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A week on twitter

And why I'm gone for good

     
8:33 am on Jul 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Twitter has been talked about a lot here recently, so I thought I'd try it out. To be honest I had little confidence in the value of something so limited; however I created the account, participated, found people I know and people I know of to follow.

I put in a few hours most days for more than a week, and built up around 360 followers. So far so good. I put out around 200 messages.

Today I looked back over the experiment to evaluate the results. They are as follows:

  • New business gained: none ($0)
  • Useful or interesting information found: none
  • New contacts made: none
  • General tweets published: 150+
  • General tweets read: only one was ever replied to
  • Time spent: 16 hours + (what's that in billable hours?)
  • Personal interaction: six isolated replies to @replys against 3x that number sent
  • Noise to signal ratio (just today): 80% commercial spam, 15% inane irrelevant messages, 5% signal but mostly old news

    The most worrying facts were 16 hours spent for $0 income and $0 worth of information. That is far below any form of communication I know. Usually there is a trade off between information value and business value, e.g. WebmasterWorld is high on information value per hour, other places are high leads per hour.

    My conclusion is that twitter is a total irrelevance for business use.

  • 1:39 pm on July 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

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    WebmasterWorld Senior Member ogletree is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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    I find it interesting that out of the 30 posts on here only 6 have their twitter ID in their WebmasterWorld profile. One person has theirs protected.
    1:50 pm on July 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

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    I guess it all depends on the type of business you run and promote. If you have just a boring e-commerce shop selling some widgets and do not run any blog, knowledge base, customer guide which are updated on regular basis it will seem to be a waste of time.
    However, I am able to imagine bloggers and content-oriented sites doing pretty well on Twitter in terms of traffic.
    Logging on Twitter is nothing. You need to shout something. 140 characters virtually force you to send links to some useful/interesting/funny stuff on your site, blog, forum and if you do not have it, it'll probably be a waste of time.
    2:01 pm on July 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

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    The most worrying facts were 16 hours spent for $0 income and $0 worth of information.

    16 hours? Vince, Vince, Vince (shakes head). That in itself makes the review biased.

    WebmasterWorld is high on information value per hour, other places are high leads per hour.

    And did you make money in the first 16 hours after joining WebmasterWorld?

    Noise to signal ratio (just today): 80% commercial spam, 15% inane irrelevant messages, 5% signal but mostly old news.

    Ah, you're Following the wrong people. It takes a while to fine tune the list of those you Follow. You have some control over the signal to noise ratio, quite a bit if you know how to work the system.

    My conclusion is that twitter is a total irrelevance for business use.

    Many have come to that same conclusion. And then you have the flip side of the coin where many find it 100% relevant for business use.

    Tell me, what exactly were you expecting in one week or 16 hours? You've missed the BIG picture. Vince, Vince, Vince (shakes head). Did you delete your Twitter account?

    2:35 pm on July 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

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    WebmasterWorld Senior Member whoisgregg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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    Personal interaction: six isolated replies to @replys against 3x that number sent

    I think I was a couple of those. Truth is, I was talking to you as soon as you joined simply because I recognized you from WebmasterWorld. If I hadn't recognized the username, I would have spent a few weeks listening to what you were posting before I decided whether or not to start talking to you.

    Also, I think you changed your username at least once during that week... If I didn't know you from WebmasterWorld, that would have been a big red flag to me.

    I had little confidence in the value of something so limited

    There may be some confirmation bias at play here?

    I manage about a dozen twitter accounts for different sites and the ones I "know won't work on twitter" I don't spend as much time on and have never amounted to much.The ones I "know are perfect for twitter" I check a few times each day, and I can point to specific sales that were influenced by Twitter.

    Was it Twitter who determined which accounts were successful? Or was it my attitude about how successful each could be?

    2:40 pm on July 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

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    WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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    I'm not going to spend any more time evangelizing Twitter; if people can't or won't see the use to which it can be put, or the opportunities that exist, that's their lookout. Means more opportunities for me. And by opportunities, I don't just mean REVENUE, I mean the ability to support my clients, find vendors, find personnel, solve problems, track down bugs - opps, there I go, evangelizing. You want to know more, you're gonna have to find me on Twitter. I'm under 'netmeg'

    P.S. If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

    2:55 pm on July 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

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    WebmasterWorld Senior Member piatkow is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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    I have yet to look at Twitter but from what I have seen of RSS usage on my site the take up by individuals is very much restricted to IT professionals and enthusiasts. If Twitter actually reaches "Joe Public" then it has to be the way to go.
    3:18 pm on July 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

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    I find it interesting that out of the 30 posts on here only 6 have their twitter ID in their WebmasterWorld profile. One person has theirs protected.

