A friend at breakfast yesterday was asking me about Twitter. She doesn’t really get it. And I caught myself trying to explain for the n-th time how Twitter becomes a kind of reflecting pool for those who use it.
I think the Twitter drop off rate is still in the 80-60% range. Meaning, of all the people who try Twitter by creating an account, around 70% of them will stop tweeting in less than a month.* So what is it that the 30% who become users, and the 2% who become obsessive users, get? What is Twitter?
Twitter is like IM with a lot of people at once.
You say something on Twitter and either it gets reflected (responded to directly) or echoed (ReTweeted on to others).
So my friend asked, “So if you get some positive reflections from a certain tweet, does that mean you are going to tweet more of that type?”
Ah, a great question. Does the reflection from the Twitter Pool influence the future tweets?
Let me see. So I tweet about 20 different things in one week.
Two of my tweets get RT’d. They are both informational tweets about social media. New stats or reports or something of use to those of us in the business of using social media. (Does that reinforce my behavior or preference of tweeting helpful social media information? Maybe, but I probably would keep on passing on this type of information even with zero RTs. This is what I do. This is me.)
One of my tweets gets a response. It was something about the Foo Fighters and coffee in the afternoon so I don’t fall asleep after lunch. Does this influence my tweets in the future. YES. People like to connect around music and coffee. Again it’s just ME and the way I am, but the conversation is an easy one. Is it social? Yes. Does it generate business? No.
17 of my tweets get nothing. Not a blip or echo from the reflecting pool. Will I continue to tweet about things like fawns living under my porch (the deer kind, not the make believe kind) or random blips of nonsense that I find funny? Yes. I will probably continue to be silly and meandering. That is ME, that’s how I am.
Okay, so let’s say you start Tweeting and your reflecting pool is rather small. And NOTHING you tweet receives any return signal of any kind. Do you continue to tweet even if no one seems to be listening? Will you keep throwing ideas into the reflecting pool if it is lifeless and dry?
Perhaps the deeper question is, “What is your goal with Twitter?” And the next question is, “What do you Tweet?”
A path without a goal is a winding road in the dark. And what you are thinking is what you are at that moment. So what you tweet is what you are thinking about. And you will either be reflected or not. And you will continue to tweet or not. The best I can do is show you the way I think it can be done. You must find your own way on or off the path.