Monday, June 15, 2009


On Sunday I had a little bit of fun with Robert Scoble and Steven Hodson regarding their "Twitter beats CNN" statements. However, both of them are level-headed people who realize that Twitter, or FriendFeed, or a blog, or whatever are truly just tools. And that a tool is not a way of life. But to some, Twitter IS a way of life.

Take the Twitter Chat Room post entitled The Twitter Way Of Life New Beginnings. And it's not just the idea of using Twitter a lot. This particular item states some so-called truisms about how the Twitter way of life should be lived. Here are a couple of examples:

3) You’ll lose followers if it’s not interesting

To be fair, there's another item related to followers:

10) It’s great to get followers but quality followers are what you need

Yup, the Twitter Way of Life seems to boil down to who's following you. That's why all the "social media experts" are out there, telling you how to get more followers. What they don't say is that many of the followers you get media experts. Or at least until they unfollow you.

This reminded me of something Robert Scoble was preaching in 2008, and is still preaching in 2009, and presumably will preach in 2010. Here's how he put it in 2008:

I’ve gone through stages with Twitter. At some point I thought it was important to get lots of followers. But lately I’ve been telling people that the secret to Twitter isn’t how many followers you have, but how many people you are following....

what does following a lot of people say?

1. You’re trying to learn more.
2. You’re trying to meet more people.
3. You’re trying to be a better listener.
4. You’re communicating to the world that you’d like to be listened to (golden rule: treat people how you’d like to be treated).
5. You’re trying to find out about more stuff. More events. More stories.

Basically it boils down to whether you want to use Twitter as a megaphone, or Twitter as an information source, or both. And the same applies to any other tool, be it Facebook or email or the bulletin board with pushpins down at the laundromat.

Now there are times when you do want to use a social media service as a megaphone. And there are times when you want to use a social media service as an information source. And based upon what you're megaphoning or what you're trying to learn, you may want to use different tools at different times. Or, as Steven Hodson put it back in March:

Thank god we aren’t all the same or that we all use these services the same way. Thank goodness that we are learning new ways to do new things but in the end it is all about

Hodson then printed a picture with the caption

just havin' a shitload of fun on the Internet

And I hope that even the "social media experts" are having fun too.

But whatever tool or tools you use, remember that they're just tools...not a way of life.
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