    I don't have my twitter profile listed because I didn't know I could. WebmasterWorld has always been so strict about links and search terms that I didn't think WebmasterWorld would allow it.

    I still won't link my twitter account because it's more of a personal than a webmastering/SEO account. I suppose I could create a sock puppet account for SEO/webmastering purposed but to be honest SEO bores me lately. I'd rather spend the time writing content for my sites that making 1000's of tweets.

    3:54 pm on July 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

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    Twitter seems a waste of time to me.
    I joined in and posted a boring comment. Within a week I had a few people that wanted to follow me - why boring old me I thought. then when I checked them out I could see that they were trying to spam me with their website addresses.
    But I have seen on tv a a few applications for a twitter eg I guy gets sensors in his house to tweet him if something goes wrong or happens eg a burglary.
    4:29 pm on July 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

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    >> If Twitter actually reaches "Joe Public"

    I think it's already there...
    A good signal that something has gone mainstream is when my mother signs on. I remember when she joined facebook, it was shortly after the FB developer platform was introduced, and FB was already well rooted in the international zeitgeist. She's not on Twitter yet, but some of her friends are, and she's mentioned Twitter in conversation recently so I know the day isn't far off when I'll get a follower notification from Mum.

    You'll also know "it's arrived" when you start seeing mobile devices with Twitter clients built-in and preinstalled. I predict that day will be coming really soon.

    5:34 pm on July 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

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    I have three teenagers and my wife is a teacher at a high school in the Northeast. The last time I checked Twitter has little to no traction with the teens. The general response is, "How is it different than Facebooks's status updates? What's the point if you can't post pics?"

    For the most part I use twitter to get updates for deals and specials from companies.

    6:23 pm on July 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

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    WebmasterWorld Senior Member ogletree is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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    I see it on just about every tv show now. CNN can't stop talking about twitter. I saw a very funny thing on David Letterman about it where Kevin Spacey was showing him how to use it. The funny thing is it seems like the non tech world is embracing it more than the tech world.
    10:19 pm on July 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

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    The media seems to love Twitter, even when they don't use it. Love hearing news announcers say stuff like, "Just had a, ummm, Twitter come in from, ummm, Big Jeff who says..."
    3:46 am on July 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

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    It takes at least 6 months to 'get it' and it's constantly changing. I use twitter to interact with others in the Industry but I also I sell stuff on Twitter.

    I have even been thanked for pointing out information to a potential customer who purchased and thanked me very much for the info. I find it's an excellent way to maintain close contact with customers and offer them help.

    For those wondering how I do this. Choose a good nick, preferably the main keyword phrase. Use twitter search and engage potential customers asking or commenting about that service or product.

    Now I have the main keywords for all my main products, my merchant has been effectively locked out and I have the jump on them communicating closer to their customer base than they potentially can.

    It took me over a year to figure out how to make money from twitter, however in talking to others and interacting I have gained many new friendships and business deals that I'd never have otherwise. I also was the first to register the 1st local 'tub twitter underground brigade group and it have over 900 real members with regular tweetups of 75-100 people which is cool.

    6:21 am on July 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

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    Today a lot of people on twitter were announcing that Network Solutions had lost customer data and a representative from Netsol was sending out tweets to each one of those people doing damage control. They were staying on top of their brand and were able to immediately start damage control.
    6:01 am on July 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

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    Twitter is a must if you run a message board or a blog. You can link to popular posts and really get some good discussion going. Others then may "retweet" your post and you can get a lot of new posters.

    Think about it: you are specifically targeting messages (that link to your forum/blog) to people who inherently love to post online. What a great way to foster an active online community.

    For other purposes, Twitter may or may not be useful. It is always funny to see businesses awkwardly try to utilize Twitter in order to jump on the bandwagon with no idea what their actual goals are...

    12:09 pm on July 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

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    Let's add a new element to the equation.

    Links

    I rarely discuss links, it is Bad Karma. So, I'll make it short and sweet. You could really jumpstart a new campaign, website launch, etc. using the various Social Media outlets. I've picked up more links using Twitter than any other resource to date. And, from a much broader spectrum of websites due to the global nature of Twitter.

    12:40 pm on July 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

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    non twitter evangelist here so no axe to grind , but I am seeing Twitter numbers increase from my social bookmarking tool ( thousands per month ) overtaking Delicious and StumbleUpon this is not a webmaster / SEO / Ecomm site, so very much joe public site.

