New Communications Research

There are some very sound business reasons for individuals and organizations having Twitter accounts and following recent events the best reason seems to be…defense.

The online outcry that Dominos experienced with the video that a couple of really dumb employees posted on YouTube.

Then there was Amazon’s “mislocation” of book titles produced an early warning system for businesses and organization’s in all sectors. In this instance someone claimed he had hacked Amazon’s system and eliminated the books (so much BS but…).

In both instances, individuals stepped forward to claim their 15 minutes of Fame. The difference between them and the movie by the same name was that the cost of entry was almost nothing and for a short time they were thrust into the global spotlight.

It didn’t really matter that in both instances – and in countless more that will occur in the months/years ahead – that the stories were false. The Internet and Web 2.0 social networking tools has helped produce a mob mentality that feeds the monster bent on damaging individuals, companies, brands.

People have no problem Tweeting again and again what they wouldn’t say in face to face encounters with others. And in today’s net driven world companies don’t have to make a wrong move or make a wrong decision to get people fanning the flames.

So while most firms are exploring and using all of the social networking tools to touch, assist and learn from their customers, there is also that gnawing concern that someone, somewhere will make an innocent or malicious statement and …BAM!!!!

Or as Mark Twain said, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes.”

Damage Control

The organizations that are social media involved at least have a community foundation they can use to correct things as quickly as possible. They may not know exactly when, where or why the “challenge” will occur but they also know developing a plan of action while folks are lobbing their Tweets is a helluva strategy.

We’re not really into having a mob of Twitter followers all to ourselves. But fortunately there are a growing number of Tweet tools (we know we made that up!) that will allow us to keep track of what people are saying about our friends, family, products and us.Then again, sometimes you just don’t want to know what people are saying about you…

As Fame’s Montgomery McNeil said, “Never being happy isn’t the same as being unhappy.”


Aaahh…we’ll have to Tweet you on that. Right now we’ve got to get back to our Twitter tools to stalk the stalkers. As we said most ain’t that interesting. But on the Internet their thoughts, statements, claims, counterclaims will live forever…somewhere.

Who said Fame was fleeting ?

One Response to Trust Us…You Ain’t That Interesting

  1. Evolving Squid
    May 28, 2009

    In the “Age Distribution” graph, two observations come to mind…

    1. The breakdown of ages 12-17 and 18-24 seems to unfairly imply that less young people use Twitter. If the second category was expanded to 15-24 to be the same age width as the rest of the graph, it would seem that the number would be similar to the 35-44 column… perhaps a bit less, but not as much as this graph makes it appear. They seem to be trying to separate adults from children, but I’m not sure that’s a totally fair comparison because it necessarily makes the former group small compared to the wider age brackets in the adult group.

    2. Was there any explanation in the article from which this graph is taken as to why the 35-44 age bracket uses twitter substantially less than people younger and older. Usually when I see age-breakdown graphs there’s a single peak that trails off on either side. Here there’s a definite dip in the middle – about 18%. The reason for that might be interesting – doubly so because I’m in that age group and I don’t use Twitter any more.

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