Is twitter really pointlessly trivial? It certainly seems so from the outside looking in. Here’s one view on why it looks so bad, and a bit about why it’s not.
Visit a person’s profile page on twitter with an open mind. I’m going to use @London_Law_Firm because Chris Sherliker (for it is he) is a case in point. Looking from the outside, it appears that people like Chris use twitter to talk about trivialities; because that’s what on first sight they are talking about. The problem is you’re seeing everything they talk about, and if you heard everything anyone talked about there would be plenty of trivialities.
When you look at someone’s homepage on twitter, you see their replies to people – the ones with their @handle at the front. But if you follow that person, you’ll only see these if you follow both the person and the recipient. All the rest are automatically filtered from your home twitter stream, so you don’t have to look at them.
But there’s more than this. People are by nature personal. They discuss matters of interest to them, which range widely. You do it yourself. However when you think of people you know, don’t you have an overall view of them – a profile which includes a range of interests? Get to know someone like Chris on twitter and over the weeks you’ll develop an overview of him, including the fact that he is a Lawyer in London, and a very accessible helpful one.
Chris sees twitter as fun – but he also says ‘it works’. Twitter is about socialising, and it’s also about networking – getting to know people. By doing this Chris is building relationships with people on twitter, engaging and building trust.
The other thing about @London_Law_Firm though, is that Chris also gets business from twitter. When I followed up on his responses to my twitter survey in January, he reeled off half a dozen new clients. “They are all small,” he said, “but they are all entirely new to the firm.” Of course a twitter client soon becomes an advocate if you treat them well.
So twitter is about trivialities, yes. But it’s also about business if you want to get business from twitter. It’s a tool. What do you want to do with it?