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Do You Need 2-Way Communication on Twitter?


Posted by on August 23, 2008

An article by the “Technology Evangelist” states:

“You don’t need to have a 2-way conversation to build a large following on Twitter. Publishing content people interesting, such a software updates, headlines, or humor are valuable whether or not you engage your followers.”

Oh Really?  You mean I’ve been wasting my time communicating with my twitter followers this whole time!?  DAMN!!

The examples that “Ed Kohler” (the writer of the article) uses are:

  • wordpress (wordpress)
  • Barack Obama (BarackObama)
  • macrumors (macrumors)
  • Stephen Colbert (StephenColbert)
  • Henry Rollins (HenryRollins)

The biggest flaw with Ed’s assumption “that you don’t need a 2-way communication on twitter” is that the examples he uses are already big name brands, companies, or individuals.  I can say for a fact that one of the biggest factors that helped me get all of my followers, was interaction and communication.  I think there needs to be a separation between established and non-established names.  If you are running for president such as, oh…I don’t know, Barack Obama, then millions of people already know who you are and what you are trying to do, no kidding you’re going to have thousands of twitter followers.  But if your name is Jacob Morgan and you’re not running for president, how the heck do you think you are going to get 30,000 + twitter followers?  By spamming them and pushing out content to them?  Put down the crack pipe my friend.

The second flaw with Ed’s assumption is that the goal of twitter is to “build a large following on twitter,” seriously?  Do you actually think the goal that individuals and companies are going after is quantity of twitter followers? (I hope not).  Twitter is used as a communication platform between people, it’s not the quantity of the people you have following but the quality.  If you have 100,000 twitter followers and no 2 way interaction then what’s the point?  That’s like using SEO to get your page ranked number 1 on google while your conversion rate stays at 0, let’s wise up here shall we?

What do you think?  Do you need 2-way communication on twitter?

Thanks for reading

  • http://digitalextremist.com digitalextremist

    Well it has been nice knowing you Jacob, we don't need to communicate back and forth on twitter any more. Twitter should be retarded like the USSR without bilateral feedback loops. I think dude was sniffing glue.

    • http://www.thefutureorganization.com jacobmorgan

      haha he definitely has some flaws in his “logic”, not sure what he was thinking. guess everyone on twitter can just stop talking to each other hmm? oy

  • http://www.technologyevangelist.com edkohler

    Let's say some of the first people who follow you on Twitter just happen to be people who read your blog, love your blog, and are considering doing business with you. Then they start following you on Twitter under the assumption that they'll get nuggets of wisdom from you. But instead, they hear 5% social media & tech discussions with a 95% mix of movie, dining, and @replies.

    There are obviously people who like that mix, but they may not be the most valuable people you could have following you. This, of course, assumes that the only goal of your Twitter account is for business.

    If you avoid the non-biz talk yet still build an audience, it's really clear why they're there and what they're interested in hearing about.

    Basically, I think what we'll see is people splitting their Twittering between different accounts for work, hobbies and personal with little overlap between them.

    That, and content can be truly interesting without interaction. For example, TV, Movies, and Music all seem quite popular without 2-way interactions.

    • http://www.ariwriter.com ariherzog

      A secondary school teacher once gave me valuable advice on participation in class: For every student who raises his hand and asks a question, there are nine other students who wanted to ask that question.

      The analogy can be brought forward to Twitter or any other networking platform. For every person who says something, there are nine people who are interested in the content being said.

      Whether I have 20 followers or 20,000 followers is irrelevant. As long as people are interested in what I have to say, the value I contribute, and the engagement I return to them, who am I to care about metrics? Who are you to care?

      • http://www.technologyevangelist.com edkohler

        This isn't personal. I could care less how you use Twitter. If I find what you have to say valuable, I'll follow you. If I don't, I won't. But businesses interested in building large groups of loyal followers may find better results and much less churn if they keep on topic and post in moderation.

        • http://www.thefutureorganization.com jacobmorgan

          ed,

          remember that there are a lot of new twitter followers each day, they don't know who to follow so they look toward the big names, they see who everyone else is following and then join the band wagon, it's their way of testing the waters. if you recall robert scoble, loic lemeur, and a few other big name folks were commenting on how friend freed was giving them a much higher rate of followers they said that friend feed was better for interaction. what actually happened is that on the home page of friend feed these big names were actually the default for recommended followers, people were following them because friend feed told them too, not because people had any genuine interest in the people themselves.

          that being said the main point that you addressed is

          “If I find what you have to say valuable, I'll follow you”

          that is exactly correct ed. but again, i try to bring value by dm people and replying to them, by interacting with them and engaging with them, that is one way i try to bring value. everyone is different.

          the examples you used though were all big name brands and celebs, that does not apply to most people on twitter.

