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My Experience with Twitter So Far

It's not a conversation—it's a cacophony.

Tony Silber By Tony Silber
03/27/2009 -10:08 AM

In December I signed up for Twitter. I'd been meaning to do it for a while, but hadn't, because a) I'm not really an early adopter and b) I wasn't sure where another social network fit into my schedule, which already has Facebook, Flickr and mediaPRO.

But I believe in Rex Hammock's philosophy of experimenting in new forms of media, so it had been on my list of things I needed to do. And I get all the potential value, from both the marketing and journalistic perspectives, among others.

The catalyst was a lunch I had with Michael Biggerstaff and Marcus Grimm at Nxtbook Media. They were really into Twitter at the time, and said it was a quicker form of communication than blogging, and that you're more likely to update because the "tweets" have to be quick hits.

So I signed up and built a network.

Some of the people I follow are really good. Dan McCarthy (@danielmccarthy), Jeff Klein (@jeffreysklein), Kurt Andersen (@kbandersen), who does a great job of adding personal but business-relevant touches), Rachel Sklar (@rachelsklar), and Rex (@r) himself come to mind.  So do Ted Bahr (@tedbahr), Eric Gervase (@egervase) and Red 7's own Loree Stark (@loreestark). Harry McCracken (@harrymccracken), Scott Karp (@scottkarp) and Dylan Stableford (@stableford) are good. Gawker (@gawker) does a great job.

FOLIO: ( and Audience Development ( both signed up recently.

Someone asked me last week why I Twitter, and why FOLIO: and Audience Development Twitter, and I said I thought the value was thought leadership, not traffic. If you build a network of influential people, and put out brief and thoughtful tweets (not always linking to something), there's real value.

I have just under 100 followers and I follow about the same amount of people.

And here's the way I feel about Twitter right now:

  • The noise level is out of control. It's not a conversation, it's a cacophony. It's like a cocktail party from hell, where everyone is shouting at the same time, and someone also jacked up Led Zeppelin in the other room.
  • If social media is a conversation, it's barely there on Twitter. People overwhelmingly tweet at each other. Apparently, conversation is rarely needed or desired. Twitter is, ironically, a one-way communication vehicle in a medium that is supposed to be social.
  • People who put up five, six, 10 tweets in a few minutes, all with links to the event they're at, or worse, to their promotional stuff, are annoying. I probably couldn't say what exactly Twitter is supposed to do, but I can tell you, from my perspective, that's not it.
  • Twitter does a spotty job technically. Every few days, a bunch of people report they lost all the tweets they posted that day.
  • Twitter does a poor job controlling spamming and bogus accounts. If you're active at all, you get hit with "follow" requests that are spurious, completely unrelated, sketchy, and you have to check out the profile to tell what the hell they are.

All these complaints aside, I check Twitter several times a day and tweet every day, and as I mentioned, some of the people in my network really get it and bring insight, perspective and inspiration.

Tony Silber By Tony Silber --

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