On the 4th of November I received this email newsletter in my inbox…

Subject: Why I hate twitter
Extract:I don’t use Twitter because it’s a complete and utter waste of time. Yes, I know that’s sacrilege and I’m supposed to be telling you that you must be on Twitter and selling you expensive Twitter courses. Well let me save you some time. It’s all BS.
I can count on one hand the number of businesses for whom Twitter is contributing to their online profits. Literally – one hand. Meanwhile, I can show you thousands of businesses who are making money from Pay per Click, Advanced Conversion strategies, Email Marketing, Online Video, Facebook Advertising and numerous other online approaches that actually work.
Welcome to the online version of the Emperor’s new clothes. You’re almost made to feel stupid these days if you question Twitter. If there is a Universal creator, I think the whole thing is a joke. He or she decided to give humanity a tool, the first four letters of which spell ‘Twit’ and see how long it would take anyone to notice.

Quite an interesting piece of argument coming from a marketing Guru who talks at length about ‘entrepreneurial success, advanced thinking and…internet marketing’! Well, even as Mr C continues to swear by his success mantras on how to rake in the dosh through Pay per Clicks and email marketing, he is apparently blissfully oblivious of how the ‘emperor’s robe’ has been stirring up change in the world around him.

Probably unnoticed by him, Twitter has been at the root of revolutions, linking people and setting a trend as no social media has ever done before.

It is definitely not without reason that Twitter was targeted as the first form of social media to be severed by the Arab dictators, during the Arab Spring when they rushed around like headless chickens trying to cut off all forms of internet communication. The brightest part about this communication network is- just about anyone can make themselves heard to the whole world outside without fearing the editor’s axe like in the case of most other social media.

We have to admit that this ‘tool’ has proven to be quite useful to keep people connected even in the face of calamities, as well. We still remember how Twitter kept people updated on what was happening, when unexpected snow got the trains to a sudden halt a couple of years ago.

Now, in case these don’t testify as demonstrations of Twitter’s commercial abilities, Mr Cardell just need look at the new trend of TV programmes announcing Twitter tags to keep people abreast of the most recent events and discussions. So much is the popularity of this micro blog now, that a Mexican football team recently went to the extent of flashing their Twitter tags on the back of their jerseys (in place of their actual names) so that fans could Tweet about them during the games!

Now, if we were to go by Mr Cardell’s logic, we could even go to the extent of saying that the ‘telephone’ is an absolute waste of time and money! There are millions of telephones and millions of conversations taking place, exchanging billions of snippets of information. But how can I say the ‘telephone’ is useful if it does not benefit my business! Now that was a dumb thing that old Mr Grahambell came up with, when the good old pony express could well have served the purpose.

It definitely does take nerve to proclaim that Twitter is rubbish! But the fact here is, the major point has been altogether missed. I agree the possibility of seeing tweets on what Mr Cardell is having for breakfast would depress me. But there is also this bright side about Twitter where you get to hear positive testimonials. Hey take a Cardell course- the next best things since sliced bread! (Or worse Cardell is a waste of money.) Wouldn’t you want to know these things so that you can take action?

I like marketing as it brings you clients. But what about customer support? Surely if you look after your clients and set the right expectations and deal with the problems, then you really are building a solid company for growth. What is the point in bringing in clients in a very efficient way, only to lose them by the back door? To provide decent customer support, it is definitely important to know what is going on, and what people are saying.
All in all, I think Mr Cardell is being short sighted. I do agree that it might be difficult to use twitter to add to the bottom line. But, to ignore a new form of communication even if it is used just for reputation monitoring, can only be called daft.

My advice would be, don’t set your expectations very high, but do take some time out to get to know the technology. Millions of people are using it. Remember, the social media did play quite a big part in helping Obama win the presidential election. The internet is after all built using open source based on the million eyeballs principle- if a million eyes are looking at something you will spot the flaws and fixes will be made. And I am sure; you will find out before long that the emperor does have clothes, afterall!

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