Tweet, Blog – Why Do You Do It? [Survey]

by Thomas MORADPOUR on January 23, 2011 · 14 comments

I get the question often, now that I jumped in with both feet into Twitter and blogging.
Why? Why do I spend so much time online, reading, writing and interacting with…… strangers?

While the answer is pretty obvious to me – seeing the added value I get every single day – I thought I’d check that I’m not missing something big that YOU think is important.

At least to you anyway.

So let me start.

WHY I DO IT

Better, filtered news. Twitter themselves like to pitch their service as a news network, rather than a social network. Spend a week in Twitter, or reading blogs, and you will see that what spreads the most is topical and news-worthy; not longer term, deep-thinking pieces. And that’s alright, I can turn to other sources for the latter, such as books and offline connections. But I’ll take Twitter and blogs for what they are – my portal to what’s most current and interesting today. My way of tapping that, is to trust my “social filter” – basically, YOU, who I follow and engage with. As you share and retweet only the most interesting pieces, you save me the trouble of reading newspapers or going through hundreds of RSS feeds.

Inspiration and thought starters. One of my main reasons for using Twitter is serendipity, how it leads to unexpected discoveries, new thoughts, and ideas. I once wrote a post to advocate the practice of keeping contrarians in one’s Twitter stream, only to be ‘corrected’ by my smart friend @lefreddie. He said that seeking ‘igniters’ is better. True. This is why I keep my Twitter list a bit loose, not too focused on my core area of interest, as thought starters might come from anywhere.

Business connections. I also seek networking of the business and ‘peer’ kind. To be fair, I once expected to connect with more people “like me”, i.e. brand people on the client side of large companies. But unless I’ve missed the big party happening in some other part of Twitterville, these appear to be a small minority compared with agency, social media and start-up types. But that’s OK – I have still made plenty of very useful business connections, and added huge value to my job agenda, since I started spending more time on Twitter.

Personal development. This one is a no brainer. And still, few people take the time to do it. Let me state it clearly – there is just no way a marketer can be great at marketing today, without an intimate understanding of social media. And this can only come from using it yourself, rather than relying on second-hand knowledge from agencies or pseudo-experts. Think about it: what would you have thought, 20 years ago, of a marketer who had never watched TV? Bad, right? That’s what you get a LOT these days. It does not mean I will run social media marketing of my brand myself – it’s a full time job. But I’ll be better at setting objectives, judging ideas and results.

Give back. Many people talk about personal branding being “the” thing on social network. Maybe. But I think the best way to achieve this is by paying it forward, and giving generously – your time, your thoughts and your ideas. Thought leadership starts with giving more than taking, and Blogging + Twitter are a great way to do just that. This is the kind of influence I am trying to build here.

Fun! Finally, there is no denying that it’s just plain fun. In my free time, tweeting and blogging have actually replaced gaming almost entirely; it’s actually easy to see Twitter as a game… and please do take this the wrong way, I mean it in a very positive way. I will actuall write a standalone post on this very topic very soon. The added value of twitter compared to (other) games being the engagement with real people and deeper sense of community – in particular within groups such as #usguys!

OVER TO YOU.

Why do you do it?
What matters most to you?
Please let me know!

Photo credit – Ben Terrett

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  • MatthewLiberty

    Great points Tom, my view has always been to take Twitter for what it is. It’s immediate…faster than tv, print, and other methods of news; AND once you’ve been on there for a while you learn how to filter what you want to see and what you don’t. I just had a conversation Friday night with someone I met in person (they were up from L.A.) for the first time, they had been following me on Twitter (as well as our wine blog) and he’s does not understand Twitter. After the discussion though it was obvious he just had not yet learned how to “properly” filter it for what he needs. As you and I both know (because we love Twitter as a tool as well as an engagement platform), it is ALL about how you filter the stream! Cheers Tom, and again, great points!!

    • http://www.312digital.com Sean McGinnis

      Matt – you’re dead on accurate about the immediacy of Twitter. Best illustration I have was a little over a year ago. We had just moved back to Chicago area and wife and I were awakened by a very loud noise. Immediately picked up the laptop. Nothing on the new channels yet, nothing on facebook, but within 5 minutes my network had determined it was an earthquake (a very rare and strange occurrence in this part of the world). By the time I put the laptop away 20 minutes later, I had seen official links to a site declaring the epicenter and strength – items that would not be reported through normal media channels for hours.

