Throughout the world there are people sitting right at this moment, scratching their heads and wondering “Should I use Twitter?”. Every day people ponder over joining up with Twitter; yet each day people stop using Twitter as well. There is a never ending revolving door of people joining and then leaving (or at least leaving their accounts dormant). Importantly, though, there is a real pressure for business owners to join. And that in itself could be a problem.
For instance, research shows that in the past year the most profitable companies have been those who have engaged heavily with social media. In particular, the firms like Starbucks and Dell, who have used Twitter enormously, are the ones that have seen the best financial improvement. There appears to be a link between business results and use of social media. Cash-strapped chief executives and business owners must be looking at this success and asking “if they can do it, why can’t we?”.
Similarly, family members who engage with Twitter are likely to be enthusiasts for the network, trying to get the rest of the family to join up so they can all have fun together online, share images at TwitPic and keep up-to-date with what each other has been doing. It all sounds like a good idea and so brothers, sisters, cousins, uncles and aunts, all think “Mmmm, this might be a good idea”.
But then they get online and rather like the CEO facing Twitter for the first time they ask “What on Earth is this all about?”. Some people investigate and work out what they can do. Others download useful booklets on Twitter, and some struggle on and just hope they can “get it”. But should you struggle on? Should you do all that research and find out how to use Twitter? Should you go to a workshop on Twitter?
Possibly; but possibly not. Some people are just not made for Twitter. They are not the kind of people who will be able to get on with Twitter, no matter how valuable they can see it might be from a logical perspective. If you have struggled with Twitter, you might be one of the people it’s not aimed at – so stop using it…! Otherwise you will waste your time trying to understand it, work with it and use it. That will lead to frustration, even stress. And that will affect your business – and your relationships.
Give up Twitter if you are an Introvert
Twitter is a social environment. It’s full of people who love being with other people. True there are probably more than a few narcissists there as well, but on the whole it is where people who love talking to other people congregate. Introverted individuals prefer solitary occupation and, importantly, they tend to be single-focus people. In other words they are less able to multi-task than extroverts. Twitter is a multi-tasker’s dream – you have Twitter open in one window, while you busy yourself in another, every now and then looking at something your Followers are chatting about. Indeed, you have to use Twitter whilst doing something else, otherwise you’d probably never get any work done. As a result, Twitter is geared much more to the extrovert than the introvert.
Give up Twitter if you are a Perfectionist
If you dot the i’s and cross the t’s, Twitter is not for you either. You’ll spend too long crafting Tweets and replies, when the “instant” conversational tone of Twitter doesn’t work well with that kind of approach. You’ll also get immensely frustrated with the poor spelling, the inaccuracies and the bad grammar. But spoken language is also grammatically poor when compared with written language – it’s just that we don’t see it. On screen, that spoken style so dominant on Twitter is exposed, warts and all. If you are a perfectionist, or someone who likes things “done right”, then Twitter will frustrate and annoy you considerably.
Give up Twitter if you are Creative
Creative people are generally poor at time management. Studies show that the people who are good at managing time tend to be less creative than people who are pretty rubbish at time management. Twitter can eat into your plans easily. As you get hooked into a conversation, as you discover interesting things to read and as you find more fascinating people to Follow, you can spend hours and hours just Twittering away. If you are not a creative type you will be able to more easily manage these kinds of distraction which Twitter provides. But if you are a creative individual, there’s a chance you’ll while away the hours and not get any work done..!
So who should be using Twitter then? Well if we take away the introverts, the perfectionists and the creatives we are left with a careless, unimaginative, extrovert…! And do you really want to spend your time with lots of them…?
Having said this, you might not need to give up Twitter after all. If you are an Introvert you can listen – just read the Tweets that interest you and follow the links, but don’t join in. In other words, do the same as you do down the pub – eavesdrop. If you are a Perfectionist you can get your own Tweets right, of course, but if you learn the Twitter lingo, you’ll discover that the spelling isn’t incorrect, it’s just a new language you need to learn. And if you are a Creative person why not come up with an idea for earning your living via Twitter? Your creative brain could work that out and you’d then be able to while away those unplanned hours on Twitter and still pay the bills.
In other words, Twitter is for everyone – and we all use it in entirely different ways. So just because people in your company say there is a “right way” of using Twitter and just because your cousin tells you that you ought to share family photos using Twitter – don’t believe them. Do what works for you and use Twitter the way you want to. That way it will work for your business or your family because you will be enjoying it. Much of the frustration about Twitter is because people feel forced to use it in particular ways. There is no right or wrong – unless you are a perfectionist of course..!
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+