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It Ain’t About the Technology

Posted By Jeff Sexton On January 15, 2009 @ 3:23 pm In Improving Conversion,Marketing 2.0 / Web 2.0,Online Persuasion,Relationship Building,Word of Mouth,psychology | 23 Comments

[1]That’s my standard response when asked about Social Media.  That’s not to say technology is unimportant, but that technology never really changes how people behave, think, and feel.  Human nature drives that; technology only changes the constraints previously placed on human preferences.

If you’ve ever shared office space with colleagues you really liked and respected, you’ve already twittered.  You’ve already gotten a “feed” of interesting thoughts, updates, recommendations, etc.

Twitter [2] simply allows you to do that with people in other offices/cities/countries.  Think about what you would and wouldn’t share with your office-mate before sending it out on twitter:

  • Participating in a group conversation?  Yes, but try to make sure the conversation has value to the rest of the people on your feed and/or make the conversation private.  If I’m your office-mate, I don’t want to listen to your full volume phone conversation with someone else – unless of course the conversation is really that relevant or interesting.
  • Occasionally letting people know about cool stuff you’ve created?  Yes, but don’t make it all about you all the time.  No one wants to hear a constant stream of chest thumping at the office.
  • Sharing cool websites, blog posts, online articles, etc?  Sure, but don’t flood my twitter feeds with them.  Do the winnowing for me so that I know a link from you will really kick butt.  This doesn’t mean shy away from tweeting offbeat links you think are really cool (let you’re freak flag fly high, baby), just refrain from forwarding on links that you don’t consider must-reads.
  • Posting cool or motivating or thought provoking quotes?  Meh.  Every now and then, isn’t too bad, if the quotes are striking, rather than just “inspiring,” but don’t get either too “successories” nor too Despair.com on us.  No one wants to share an office with either a relentlessly upbeat Pollyanna or a “life sucks and then you die” cynic.
  • Sharing passing thoughts?  An interesting thought a few times a day is welcomed.  A thought an hour clogs my feed – unless of course your thought has some real substance behind it, which brings me to…
  • Sharing insightful comments that (sort of) cohere into a big idea?  Hell, yeah!  If you’re not already following her, Kathy Sierra [3] does this, and it’s her twitters that I look forward to reading most.  Imagine sharing an office with a consistently prescient or incisive thinker who generously shares her perspective.  Who wouldn’t want that?

Of course, when the whole twitter-sphere is your water cooler, you can do more than just impact the conversations that pop up within you “office” – you can seek out people who routinely tweet on the topics that most hold your imagination captive, and, with a bit of tact, introduce yourself and join their twitter conversations.  Here’s one way to do it:

Step 1: Go to a tool like http://search.twitter.com/ [4] and search on frequent topics of conversation for you (or you can use the built in search in an application like TweetDeck [5])

Step 2: Scroll through the results till you find an insightful comment.  Then check out there twitter page, see if the keyword represents a common topic for them, and introduce yourself and add meaningfully to the thought or conversation.

  • While it goes without saying, for clarity’s sake, let me emphasize that you should never, ever promote yourself or your business when doing this.  If you can’t join the conversation for the sake of the conversation and NOT simply as a front for self-promotion, then forget about Twitter altogether.

Step 3: If a good dialogue develops, you can add them to your twitter feed, subscribe to their blog etc.

Step 4: You have now expanded your grapevine network while enjoying interesting and intelligent tweets.  Just like the offline world, great conversations rarely happen by accident – it’s up to you to seek out and surround yourself with intelligent people of shared interests.


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URL to article: http://www.grokdotcom.com/2009/01/15/it-aint-about-the-technology/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.grokdotcom.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/cubicle-1.jpg

[2] Twitter: http://www.twitter.com

[3] Kathy Sierra: http://twitter.com/KathySierra

[4] http://search.twitter.com/: http://search.twitter.com/

[5] TweetDeck: http://www.tweetdeck.com/beta/

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