      • Anonymous

        Quite a stunning example Sean!

  • http://twitter.com/skypulsemedia Howie at Sky Pulse Media

    Tom this is really well said. You have no idea how important it is for upstarts like me that there are some folks like you from the Brand side on Twitter. I see so many Social Media Gurus and Agencies and Networks screaming at Big Brands in irrational biased ways (or with complete BS) to do things that don’t make big sales sense. So if a few of you like Chris Baccus (@cbaccus w/ ATT) or yourself weren’t around I would be nervous and starting to short stocks left and right!

    I wish more of you were on Twitter. Your marketing insights are invaluable Tom.

    And just because you are with a big company doesn’t mean you can’t be a thought leader or upstart. Not all insurgents are small fry like me!

    BTW did you just upgrade the blog design? I like it. Very clean.

    OOPS left out. My answer: I learn. I network. I find people I align with in my industry such as yourself. Like when I found the Ad Contrarian – Bob Hoffman I realized other people like me exist. News yes. The sharing stuff is awesome. I have connected some of the coolest people ever, including around the world. Really has helped my business efforts.

  • http://twitter.com/PhilipHotchkiss Philip Hotchkiss

    Early on, I viewed Twitter as doing three big things for me: 1. Curated knowledge feed 2. relationship development platform 3. fun!

    One day my son asked my daughter, “What’s Daddy doing?” she replied, “He’s playing Twitter.”

    But as my interactions expanded on Twitter – “Inspiration and Thought Starters” as you point out became increasingly important AND I became found that “Giving Back” also became a key part of my behavior and enjoyment on Twitter.

    My biggest challenge now in a being part of a fast moving startup is finding enough time to ‘play’ on Twitter – but days like today provide the opportunity to learn, converse, play and give back.

    Great post Tom.

    • Anonymous

      Yes, I often wonder how you, Joe or Megan find the time to interact on Twitter… and on blogs for that matter.
      Quite impressive. But at the same time, that’s probably because you don’t se it as a waste of time – it’s a fun productive way to learn, keep in touch with news, and find inspiration/new ideas!
      Tom

  • http://twitter.com/KRDMarketing Kristen Robinson

    Love this post and I loved how you saved the best for last! It’s just fun to me! My clients see how passionate I am about this area and see me as the “go-to person”. My love for it truly reflects it…why do it if there’s not some bit of fun in it?

    • Anonymous

      Agree! If it’s not fun… time for a change of career!

  • http://www.margieclayman.com Marjorie Clayman

    Great post, Tom.

    I started out on Twitter just so that I could talk about it with knowledge – to your point about marketers 20 years ago who weren’t watching TV or reading magazines. Bad idea. However, as I began meeting people, I saw that networking and building long-term relationships is really what keeps me on the site.

    As for blogging, well, I love to write, so that part is easy to figure out. But what you learn after you blog for awhile is that your community can add, via comments, thoughts that never would have occurred to you, even if you had worked on that post for 20 years. That is true value – sharing thoughts, learning new things, and seeing new perspectives. People don’t talk about that part much, but it has become a major joy for me.

    • Anonymous

      Oh soooo agree with your last point of blogging, Margie.
      Countless times I’ve publish a post only to be massively outsmarted in the comment section.
      And I mean that as a good thing! All the more learning for us ;-)
      Tom

      • http://www.margieclayman.com Marjorie Clayman

        Yep, I love it when that happens. It means that not only did someone really connect with what you said, but they actually thought about it enough to enhance your point, thus making you smarter while also appearing smarter. It’s awesome all the way around :)

        • Anonymous

          Totally agree!

  • Spittk07

    Awesome! Among the reasons you have for blogging, I would emphasize PERSONAL DEVELOPEMENT. I blog for advice. The people who read it (currently) are people that have made success doing exactly what I want to do. I figure if I can get enough followers, I can get enough people to give my sound advice. But I also completely agree with everything else you mentioned…Right on Tom!

  • http://www.burningfathelp.com burn fat

    I blog as a way to give back. Of course, there’s the other side of me that’s also looking for a small side income, but making really good money on a blog takes a lot of work and a lot of time. Expecting to make a full time salary is very ambitious and requires a lot of business know-how and planning. Right now I blog because I’ve learned so much from other blogs and wanted to give back in my own way. I also find so much cool stuff around the internet and learn something new everyday, so I want a way to share that, beyond just social networking.

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