Twitter Bootcamp Lesson 1: Why Twitter?

If I have to explain the importance of Twitter one more time I’m going to vomit.  Just kidding. I love it. I love it so much I thought I’d share the first in a five-part series this week. Designed to help you understand it, sign up correctly and do it right – come back each day, subscribe via RSS or get posts via email (see right).  Already tweeting? Convert your friends or add something to the conversation…smartypants.

Understanding the concept

Before you dive in and sign up, it’s important to frame your understanding of Twitter.  My favorite analogy is a global cocktail party.  Imagine a giant room full of all sorts of people, from all sorts of places, conversing about all sorts of topics…without the house wine or mini quiches.  The room’s at a constant buzz. People are bouncing from table to table, some are laughing, some are in

Twitter is a global cocktail party
Some people sit in the corner eating all the food and ruining pictures.

serious conversation, some are teaching things, some are looking for business, some are bragging about themselves and some are quietly taking it all in. Oh, and it’s happening 24/7.  The only difference is that it’s online.  Twitter is bazillions of short messages being fired off from all around the planet at all hours of the day.

Just like a normal cocktail party – the truth is you probably don’t give two naked squirrels about most of what’s being said.  The trick to finding value in Twitter is cutting through the bazillions of messages and finding the few that you actually care about. The beautiful thing is that there are super-easy tools that help you do that – I’ll get there soon, bear with me.

A megaphone back-flip

Why is Twitter important? Besides being able to share/hear/learn from people in a crazy-awesome quiche-free environment, it changes the global communication dynamic.  What do I mean?  In traditional marketing 30 years ago, a company put up a billboard or created a commercial to craft the message it wants people to hear and think about a product (think Mad Men).  It was large, mega-phonal, one-way communication.  If United airlines lost your luggage, you’d complain to your friends and family and just maybe a couple of them wouldn’t book United the next time they flew.  The reality? United did not care.  (que tear and sniffle) They didn’t have to. They had millions of other customers and loosing one or two to your vengeful word of mouth rampage didn’t matter to them…at all. They’d produce a commercial or put up a billboard and quickly replace you with new customers spending new dollars.

With Twitter (as with Facebook, YouTube, social media, etc.) the dynamic has changed.  Individuals can see/measure the power of their network and amplify their message.  Most importantly, they can have as much or MORE influence and power than a company or brand using traditional marketing. See the infamous “United breaks guitars” video and case study.

What Twitter is not

Twitter is not a bad word. It’s not a waste of time. It’s not only for young-ens. It’s not the cool kids’ table. It’s not only for athletes, Ashton Kutcher or Ryan Secrest. It’s not to confusing or to much trouble. It doesn’t take away from your priorities and it’s not hard. At the same time, just like sushi or rollerblading, Twitter’s not for everyone.  At the end of this series, if it’s not for you – that’s ok. I just ask that you give it your best. I think you’ll like it.

Ready for Twitter 102-105? Come back each day, subscribe via RSS or get posts via email (see right).  Tweetcha later.

10 thoughts on “Twitter Bootcamp Lesson 1: Why Twitter?

  1. Nate, you’ve started a good series here. Congratulations!

    Blackbaud recently released a report showing that using Social Media can help nonprofit organizations raise more money. Inspired by that, a few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post called “9 Things a Nonprofit Organization Should Never Do With Twitter” ( that includes a link to the Blackbaud report and links to four other great articles about getting started with Social Media all in addition to listing the nine things not to do.

    If used correctly, Twitter can certainly help a nonprofit cause. Thank you for helping guide folks on this.

  2. Michael – thanks for your comment and addition – really appreciate it! Congrats to you on a great Twitter presence and fantastic blog that I and others should read regularly!

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