I must confess, I started off as a Twitter Skeptic. More accurately, I was probably a Twitter Denier — someone who actively discounted any potential business value associated with Twitter. I was wrong. It took me a while but I have grown to appreciate how Twitter can be effectively used to engage followers, build your reputation as a subject matter expert, and ultimately lead to an increase in key business metrics such as website visits and leads.
My skepticism of Twitter was initially driven by some of the types of initial “use cases” that gained publicity. Many of Twitter’s early adopters were Hollywood types who Tweeted about their random thoughts to a thirsty throng of information starved fans who had a more immediate way to consume gossip on the trivialities of the rich and famous. Nothing, I thought, could be farther from adding business value than mindless gossip.
While I understood that fans might want to “follow” celebrities or sports teams, I could not foresee why consumers would “follow” Tide or Gatorade or a Tractor supplier company. Wrong. While there are different reasons for following celebrities than a business, there is a common underlying interest in learning about something or somebody. People are innately curious and want their curiosity satisfied.
Adding to my skepticism, I questioned how anything meaningful about a business or it’s message could be successfully conveyed given the constraint of just 140 characters. Wrong again. In fact, I had it completely backwards. The 180 character limit that I saw as something that would hold Twitter back from success turned out to be the the biggest reason for its success. People liked the brevity and the ability to quickly scan information without being overloaded.
Evolving in my understanding of Twitter has caused me to consider a “Twitter Adoption Curve”.
- Newbies – “What is the Twitter thing all about?”
- These folks have just discovered Twitter, but don’t understand what all the buzz is about.
- Skeptics – “That’s seems like a waste of time?”
- Although aware of the growing interest in Twitter, they are busy spending time on proven activities and don’t understand how Twitter adds value to their business. Big time skeptics may become “Twitter Deniers” who actively discount any potential value of the new activity before fully understanding it.
- Reluctants – “I don’t get it, but I’ll give it a try!”
- Although skeptical, this group doesn’t want to fall behind in the event the trend turns out to have value. They feel the need to put a “toe in the water” so they can evaluate the possibilities based on first hand experience.
- Engagers - “Hey, this is taking off and I better get on board.”
- They feel the strong energy behind the emerging trend and jump in with both feet so they can be on the leading edge.
- Addicts – “Help…I can’t Stop!”
- Eager to jump in, this archetype can’t get too much of a good thing. They push the envelope in time, energy, and activity until it becomes all consuming. These people either find creative new ways to add value or ways to waste their time.
- Achievers – “I’ve finally found the right balance.”
- After participating for a while, achievers learn the best, most effective way to participate in the activity. They may gradually work their way up to solid productivity after being an “engager” or they may increase their efficiency and work their way down from being an “overachiever”. Either way, they have learned their way to a balanced level of participation and productivity.
I have migrated through the Newbie and Skeptic phases into the Reluctant zone. I’m now pretty quickly moving into the Engager area and may soon find myself saying “Help, I can’t stop.” The good news there is I am aware of the problem and should (hopefully) be able to help myself achieve some state of equilibrium and productive efficiency as a “Twitter Achiever”.
Where are you on the curve and why?
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