He Tweets, She Tweets, Bill Tweets, I Tweet

Originally this was written for my company blog. It has been re-posted here.

I had the inspiration to write this blog post the other day when trying to explain Twitter to my non-tweeting friends. To many who’ve spent time using the medium what I write here will be nothing new. To those who believe all us Twitterers do is tweet about–what we eat, what we drink, and where we are–this may help clear up your confusion.

Last week Bill Gates joined Twitter. Immediately, he had thousands of followers and by the end of the first day over 200,000 people expressed interest in monitoring what Bill had to say. Sure, as it turned out his (re)appearance on the social networking scene via Facebook and Twitter was carefully timed to coincide with the launch of his new blog style site. The Gates Notes, but that’s neither here nor there. I’ll only say bully to you Bill–way to use communications technologies to communicate. Excellent work.

Moving on, what I really want to talk about is the difference between Bill and you.

Besides the really obvious differences like: Bill has more money than…someone really, really, really rich and you, well, don’t; Bill has a lasting impact on the world of modern business and, again, you probably don’t…Anyway, the list goes on, but I diverge.

Anyway, my point here is that Bill and you are different. And just one of the many ways that you’re different is that if you joined Twitter tomorrow it is highly unlikely that you would have 200,000 followers in a day. Heck the average user has only 126 followers a far cry from Bill’s current following of 363,530.

To recap the differences between you and Bill are as follows:

  • Difference #1 Bill has a widely established identity known by many around the world.
  • Difference #2 Bill has lots more relationships than you.
  • Difference #2 Bill has a vehicle to extend that identity and those relationships in the form of a Foundation.

How does this relate to Twitter you ask? I’ll tell you, but first let’s summarize your version of the 3 Bill qualities I listed above:

You probably have an identity, but not that many people know about it. You have some relationships, but not as many as Bill. You have a smaller vehicle to extend that identity and those relationships in the form of school, work, clubs, sports teams, or other shared interest groups.

Now For the Part About Twitter:

Think of this as Twitter 101.

Twitter will allow you to build your identity, let more people know about your identity, and find and access the groups of relationships that will allow you to extend that identity.

Twitter builds your Identity through:

  • What you tweet. Is the content relevant to a particular audience or interest?
  • Who you follow. What are you interested in? How do the people you follow reflect your opinions?
  • Who follows you. Who finds you interesting? What are they interested in? AND what does this say about you?
  • Where you are listed. What topics do people associate with your Tweets? How do others (often strangers) classify your Twitter ‘voice’?

How exactly does the preceding list work for you?

By having a clear Twitter voice you begin establishing YOUR identity.

By finding people interested in similar conversations you lay the foundation to build more relationships.

By engaging those people that you found relevantly, accurately, and consistently you reaffirm the identity you are building.

By creating two way relationships you amplify your voice through the voices of your connections and your identity grows.

See you Twitter skeptics it really is much more than a way to catalog the daily eating, drinking, and traveling aspects of our lives. And its easy. And it follows basically the same social behavior you engage in everyday. And now you have no excuses not to go Twitter. Everyone else is doing it. Even Bill.

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