Twitter 1.0 is your first experience with The Illness. The Affliction. Twitter 1.0 can be disappointing. As CNET’s Elinor Mills complained and old friend Bob Page points out, knowing someone is eating a cookie or having problems with bodily functions does not exactly enlighten one’s life. Twitter 1.0 fails for many because they listen to the wrong people, or they may not have the proper Digital DNA to find a positive outcome with the medium. Ed Yourdon, who I remember from my structured programming days (OK, this was after punched cards), has referenced both generational and existential issues with social software:
Talking … with a group of very savvy, up-to-date colleagues who … felt very strongly that blogging is a largely narcissistic, unproductive, self-centered activity, and one that presents significant risks to companies. I’m beginning to think that all of this is somewhat of an existential thing: if you don’t blog on a fairly regular basis, you can’t imagine why anyone else would do so; and if you’re predisposed to think that blogging is just narcissistic chattering, then you’re not likely to spend very much time (if any at all) reading anyone else’s blog either. It may also be a generational thing: middle-aged and older people are less likely to read or write blogs, and younger people (and those who still feel young) are more likely to do so. This is not necessarily a good thing or a bad thing, but it may be one more thing that separates the generations these days.
Ed is talking about blogging but it’s the same: are you social software inclined?
What value have I found? For openers, the return is modest. Don’t expect the value you get from a wiki or IM or an insightful blog. The trick is the investment is very low. The ROI is good as Jeff Clavier has told me. I don’t spend much time on Twitter: quick scan, anything interesting, and exit. Because I am ADD and nowhere near as focused as James Governor or Robert Scoble, I don’t tweet much. As least yet.
Here’s the value I have found so far:
- I find out what my network is thinking in a more organic way than through Techmeme which is expansive although useful.
- I learn news important to my business. A customer alerted me to their purchase of the clustered version of Confluence on Twitter.
- I find events. This weekend Brian Solis had a BBQ near my house, and I ran into some 2.0 colleagues. Last week, I connected with Susan Scrupski on an Enterprise 2.0 event. Both thanks to Twitter.
- Twitter allows staying in touch with folks where you don’t want the more intense engagement and commitment of email or phone.
… and on a more basic level…
- I sold two of my band T-shirts — raising money for a cancer charity — to people I have never even met, Ric Hayman in Australia, and Thomas Otter in Germany. That was very cool. Twitter and this blog made it happen.
- Stephen Wright: perhaps the Single Greatest Thing about Twitter is getting this comedian’s hilarious tweets like, “If God took acid, would he see people?” Now if only Eddie Izzard Twiitered, my life would be complete.
Twitter 3.0 will be about refinement. So far I am accumulating people, but perhaps I’ll need to prune the Cookie Eaters, and get picky. Right now my criteria is lax. Twitter 3.0 may also be about Facebook. There’s a new link to get you on Facebook, and I signed up. Aside from my kids harassing me endlessly for being on Facebook, I have joined Stewart Mader and the Social Media Today on Facebook and will see if this is a useful extension to Wikipatterns. For now 2.0 is working.