To Tweet or Not To TweetNovember 21, 2008
A few months back, some friends and I were having an email conversation. As messages flew through cyberspace, someone asked “Why aren’t we using Twitter for this? After all, that’s what it’s for…”
I fully admit that I’ve been more than a little reluctant to join the throngs of mini-bloggers. I just couldn’t see the point. Does anyone really care what I’m doing right now? And, isn’t this just one more thing to track?
“What, you’re not on Twitter?”
“What’s wrong with you? Don’t you know all the cool kids tweet?”
Well, I’ve never been one of the cool kids and I’ve always been slightly lazy. My email and IM accounts deliver messages just fine, thank you very much.
With the vehemence of their response, you would have thought that I kicked a dog. My friends were sure I was holding up my torch, ready to set fire to their virtual community. It’s as if I said, “I rebuke you Twitter in the name of the 19th century. I will not forsake my quill nor abandon my manual typewriter.”
Of course, their reactions made me dig my heels in further – or at least appear to. I don’t really have anything against Twitter or those who tweet. It was just fun to rile them up. Can’t you just talk with me? Have you entirely lost your ability to interact with people in the real world? How sad that you’ve become a virtual slave!
“Isn’t it your JOB to know what’s going on? To talk with people?”
“You can talk with an entire community of influential people at once. And, they’ll pass the word on to their friends, who will pass the word on to their friends. Isn’t this the definition of grassroots marketing?”
With that, I stuck my toe into the Twitter waters.
As the Hawai‘i publicist for Cirque du Soleil, I was handed a challenge – how to get people talking about my show when the only thing on people’s mind at the time was the now historic presidential campaign.
Nathan, as always carrying the banner for social networking, said, “put it on Twitter.”
He cheerfully spread the word through his Twitterverse (I kid you not, there is an entire lexicon of Twitterese) that Cirque du Soleil’s Hawai‘i show was not to be missed. He even proposed (and got) a Twitter specific discount. While I was grateful for the help, I still watched from the shore as this virtual community began rallying around my show.
The final push came as Melissa and I had lunch – she sat there tweeting away. “So and so says you should do this… so and so says you should do that.” How could anyone withstand such an assault? I caved and opened my Twtitter account.
I must say I was pleasantly surprised. When Melissa introduced me to her Tweeps, many sent kind messages of welcome. It’s somehow reassuring to know that the niceties continue – even in cyberspace.
I still question if anyone really cares what I’m doing right now and if this is just another tool to which I’ll become addicted. But, it has been fun and informative – and it definitely did help my show.
I don’t think I’ll ever be as social as Melissa and Nathan. However, maybe with a little coaxing I’ll put down my quill. Just don’t ask me to give up my typewriter.