I’m involved in a project to share twitter as a business tool with a skeptical audience via the trade press at the moment. It is insightful.
I’ve been thinking about the reactions some people have when I tell them I use twitter.
Really? I’d have thought you’d be too busy.
You’ve got how many followers? WOW (the number of followers I have tends to be the only thing of interest, with the exception of ‘can you show me…?’)
Do you know any of these people, you know, In Real Life?
I particularly like the ‘IRL’ question because it points out the dilemma those of us in construction have with introducing any kind of social tool to the industry.
The problem is, that according to those who don’t use ‘Web 2.0’ or ‘Social Media’, they aren’t ‘Real Life’ and are separate from it. For example:
- People you know in the real world don’t use twitter.
- People you know on twitter aren’t real.
- Because you haven’t met people In Real Life then your relationship with them is tenuous, dangerous and meaningless.
What’s wrong with that then?
Firstly, the people who use twitter are not losers, or unemployed, or ‘homeworkers’ (although some of them are) they are just like you. Some of them are windowcleaners, double glazing salesmen, structural engineers, plasterers, hoteliers, artisan foodmakers, property developers, couriers, CEO’s, roofers, lecturers, economists, architects, the list goes on.
Secondly these people have lives outside of twitter which extend to other networks that have nothing to do with twitter. And this is why it is useful.
People ring me up and say ‘could you write an article about finding an architect?’ and I say ‘where did you hear about me’ and they don’t say ‘I saw you on twitter’. They say ‘oh, someone in the office was talking about it and they’d been to a conference and …’
Yes, twitter really is real life. It isn’t everything (its not everything I do either) but it is useful.