Seth Godin Praises Twitter; Seth's Tweetiquette Critiqued
Seth Godin recently wrote a warm laudy post about how Twitter is great for building trust, brand equity and ultimately sales. Practically two seconds later, marketing and social media blogger Ryan Kuder wrote Seth an open letter declaring shenanigans.
It's not that Seth is wrong. Twitter is a great relationship development tool. I maintain daily contact with more people on Twitter than I've met in real life over the past year. We pass on streams of thought, as well as links we find interesting or valuable.
Occasionally, that interesting or valuable link brings users to our website. But that isn't only or always the case ... and this is where Ryan raises his complaint.
"I've got a beef with the way you use Twitter," he writes, "Because you don't use it."
"I love discovering your posts via Twitter, but Twitter Seth doesn't follow anyone and as far as I can tell has never sent a message to anyone. It's exclusively a one way relationship. I called out Twitter Seth on this a while ago [...] Since then, I found out that it's not you. Which I actually think is worse because if it's true, you've ceded control of your brand over to someone else.
"You might think that there's no damage being done, but I'd argue that there's a LOT of damage being done. What you've got is 'Seth Godin,' the relationship marketing guru, with your face and everything, out there amongst an audience that is at the forefront of social media and participatory marketing, and you're not participating or being social. While I'm sure everyone loves the updates on your blog posts as much as I do, it misses the point."
Seth's response (at comment #4):
"If I twit, and do it well [...] then what shall I give up? I already don't sleep or comb my hair..."
Ben Kunz at #2 had this to say: "I think use of Twitter should be in or out -- either be real and genuine and personal and put up with the overload spray of microhyperblogger telepathy, or avoid it. Using it solely to push PR about blog posts or books feels plain wrong."
Most Twitter junkies agree, even if Seth makes a good point. Twitter is nothing if not time-consuming, but you can't build relationships on auto-pilot. If you're going to appear at a community gathering, the people who try interacting with you don't want to be reminded that you don't have time for them.
Props to WillWheeler for the word "tweetiquette" (Twitter + etiquette). I would otherwise have used "twittiquette" and quietly regretted it for the rest of my life.