      • http://www.thefutureorganization.com jacobmorgan

        hi ari,

        i do agree with you, however ed does make a good point and that is

        “if I find what you have to say valuable, I'll follow you”

        i think a distinction needs to be made between the celebs/big brands, and the rest of twitter.

        to me this is like saying if you want to make it in hollywood you don't need to interact with any of the agents, just send them your head shots and your resume and you'll be fine. don;t bother about making actual connections and relationships.

        not true

    • http://www.thefutureorganization.com jacobmorgan

      hi ed,

      personally the most valuable followers are ones that engage with me, i could care less if it's guy kawasaki, robert scoble, or any other twitter follower that most people have never heard of, I value the discussion that comes out of the relationship.

      i think the only splitting we may see is between corp and personal twitter accounts and even this is a big “IF.” take for example the ceo of zappos, or gary vaynerchuk. they both twitter about personal and corporate.

      i dont think we will see such a big split as you predict. of course there is a difference between individuals and corporations. individuals are who they are and creating multiple individual twitter accounts just doesn't seem probable in my opinion, twitter groups? perhaps.

      i think it would be interesting to actually gather the data that twitter has and run some statistical tests. there are a lot of things that need to be accounted for such as spam, followers you follow someone and then just forget about them, bots, corporations vs individuals, etc.

      if people follow me because they “expect” something from me then that is fine, but i can tell you for a fact that without 2-way communication i would most likely not even be on twitter and i would certainly not have 500+ followers. people use twitter for different things and you need to take that into account as well before you recommend that you don't need 2 -way discussion on twitter to make it successful.

  • http://www.thesunrisestoday.com Tim Jahn

    I think 2 way communication on Twitter is a great way to separate the people who are out there to shove products and ads down others' throats from the people who are interested in engaging in conversation.

    • http://www.thefutureorganization.com jacobmorgan

      hi tim,

      i couldn't agree with you more. i do my best to interact and engage with people both on twitter, my blog, etc. i know that without my readers i am doing nothing more than keeping an online journal. i learn from my readers and I hope that my readers learn from me.

  • http://www.technologyevangelist.com edkohler

    This isn't personal. I could care less how you use Twitter. If I find what you have to say valuable, I'll follow you. If I don't, I won't. But businesses interested in building large groups of loyal followers may find better results and much less churn if they keep on topic and post in moderation.

  • http://www.thefutureorganization.com jacobmorgan

    hi ed,

    personally the most valuable followers are ones that engage with me, i could care less if it's guy kawasaki, robert scoble, or any other twitter follower that most people have never heard of, I value the discussion that comes out of the relationship.

    i think the only splitting we may see is between corp and personal twitter accounts and even this is a big “IF.” take for example the ceo of zappos, or gary vaynerchuk. they both twitter about personal and corporate.

    i dont think we will see such a big split as you predict. of course there is a difference between individuals and corporations. individuals are who they are and creating multiple individual twitter accounts just doesn't seem probable in my opinion, twitter groups? perhaps.

    i think it would be interesting to actually gather the data that twitter has and run some statistical tests. there are a lot of things that need to be accounted for such as spam, followers you follow someone and then just forget about them, bots, corporations vs individuals, etc.

    if people follow me because they “expect” something from me then that is fine, but i can tell you for a fact that without 2-way communication i would most likely not even be on twitter and i would certainly not have 500+ followers. people use twitter for different things and you need to take that into account as well before you recommend that you don't need 2 -way discussion on twitter to make it successful.

  • http://www.thefutureorganization.com jacobmorgan

    ed,

    remember that there are a lot of new twitter followers each day, they don't know who to follow so they look toward the big names, they see who everyone else is following and then join the band wagon, it's their way of testing the waters. if you recall robert scoble, loic lemeur, and a few other big name folks were commenting on how friend freed was giving them a much higher rate of followers they said that friend feed was better for interaction. what actually happened is that on the home page of friend feed these big names were actually the default for recommended followers, people were following them because friend feed told them too, not because people had any genuine interest in the people themselves.

    that being said the main point that you addressed is

    “If I find what you have to say valuable, I'll follow you”

    that is exactly correct ed. but again, i try to bring value by dm people and replying to them, by interacting with them and engaging with them, that is one way i try to bring value. everyone is different.

    the examples you used though were all big name brands and celebs, that does not apply to most people on twitter.

  • http://www.thefutureorganization.com jacobmorgan

    hi ari,

    i do agree with you, however ed does make a good point and that is

    “if I find what you have to say valuable, I'll follow you”

    i think a distinction needs to be made between the celebs/big brands, and the rest of twitter.

    to me this is like saying if you want to make it in hollywood you don't need to interact with any of the agents, just send them your head shots and your resume and you'll be fine. don;t bother about making actual connections and relationships.

    not true

  • http://www.thesunrisestoday.com Tim Jahn

    I think 2 way communication on Twitter is a great way to separate the people who are out there to shove products and ads down others' throats from the people who are interested in engaging in conversation.

  • http://www.thefutureorganization.com jacobmorgan

    hi tim,

    i couldn't agree with you more. i do my best to interact and engage with people both on twitter, my blog, etc. i know that without my readers i am doing nothing more than keeping an online journal. i learn from my readers and I hope that my readers learn from me.

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