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Twitter: A Hate/Love Story


I’m sure most people are familiar with the phrase, “Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.” Well, when it came to Twitter, I knocked it. I knocked it hard:

“What’s up with the flying whale? That’s stupid.”

“Are you kidding? I can only use 140 characters? How am I supposed to write anything insightful in 140 characters or less?”

“Why should I care that your cousin Nikki just painted her toenails in ‘Melon of Troy?’ Seriously.”

It all seemed so asinine to me. So, when I came across this video a few weeks ago, I knew it was a perfect blog topic. Not only because I never pass up a chance to poke fun at celebrities, but mainly because it described my initial feelings about Twitter in such a hilarious way.

When Twitter’s popularity really started to take off, I was “Darren” and everyone around me was becoming “Craig.” I just couldn’t get a grasp on what could possibly be the attraction.

I’ve never been one to jump right into the latest trends. I like to do a little research first, get the facts and then dip my toes in slowly to test the waters. Although I admit, I didn’t do this with Twitter.

It wasn’t until months later, when I researched how Twitter could be beneficial for our clients, that I really understood what a great business tool Twitter could be.

With 54 million visitors a month, Twitter has grown faster in 3.5 years than most companies could ever dream to. As a business, can you really afford to ignore that size of an audience?

A recent article from the Baton Rouge Business Report states, “There are 15 petabytes of information created each day. (A petabyte is 1,024 terabytes, and a terabyte is 1,000 billion bytes.) Fifteen petabytes is equal to five times all the information found in all U.S. libraries combined.”

With so much information available and so many different ways to distribute it, it’s becoming more important for businesses to analyze what mediums they are using to communicate their message to ensure the most effective ones are being utilized. More and more consumers of this information are using Twitter to receive it. Instead of watching the news, picking up a newspaper and visiting several different websites, Twitter users are able to “follow” the information of their choice and receive it in one convenient place.

I recently met up with some friends of mine who own a DJ and lighting business in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. We got to talking about Twitter and my friend Jamie said, “I just don’t get Twitter. I don’t really see how it could help my businesses.” A year ago, I would have absolutely agreed with him. But immediately, I came up with several ways that Twitter could be beneficial to him:

• Show pictures of recent events and lighting arrangements
• Answer questions from potential or current clients
• Show testimonials
• Bring people to their websites
• Keep in contact with previous clients to garner repeat business or referrals
• Coordinate with other vendors about an upcoming event
• Tweet available dates in slow months with discount incentives
• Repeat

I personally don’t think that Twitter is a perfect business tool for every single type of business out there – it will work better for some than it will for others. But it’s certainly worth a shot. Bottom line: If you’re one of the few remaining people out there who criticize Twitter because you don’t quite understand it, don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.