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Friday, May 16, 2008

Don't be Dissin' The Twitter

Tim Bourquin, the Founder and CEO of TNC New Media the company behind the New Media Expo has said some things on his blog and in his news letter about Twitter that I take issue with. Rather than post my comments on his blog I will share them with you here. (cause I needed a good post today)

Let me start off by saying that I like and respect Tim Bourquin and his brother Emile Bourquin. They put on the best show for new media content creators and I will be speaking there in Las Vegas August 14-16.

The title of Tim's post is "Social Networking. Not Social. Not Networking."

and part of the post:

"I’ve always thought of “social networking” as a bit of a misnomer. Sitting in front of a computer screen writing 140 character messages on Twitter or commenting on a blog or tagging photos on Facebook doesn’t feel like networking to me - and honestly, it doesn’t feel very social either. Having a beer with friends and colleagues = social. Talking shop with someone I just met at a reception = networking.
Now granted, I’m a conference organizer, so “old-fashioned” meetups with people is how I believe “real” social networking takes place. So I had to laugh today when I read a blog post that had the following line:
“Twitter has been down for about an hour - how are you spending the time?”
As if Twitter was the only way to spend time and finding other things to do was a challenge! Has it really gotten that bad for some people?
If every website and email server worldwide went down for several hours during a weekday, I might actually be wondering myself how to spend that time. Picking up the phone and making a few calls would probably be the answer. But a single site?"


I think Tim needs to get with the program. Like a phone, Twitter is a tool. A new tool that people are just learning to use. A tool that informs, entertains and a tool that creates community and even conflict.

To me Tim sounds like an old sales guy who says he doesn't need to use a computer. I think Tim has just not found how to make Twitter work for him yet. But I know he will.

I'm sure Tim has seen people come to his events. They stand in the corner and never approach anyone. They don't know how to network at an event. Then they shoot Tim an email after the event is over and tell Tim they didn't meet anyone at his conference.

I've not yet made a sponsorship sale for French Maid TV by using Twitter but I am very close to closing a sponsorship deal in which I know my Tweets (I like to call them "Twitters" but that's not cool) got the ball rolling.

Now I must give Tim Bourquin some credit, he is not the only one out there complaining about or having trouble getting their heads around Twitter. Andrew Baron (@andrewbaron) of Rocketboom has said, "I'm still not happy with how I use my Twitter account. 'Still trying to find a good use for it." and Search Guru John Battelle (@John Battelle) who is still lurking and learning how best to use Twitter said that he's not yet following lots of people on twitter because he thinks that the publishers that he represents would, "think it's most imp. for me to take that next client call.."

Twitter is a new tool but it's also the water cooler of our group's "now" and just like a water cooler in an office building there are some folks who are goofing off hanging around the water cooler but there are other folks who are learning important information on how to do their job better.

Take for example Pete Cashmore (@mashable) CEO of Mashable.com He has made good use of Twitter and keeps us all informed of breaking news items he's posted on his blog. Steve Garfield ( @stevegarfield ) of Steve Garfield.com let's us know when he's found a new gadget or is streaming live from some place that we want to see. And Scott Beale ( @laughingsquid ) of laughingsquid.com shares his photos from the coolest hippest events around.

I'm use to working in an office full of people and because of that I never used IM except in rare cases but now that I've downsized and work alone until I'm in production I use Twitter as a gateway to other humans as well as a clearing house to find out what the latest cool Internet posting are and what events are going on that might be of interest to me. I've also started meeting new people who are approaching me about consulting for them. All this reminds me of when I was a young freelance line producer at Disney MGM Studios in Florida.

When I would get done with a gig or was close to finishing a shoot I would hang out in the client lounge at The Post Group at the Disney MGM Studios. I knew that the client lounge was where producers who could hire me would be hanging out while their project was going through the final editing process and that soon they would be starting a new job in which they might need a line producer. It was the water cooler of Disney MGM and I got many a job hanging out there and drinking free Coke. Every once in awhile I would get a free lunch too. Other freelancers came for the free cokes and chat but I saw that client lounge as a networking tool.

Twitter is the water cooler of our community and of other communities that I don't belong to. I've already got a few free drinks because of Twitter, gone to some great parties because of Twitter and networked with great people because of Twitter.

So Don't Be Dissin' The Twitter!


6 comments:

Todd said...

"Don't be Dissin' The Twitter" Amen brother. So much hate for Twitter, WTF?!?!

I may start a new site that just locates, parses and posts to Twitter all the anti-Twitter blog posts and old media articles. They would include a track back URL so the hater can face the wrath of everyone who loves Twitter ( All 4 million of us )

1 Tim Street said...

LOL That is pretty funny. I think it's just a new tool and if you don't know how to use the tool or you don't see how the tool can work for you it's easy to complain and say, "I don't get it. It sucks."

Mark Scrimshire said...

Whoops - I think I diss'ed the Twitter when it went offline yesterday.

http://twitter.com/ekivemark/statuses/812474731

and

http://ekive.blogspot.com/2008/05/oh-dear-did-i-dis-twitter.html

How do I earn forgiveness???

Steve Garfield said...

Nice post.

At first I did not get twitter either.

But it has lots of functionality.

At this point, I think I have more people reading my twitter stream than my blog, AND I get a lot more comments and replies on twitter than on blogger.

I've moved all my link blogging over to twitter, along with the links to live streams and photos.

Regarding your post.

It'd be cool if you linked directly to Tim's Blog post and twitter pages:

Mashable
stevegarfield
laughingsquid

Thanks!
--Steve

Jason Van Orden said...

Tim,

Twitter is such a strange beast. I know I only really understood and discovered the best uses for it *after* I had used it for awhile.

Here are the stances that I advocate concerning Twitter.

1. Twitter just doesn't fit my goals.

2. I use Twitter for these X specific reasons.

I agree that taking the stance of "twitter is pointless and sucks" is unfortunate. On the other hand, it would be unfortunate to force yourself to use it and have it just waste your time.

Personally I can list at least 10 specific reasons that I use Twitter if not over 20.

Daisy Whitney said...

Twitter isn't a replacement for lunch, coffee, a drink. It's additive. It lets us stay loosely connected to our contacts without having to originate an email. It lets us know what the people we care about are up to. And it is social because the next time we see or talk to them, we often can refer back to things they wrote on Twitter and that guides the conversation