The first rule of Twitter

fight club

What with me being new to Twitter, I’m not claiming for a second to be an expert. But what has struck me since I started using it is how many tweets I read which are exclusively about Twitter itself. You know the type – Twitter tips, how to get more followers, isn’t it great that we’re all connecting etc. etc.

I’m well aware that in my wide-eyed eagerness I did follow far too many ‘social media experts’ when I first started. So it’s likely I get more Twitter-related tweets than most. But I defy anyone to visit their Twitter profile at any one time and not see at least three or four messages referring solely to Twitter.

This completely self-referential form of communication seems to be unique. Facebook, for example, is not filled with groups telling you how to use Facebook more effectively. It’s for sharing pictures or sending party invites. Going back further, I’m pretty sure the Pony Express didn’t just carry lists of celebrities who used the Pony Express, messages saying how great it was that there was a Pony Express in the first place, and tips for grooming your pony better. It was a means to an end, and 90% of the time it pointed back to the real world. That doesn’t seem to apply to Twitter.

Now there’s nothing wrong with doing something for it’s own sake. People with cars sometimes just ‘go for a drive.’ But they also use their car for ‘real world’ tasks – going to work, collecting shopping, bank robberies. The car was an invention that solved a problem. Since Twitter has been invented, ‘real world’ uses for it have been a bit thin on the ground.

Social media that achieves nothing except the creation of more social media is a bit of a bugbear of mine. So I’m going to introduce a new rule. It’s copied shamelessly from Fight Club and I’m sure I’ll be the only person who follows it. But I’m hoping it will transform my Twitter experience into the kind of thing the evangelists bang on about.

The first rule of Twitter: You don’t talk about Twitter.

That means no more talking about Twitter online or in person (after this blog, obviously. I’m aware of the crippling irony). That also means unfollowing anyone who bangs on about Twitter tips all the time (sorry socmediaguru73). And it also means finding a way for it to help me, rather than just experimenting with it because everybody else is. I’ll let you know how I get on.

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5 responses to “The first rule of Twitter

  1. The problem with the Pony Express was that whilst not being an express it was certainly pony. I’m sure the celebs of the time would have been the first to laud the PE as they were most likely to be robbing it

  2. Fair point really. As you said at the beginning of your post: you are new to Twitter – and this is the case for the majority of people. Twitter is still in its infancy, therefore most people are still getting accustomed to using it, and most people don’t realise it’s potential for social media marketing (hence my latest blog post).

    I follow a lot of people who have mentioned ways to improve the usage of Twitter, but at the same time they are very active in using it for marketing (among other things). Obviously there has to be a balance though, and I would unfollow anybody who solely talked about it none-stop.

    • I like your point about Twitter still being in it’s infancy. I thought about mentioning it in the post but it would have made it even longer / more boring.

      But I think the reason a lot of people spend so much time talking about Twitter is that they are so new to it and need to learn more about what they’re doing. Seth Godin has written a really good blog about people constantly having to be re-taught on the internet.

      Hopefully it will die away once everyone becomes more sophisticated online, but until then I think Twitter is always going to be a bit of a noise machine.

  3. Good point! I like it!

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