What is the Point of Twitter?

12 May 2009 12,038 views 13 Comments

What is the point of Twitter?

Afraid of Change

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image credit: Sammy0716

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Twitter seems to be everywhere these days. Recently the latest numbers came out from Compete.com and the big news was that Twitter passed The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal in traffic.

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There is a lot of buzz on and off the Web about Twitter. You know something has reached the masses when your parents are asking you “What is Twitter?” and wondering if it’s something inappropriate.

Well I got caught up in the word-of-mouth buzz and passed along the news to a few people at work.

I received one response back “Why is Twitter compared to The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal and not other sites?”

This was an awesome response.

It caught me off guard and while some people might take that the wrong way, I take it as a chance to ask the question “Why?” and look for a more beneficial answer.

I love when people ask “Why?”

So I thought I’d take some time to discuss what exactly why people use Twitter, how I benefit from Twitter, and how exactly you may be able to use it for the benefit of you and your hunting business.

Why should I use Twitter?

I used to think that people who asked “Why should I use Twitter?” simply didn’t get it. Now I’m starting to realize they raise a valid point.

Why do people use Twitter?

After thinking about it for awhile…it seems people use Twitter for one of two reasons:

1) Self gratification

2) Empowering of others (which may cause self gratification).

Think this is too simple?

Think about it more…

What do you notice as you Tweet and read the Tweets of others…

Do you use Twitter to converse with your peers? Your conversation is empowering to the both of you, plus you get self satisfaction by feeling connected with others who may share a similar (or complete opposite) worldview.

Do you share links to remarkable articles? You’re empowering others by sharing great content while ultimately trying to get some self-gratification by feeling important for sharing such great content.

Do you share links to your own work (I’m guilty)? While you may be trying to empower others (and that’s the goal) you may on some level just be trying to get attention and self gratification (it’s always fun to check your bit.ly

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stats to see how many clicks your link got).

So why should I use Twitter?

The two reasons I mentioned above are precisely the reason you should use Twitter: for self satisfaction and to empower others (while [subconsciously] looking for self satisfaction.

It’s the ultimate form of connection with other humans and content.

Twitter may be seen as a news source (as I implied when I passed on the news about Twitter passing The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal for Web traffic), but Twitter really is the latest technology that allows us as humans to connect with others, learn, and improve ourselves.

When people pass along up-to-the-minute news on Twitter, they are simply trying to achieve one or both of those two things.

It’s not wrong.

It’s simply fact and it’s great.

So yes, Twitter can be compared to The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal (where it looks impressive), but it can also be compared to other forms of connection (where it might not seem as impressive – the iPhone, etc.).

Why and How I use Twitter

As you have probably guessed…I use Twitter for both of the two things I mentioned above: for 1) Self Gratification and 2) Empowering others (which may cause self gratification).

If you follow me on Twitter (@DayneShuda)

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, you probably know that I put up a link to every one of my blog posts.

You also probably notice that I link to articles, blog posts, and other content I find important enough to share with you.

These are both examples of empowering others (sharing remarkable content for the benefit of others) while at the same time empowering myself (I feel like I’m important when I share something people like).

But what I find the most unique is what happens when I share seemingly unremarkable things on Twitter.

For example, I can post something like:

Tweet about opening beer

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And get a few responses:

Twitter responses

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What’s the significance of this?

Connections.

When you find people who share the same interests, feelings, and worldview as you, you are able to form connections that are beneficial for all parties. You can truly create inspiring products and services when you connect with your customers or your peers.

So it’s been interesting to see the response you can get by sharing what might seem like something irrelevant to others.

I guess even when we think we’re the only ones thinking or doing something we find others just like us.

How Twitter can help you

Twitter can be whatever you want it to be. Sure…Twitter today may seem like the ultimate source of up-to-the-minute news, but who’s to say that tomorrow someone else doesn’t find a better use for it?

Most businesses start out with a goal and end up adapting and changing to meet the demands of their customers.

The free market is powerful and smart businesses are challenged and excited about changing for the benefit of their customers (and for their own profit).

So here is my suggestion for you: Use Twitter.

Use Twitter as I use it. Use Twitter as you see others using it. Do what is successful for others and you’ll be sure to find success as well.

But even more importantly – don’t forget that nobody has figured out the right way of using Twitter.

And that’s probably the single best thing about Twitter – the company lets its users decide what is important and beneficial.

You can find your own way to benefit from using Twitter. It’s what is great about being an entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, you strive to change what people currently settle for.

Don’t settle for what Twitter or anything on the Web currently represents. Work to find your own benefit. This is how you can become remarkable.

Twitter Saturation?

Today, after I heard the “Why?” question from a coworker I came across a post from Dr. Pete

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on SEOmoz
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The Real Power of Twitter
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.

As you can tell by the chart above, Twitter is getting big. And when something gets bigger than big it tends to outgrow its welcome.

Consider the first paragraph of Dr. Pete’s article:

I’ve been suppressing the urge to write this post for a while now. It’s not that I don’t love Twitter (I suspect my wife is a few days away from scheduling my intervention); it’s just that I’m saturated by it. It’s not the tweets themselves, but the incessant whining noise made up of every second-rate media personality in the world “discovering” Twitter on a daily basis and every self-declared “social media guru” regurgitating the same How to Twitter post a thousand times a week.

So Twitter has probably reached saturation. Personally I reached a saturation point with Facebook. I haven’t been using it much in the past few months. I’ve found better use of my time with other things such as reading blogs, writing for this blog, and working on other new ideas.

Does this mean Facebook and Twitter have no use?

Absolutely not.

