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  • I Understand that You Don't Get Twitter and I Can Help You!

    Google Suggest: I don't understand Twitter

    Welcome back to our weekly Twitter column. While perusing an article about the state of Twitter by celebated social media pundit Brian Solis of PR 2.0 I was intrigued by a screen shot from Google Suggest where the second most popular collocation of “I don’t get …” is Twitter. I checked that and it’s true. Google suggests that as the 2nd most popular query combined with “I don’t get”. To make sure this is no coincidence I checked also for “I don’t understand” and not surprisingly “I don’t understand Twitter” appeared at #2 as well.

    So it really seems that a lot of people do not understand Twitter. I can’t blame these people. It took me quite a while to get Twitter myself even at a time when the site was officially about telling the world “what are you doing”. These days Twitter is even more fuzzy. Also the people who are trying it now aren’t the super Web savvy early adopters. It’s people who don’t spend 90% of their lives staring at the screen. That’s fine. I appreciate a life style less polluted by digital media. It’s too late for me already though. I work here. I use Twitter for two and a half years by now and I think I finally get it. So in case you don’t get Twitter I can help you.

    Twitter party people

    Twitter is like a huge party.*

    Everybody is invited. Not just a few dozens of people, not even hundreds or thousands. Millions of people are at the party at the same time. What do you do at parties? You indulge in small talk. That’s exactly what Twitter is about. Twitter is a virtual party full of people eager to engage small talk.

    The popular people, the celebrities are surounded by myriads of fans. The less popular ones but nonetheless important people are surrounded by other important people. Then there are people who are like me and you. They chat a little here, a little there. They aren’t popular just by having a famous name. They earn their popularity by how they approach others and by what they say.

    So in short when you appear at the party and say hello you already have done the first step to join in the fun. Some people aren’t bold enough to speak up from the start. They prefer to just show up and listen first. That’s OK as well. Ignore the self important douche bags and just listen to the people who speak about the topics you care for. Search for the people who share your interests. Then show them what you like. They might like it as well.

    You are a business person and you don’t get Twitter because time is money and you don’t want to waste neither one? You hate parties because you’d prefer to work instead? Small talk is not for you at all? Twitter is like a party in a hotel lobby. There are a lot of newspapers lying around. People talk about the news all time and point to the newspapers from time to time. They suggest stories you should read. I case you follow the right people, those who share your interests, you’ll discover the best stories around. People on Twitter try to find the best news items all the time and to share them.

    You can also invite the people you address to your own shop, restaurant or office. You just tell them that you got a great story or resource for them. You might end up as business partners. Like at real parties you also might find a new job. Last but not least like minded individuals you met at the Twitter party might like you so much that they will praise you elswhere on the Web.

    Do you understand Twitter now? I hope so. Now you have to decide whether you want to join the party or you prefer th stay at home and just watch TV. In case you want to understand Twitter even better come back next week. I try to help business people get Twitter at least once a week.

    * Image by Tom Purves.

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    ABOUT THE AUTHOR
    I help people with blogs, social media & search. I help you succeed on the Web. I've been online publishing for 15 years. I started back in 1997.

    11 Responses to “I Understand that You Don't Get Twitter and I Can Help You!”

    1. jaamit says:

      Great analogy Tad, it really explains what twitter is about very simply. As well as there being a lot of newspapers about where people are suggesting stories, there are also an increasing number of journalists (not to mention bloggers) hanging around looking for stories to write about. If you have something worth talking about but you’re not at the party, you could be missing out on getting covered.

      Anyways I liked it so much I submitted it to Spinn: http://sphinn.com/story/148228/ :)

    2. supaswag says:

      Just an idea: Everybody who doesn’t ‘get’ Twitter maybe shouldn’t bother & read a book instead or go for a walk. There ar a lot of people who don’t get I appreciate your quest to educate & help Tad, but there are probably by now a Million posts out there explaining every bloody detail of Twitter for every bloody scenario. Maybe the next time a more provocative title that could spark an interesting discussion: ‘I don’t understand that you don’t get Twitter and I can’t be bothered to help you.’

      ..or is this post just here to rank for ‘I don’t understand Twitter’? (#7 already!) ; ) Maybe that’s a noble quest in itself: To replace the post that ranks #1 – another one who ‘doesn’t get’ Twitter >> http://saulk.co.za/2008/03/18/twitter-i-dont-get-it/

      Ok, Monday morning rant over.

      ps: OMG! It’s a LAPTOP DJ!!! Urgh..

    3. Thanks Ted, fantastic analogy there.

      I don’t think Twitter’s all small talk though. There are corners of that party where decisions are made and deals get done.

    4. Great job! You’ve explained twitter in the simplest terms possible. It is also a very great, fun and accurate comparison.

    5. Tad Chef says:

      Hey jaamit, thank you for the submission. I didn’t think about the coverage you can get via Twitter but of of course, a lot of bloggers and journalists hang out on Twitter to get the latest inside scoop.

      supaswag: You may be right, but I think I get older and more conservative. Provoking people all the time gets boring as well. On the other hand I could have written something along the lines “If you don’t get Twitter, just use Facbook or LinkedIn instead.” It’s just that I’m on Twitter myself mostly and I don’t get Facebook and LinkedIn!

      Andy: It’s like on every party where people who have jobs and businesses meet. Isn’t it?

      Andrew: Thank you for the feedback. It could’ve been a still a little simpler: OMG Twitter’s F*’&%$g Cool!

    6. Thanks Tad for simplifying and expressing it in a nice way. I have never red article about Twitter like this before.

    7. jane says:

      Tad has given a very simple and expressive way of explaining Twitter and end of day if someone whats to really do something he/she can do it if they put their mind to it so Twitter is not something so complicated.

    8. rob says:

      Haha! That’s funny. Could be a shot from Google Buzz. More likely that it is because Twitter is actually confusing to a new user. I remember searching the same thing when I first started.

    9. Fantastic blog. Keep on rockin, Radu Prisacaru – UK Internet Marketer & Web Developer

    10. abugooo says:

      great post~~Actually I’v been using twitter for quite a while, but never think about it as a party~~~But it’s sooo true~~I finally figure out why I like twitter so much ~~hahaha

    11. Nik Weintein says:

      I stopped reading the article after you used the word “peruse” in the first sentence. You may have meant it correctly, or you may be on the bandwagon attempting to refit the word to mean what you want it to mean.

      Try consulting a dictionary when you encounter an obscure word. Learning words based on the context in which your fellow man uses them is a completely unreliable source of knowledge. This is why people created books with more than 140 characters.

      Your lack of seriousness in your writing signals to me as well your inability to offer analysis, but just another page regurgitating information that is available elsewhere.

      At least that’s all I can guess your article is based on the poorly researched wording of the second sentence.

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