Monday, May 18, 2009

Why Twitter?

It's no longer about the voices of the few -
but about the eyes, ears, and minds of the many.

So many people are coming to this new form of media because others tell them to. But how many really understand what it is - in it's simplest form? I wanted to take a day out to share a unique perspective on my opinion of what Twitter is and what it isn't. I'm not writing this article to help you understand why every one else is using it - but why it might be something fun for YOU to use.

I hope to share Twitter with you in a way that helps you see it differently and in such a way that you can understand what it can mean for your business as well as for you personally.

Twitter, a social media application that has been around for years, has gone mainstream in the past couple months. Tens of thousands are joining daily - and they are all trying to do the same thing. . . Build A Following, by sharing answers to the simple question, "What are you doing?"

So why do you want a following? And why does anyone care what I am doing right now?

Essentially, Twitter, the application, is nothing more than a bullhorn with a magical feature - people can choose to listen to you . . . or not. The power isn't in the broadcaster's hand, it's in the receiver's ability to choose to listen to you . . . or not. It is a media format that provides both one-to-many (broadcast like the radio) communication and one-to-one (direct like a telephone). And it blends both of these formats in such as way as to generates a form of communication that is short, sweet, and easy to to do for EVERYONE.

So let me ask you a question, "What if what you were thinking of or what you had to say to someone else, could change the life of someone you don't even know, in a profound way?"

Would you share those ideas with someone you don't even know? And how would you even know to share it with them, if you don't know them personally?

In the old information model, you wouldn't be able to. You might share your ideas and thoughts with your friends and family, but it most likely wouldn't get much further than that - unless of course you were a published writer or a public speaker of some form.

Unfortunately, (and I see this as a coach regularly) this has left many people feeling like they all alone in the world - unique in the way they think and their struggles, because none of their friends and / or family are / were quite like them. They would share their ideas, but no one understood their situation or how they were feeling.

So the question arises, "How do you share what you are thinking and feeling in such a way that others (that you don't even know) can find and read your thoughts without even knowing you?"

Essentially, the answer to this question was the birth of the blog (or weblog) - a way to share your ideas in a open format that not only exposed publicly what you are / were thinking, but did so in a way that invited others to follow.

Unfortunately, in spite of its non-pretentious foundation, the "blog" world has become filled with professionals. And most lay-persons feel completely overwhelmed jumping into the medium. They feel that inspite of their best efforts, there isn't any chance for them to compete in the forum of ideas.

Thus the demand for a simpler communication medium that not only allowed voice to the masses, but did so in a format that encouraged so many to feel comfortable speaking out - without feeling overwhelmed by the eloquence of the professionals.


140 characters that YOU publish - for the rest of the world to find, read, echo and comment on.

No college degrees are needed nor even recognized. You don't have to know HTML code or any other fancy language. You don't have to be a marketing specialist to get your words exposure. And you don't need a single penny to play.

All you have to do is share your ideas and join in the discussion.

Now there is "voice" for the many wishing to say something about anything - for the small, soft spoken voice to to be heard as loud and as powerfully as the loud, boisterous rants of those who have dominated the public podium for so long.

If you want to share what you are thinking - GO FOR IT. It really is that simple. It may be read. It may not. But as long as your VOICE is trapped in your head, there is no chance of it ever being heard by anyone else.

If you have something to say - Say it!!!

Will it be heard? Maybe. Maybe not. That's not the point. the fact that it CAN be heard is.

If you are hoping to ensure that it is read by even one person - you are in the wrong place - you are better off buying advertising time on the radio or a big billboard on the Interstate. With Twitter, there are no guarantees that you will be heard by any ONE person, but there is a guarantee that you could be heard by EVERYONE.



  1. JJ, this is one of the BEST explanations I have seen to date about what Twitter is and why it is a place you should be. Great insight - As always!
    So many people get intimidated by the medium, you have found a way to describe it that makes sense and reaches us on a level that gives us that comforting, "wraps its arms around us and welcomes us" feeling.

  2. Finally I can just point someone to this post instead of trying to explain it myself. Fantastic overview and explanation.