But I think there is a lesson here: [Presently] The Web is the ultimate form of competition in a free market. Just what is the competition for you ask?

Site editors are competing for your attention…constantly.

A service that captures the imaginations of millions today may be gone tomorrow.

Why?

Often when a Web business finds success they get complacent and stop competing for your attention. It may be because they become too caught up in the benefits you can create for them and not the other way around.

On the Web, the user is the benefactor of the pure competition.

Business models are still being worked out on the Web. Those that have succeeded have truly scare products or services that benefit a segment of business or consumer customers. And these companies continually perfect their services/products or work to change the paradigm in their favor through innovation.

Once again, customers win in this situation.

So has Twitter reached saturation?

On some level I think it has, but there is still a place for it with your business just as there is a place for Facebook – for now.

Summary

The real lesson with Twitter, Facebook and any new innovation on the Web is that the most advantageous aspect of it all is connection.

The Web allows you to connect with people and content fast, efficiently, and on a deep level of interaction.

The Web allows you to learn about life, information, history, and just about everything else.

Technologies will come and go on the Web.

Tomorrow the new will be old – the innovative will be prehistoric.

It’s the way it is and businesses shouldn’t be afraid.

As long as you truly dedicate yourself to benefiting your customer you will have success.

And with success and true scarcity comes profit (which is what we’re all after).

Update

The idea of “…staying ahead of the curve and continually looking to improve with technology instead of waiting to see what others do and then act…” is something I read at The Future Buzz

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from Adam Singer
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.

It’s a theme he often touches on. Here is the post I think I first noticed it from: Your Marketing is (most likely) Dated

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.

“Don’t let your business miss the boat just to uphold the status quo. Diving into something new is actually less risky than ignoring it. You have everything to gain and far less to lose. The wait and see approach is far more dangerous, because you risk ceding ground the nimble competitors.”

Related posts on Hunting Business Marketing

10 People All Hunters Should Follow on Twitter

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5 Creative Ways for Hunting Businesses to Use Twitter

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20 Steps to Starting Your Hunting Business Blog/Website

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Related posts on the Web

The Real Power of Twitter

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Clinging To The Past Is Not A Strategy

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When Twitter Goes Down

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13 Comments »
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  • k1ite said:

    Excellent read my kind sir. I have just recently jumped the gun on twitter and never thought I would even use it well but it seems that my friends have recently decided instead of email or texting it would be faster to twitter information. Just like RSS feeds that I subscribe to, it allows information to reach out to people that want to know what and why?.

  • Albert A Rasch
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    said:

    The problem with much of these “innovative” communications models, is the time required to master them, by which time, of course, the model shifts to a new paradigm. In the end I think, if you concentrate on making what you do better, make it a destination for whatever it is that you do, the more traffic, the more connections come.

    In blogging, content is king, everything else is just the court!

    Regards,
    Albert
    The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

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    The Range Reviews: Tactical
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  • Dayne Shuda
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    (author)
    said:

    @K1ite – Using Twitter to share information is a great thing. It’s all about spreading info, content, and making connections.

    @Albert – I think that’s part of making you and your business scarce. It’s tough to keep up, but strangely it’s easier to stay ahead of the curve than behind it.

  • Albert A Rasch
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    said:

    Alright Dayne,

    On account that I respect your internet savvy, I just spent the last hour or so going through all that Twitter stuff, checking out the site’s or people I would follow.

    Now remind me. Why am I doing this? Am I supposed to look at the my home page on Twitter regularly?

    Only kidding, I hope that I don’t find myself mostly going through mindless chatter. I have my twitter set up to announce new posts at TROC

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    .

    I’ll give it another go.

    Regards,
    Albert
    The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

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    The Range Reviews: Tactical
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    Proud Member of Outdoor Bloggers Summit
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    .

  • Dayne Shuda
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    (author)
    said:

    That’s great Albert! I’m sure you’ll find your own way to make it beneficial. Keep me posted on how it goes.

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  • rickybuck
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    said:

    Hi Dayne,Nice read but for me its all about having FUN,my buis.will book itself in other ways than twitter,word of mouth,and i find if i be myself and just have fun and make friends on twitter the word of mouth im talking about will spread and the folks that get me ( my humor and character)will someday come up and hunt with me and they will tell their friends,i enjoy the connections and shared information on twitter and i have fun. pss;are you someone with a narcissistic Persnality disorder obsessed whith being adored by Twitter Fans? Twitter with extreme compulsion need psychiatric help!! You can reach me at psyco ward 007,lol Have Fun now and Follow @rickybuck

  • Dayne Shuda
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    (author)
    said:

    Hah :-)

    Great outlook, Rick.

    Twitter is great for communicators like you who just like to connect with great folks.

    I’m thankful I was able to meet you via Twitter.

    You’re a great person to follow. :-) I love your tweets. @RickyBuck

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    [...] It’s a great feeling when someone goes out of their way to recognize you as a resource for great insight and connection on Twitter. Recognition for being someone worth following is great for those trying to figure out the point of Twitter. [...]

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  • Jason @GameGlide
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    said:

    Great article.
    Usually people do things soley for self gratification. At least twitter makes it easy to also empower others, which may cause self gratification (as you wrote).

    @GameGlide.

  • Saxby Chambliss said:

    Twitter is useless, compared to just about any other activity. Twitter adds little to the world, I have used Twitter and found it beyond disappointing. I’m glad I didn’t have to pay anything for it. I think it is like the mood ring or pet rock of this decade, soon to be replaced by an even more useless fad.

    You want empowerment and connection, try meetup.com where you can actually meet people in the physical world and have actual conversations and share activities.

    Twitter, isn’t that what a gnat’s wings do right before it meets your windshield.