    Do not know how they twitter site and if links or not but suspect links included in twitters so agree with Pageone could well be good for building traffic

    Favorites
    Email
    Facebook
    Google Bookmarks
    Digg
    MySpace
    Twitter
    Delicious
    MSN Live
    All Others
    StumbleUpon
    Yahoo Bookmarks
    Blogger

    steve

    1:10 pm on July 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

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    Today a lot of people on twitter were announcing that Network Solutions had lost customer data and a representative from Netsol was sending out tweets to each one of those people doing damage control. They were staying on top of their brand and were able to immediately start damage control.

    Question from a newbie/non-user:

    If I had a Twitter account prior to yesterday, would I be getting this damage control information simply because I had a Twitter account or would I have needed to be one of those people who were spreading the word or have previously signed up to follow NetSol's messages?

    I'm thinking of the time/opportunity cost angle. How many people were receiving that information from NetSol and was that the best use of their time by the NetSol employees?

    FarmBoy

    3:06 pm on July 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

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    funny thing is it seems like the non tech world is embracing it more than the tech world.

    Kinda like 1999 when the non tech world loaded up on dot com stocks at prices none of us could understand.

    5:44 pm on July 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

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    If I had a Twitter account prior to yesterday, would I be getting this damage control information simply because I had a Twitter account or would I have needed to be one of those people who were spreading the word or have previously signed up to follow NetSol's messages?

    The most common way would have been to be previously following NetSol. But if someone you follow was retweeting the NetSol tweets you'd have heard about it that way as well.
    7:36 pm on July 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

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    My 2¢ - I humbly and freely acknowledge that you are all pros and much wiser in the commercial sphere than I. I've seen much Twitter skepticism here. I offer this.

    I think there is a market on Twitter. Gain followers. Many of you pros update your sites frequently. That's part of keeping your site visitable, ¿qué no? Put a link on your site, saying, Follow me on Twitter. Then, on Twitter, post updates parallel to your site updates.

    Commercial enterprise example? @PCMag, plus each of its writers, have considerable followings. Click through to their articles or product recommendations. Possible money for someone, ¿qué no?

    Another fellow many of you may know, not a strictly "conversational" poster: @zeldman (Jeffrey Zeldman) with profile links to his web styling advice pages. Useful to *me*, anyway.

    Useful and interesting "non-conversational" followings include such things as @evernote (notebook utility for PC/Mac/iPhone), Sourceforge, and on, and on... Use Twitter Search as many of us do, to find things to follow.

    Again, the market is there. Yes, it's not *all* commercial. Nor are all websites. Nor all blogs. It does not follow, though, that market effort=no gain.

    8:33 pm on July 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

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    I think there is a market on Twitter. Gain followers...Put a link on your site, saying, Follow me on Twitter.

    Fair enough.

    On almost all of my sites, instead of "Follow me on Twitter" I have for years had "Subscribe" links where people subscribe to an email newsletter. I have software that handles the subscription process and allows me to sort & send messages of almost unlimited length including whatever links I want.

    In what ways is Twitter superior to that? I'm not debating, I'm asking, I'm basically ignorant about the ways of Twitter.

    (Side note: I have visted Twitter 3 times in the last 24 hours to look around and each time my computer locked up upon the Twitter home page loading)

    FarmBoy

    9:50 pm on July 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

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    For an opinion from [again, the uneducated, not marketing pro!] me, I'd say Twitter is *not superior* but, just another path. An addition. I go out to Twitter's "Find People" (for example) to search for users of similar interests to follow.

    Most recently, I found a group of website designers. I chose various members to whom I listen for advice.

    On the web, at times, browsing commercial products in which I'm interested (especially tech products) I'll see "follow me" links, using which I can keep up on their latest developments, new product announcements, firmware/software updates/versions, (even for sale at moderate cost), etc.

    As for browser load difficulties, I've had no such problem with four browsers on Windows or MacOSX!

    10:05 pm on July 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

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    I should also mention that some sites become a topic of active "pass-the-word" mention which would seem an advantage over "passive search"
    3:32 am on Aug 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

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    Let's add a new element to the equation.

    Links

    I rarely discuss links, it is Bad Karma. So, I'll make it short and sweet. You could really jumpstart a new campaign, website launch, etc. using the various Social Media outlets. I've picked up more links using Twitter than any other resource to date. And, from a much broader spectrum of websites due to the global nature of Twitter.

    same. thank you permatweet links ;)

    This 55 message thread spans 2 pages: 55