Is Twitter a Stethoscope or Megaphone??

Posted by Adam Bean - October 20, 2010 - Social Media - 5 Comments

I just don’t get Twitter!!!

This is the catch cry I constantly hear from business owners almost every time I speak to them about social media interaction and marketing. And you know what?? This lack of understanding of how to use Twitter effectively doesn’t really surprise me.

Let me explain why…

Firstly it comes back to the fact that Twitter is just a tool. You can’t cut wood with a hammer can you? Yet this is exactly what business owner are trying to do by automating and following one of those dreadful get 100 followers a day programs that plague twitter like a disease.

My good friend Jason Markow summed it up beautifully a while back when he came out with this pearl of wisdom…

“Twitter is a Stethoscope not a Megaphone” Jason Markow

My best results with Twitter have always come from one on one meaningful interactions with individuals, not from trying to blast my message out to as many people as possible. A classic example of using Twitter as a stethoscope happened to me, the day that it actually dawned on me exactly what task Twitter was designed to perform.

I had been on Twitter for well over six months (Yes I am a slow learner some times!!) mainly because some online marketing training that I had been participating in (Then the 30 day challenge) made a bold prediction that twitter was going to become vitally important to our future online marketing efforts.

Anyway I was tweeting away one morning (Up to this point I had never received an @ message from anyone!!) whilst browsing a news site I frequent, I discovered an article about a 3.5 meter salt water crocodile that had been captured in a local swimming hole in Darwin. This was of particular interest to me. As myself, my wife and kids frequented this swimming hole whilst we were living in Darwin!!

So I tweeted out the link with a message something like….

We used to swim in this water hole when we lived in Darwin.

Within minutes I had my very first @ message from another lady I was following on the Sunshine Coast, and who also happens to work with web sites and online marketing. So you are a Darwin boy then she replied?? That is the moment that the light bulb went on in my head!! Hang on a minute this tool called Twitter is a two way communication device!

Anyway the conversation continued on about Darwin and the time we had both spent up there. Now that friendship has developed to the point where we bounce idea’s off of each other regarding our businesses, and also help promote each other both online and offline.

All because the twitter tool was used for the task that it was designed to perform, which is…

A real time two way interaction platform.

So what are your experiences with using Twitter?? I want to hear them all both good and bad! Are you still on the dark side that thinks Twitter is a Megaphone?? Lol

About the Author

Adam Bean

“You can either Stand Out or Fit In not both” (Linchpin) Ask me about Twitter & Blogs 4 Small Business Marketing. Husband, Dad, Speaker/Trainer, Wannabe surfer! Beanie puts the Social in Social Media Marketing!!