Twitter… witter… itter… tter… er.

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Image: Beware the Echo… (Credit: Zorilla)

Tom‘s an echo-chamber refusenik, which is one of several good reasons I make a point of reading everything he posts on his blog Usable Interfaces. He’s a guard against lazy thinking, re-Tweeted half-thoughts and emergent untested aphorisms.

Take his latest broadside – “Just because you can” – against Twitter noise in the UK marketing networks. Basically he’s taking issue with the idea that agencies *should* have a Twitter voice and that the longevity and frequency of that voice will show you how good they are at social media stuff (this also chimes with my own suspicion of Twitter lists as meaning anything – how can you benchmark behaviour in a single way when people have so many different ways of using it?).

I’ll pick you out a few challenges and warnings that might shake you out of sleepwalking into a world where you declare microblogging to be the answer to the agency world’s ills:

  • “…it’s also fair to say that the mere presence or absence of a twitter stream does not confirm or deny a reasonable approach to the medium – just as the presence of a brain does not imply brain activity.”
  • “…isn’t ‘thought leadership’ something that PR people invented in the late 90s…. I mean the concept that a single thought-leading idea will be used in marketing or PR. Isn’t is an idea precisely oriented to single-track mass media of which Twitter is the antithesis?”
  • “…the benefit of Twitter in terms of promoting our agency is that people can see that there is a great deal of (leading) thought going on, and they can get involved in those thoughts and start a debate. But EMC Conchango as an entity doesn’t have a single view on anything. It’s got 400 views.”
  • Having a single Twitter voice for his agency “would be a denial of thought, and certainly wouldn’t be an indication of our leadership position. Unless we were following the North Korea model.”

Cheers, Tom – thanks for the challenges and keeping us intellectually honest.

  • http://galloblog.wordpress.com/ Rob Gallo

    Re the presence or absence of agencies on Twitter – in terms of PR agencies, I wonder whether clients truly want their agency to enjoy a high profile (through Twitter or any medium). In the current exuberant bout of reporting of Twitter in Marketing and PR trade publications I detect we are missing the client perspective in relation to analysis of agency use of social media.

  • http://www.antonymayfield.com Antony Mayfield

    Absolutely – or even the clients’ perspectives as there are many different ones. While Twitter is enjoyable, useful and, in the right contexts, powerful, a fixation on arbitrary measures will give little insight into the depth of knowledge or capabilities of anyone.

    I also object to the ideas that anyone or organisation *has* to be on Twitter or use it in a certain way – it’s far, far too early for anyone to have a definitive approach to this sub-set of social media.