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What happens to Twitter now?

May 21, 2009

It seems no matter how much you ‘prune’ your followers and following list is just tends to grow. So I am beginning to wonder why I am following some credit unions. 

All of them need ask themselves why are you on Twitter? Everyone will answer ‘to share information with our members’ or ‘to give your membership support’ or ‘to talk about events or things we may offer’. I thought Twitter was a means to converse, a way to share insights, send out a neat URL you just found or to stimulate discussion. Most of the CUs I look at are selling me something, or telling me something that will lead to a sale or asking a question that will certainly lead to a sales pitch. The idea of communicating the authentic or genuine seems to have been missed. 

There is this singular beauty of Twiter, those whom I follow I can also unfollow. Before the marketing department types go amuck here they need to realize that. People who follow want to see the thinking person. It is going to be very interesting to watch.

What would be better yet? SMS your member when you have something specific and personal for them to know. But remember only do it if they want you to. Communicating has become an option for the listener.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. ljnewton permalink
    May 21, 2009 6:41 pm

    Great post (as usual!) Gene. The self-serving, self-aggrandizing, self-promoting tweeters seem to be taking up a great deal of real estate in the Twittersphere lately.

    I haven’t been around the Twitterverse as long as you have but the conversations have really changed even since I joined and not necessarily for the better. Everyday I get more followers who have thousands of followers themselves but who’ve only shared a handful of lame tweets. What’s the point? What’s their game? To what end? Surely there’s more to life than trying to figure out how to get more followers on Twitter?

    So, I follow those whose conversations I find valuable, and there are many, as well as those like @CUWarrior whose tweets constantly crack me up, though he doesn’t know it. I’m really looking forward to meeting @mmpartee & co. next week at the Little B, and who knows, maybe I’ll get lucky and find my way across the great Canadian Prairie for the CU Symposium in October where I’ll get to meet you and all the rest of the CU boomers like @Rshevlin and @CurrencyTim. Twitter has given me a gift by letting me listen in on great CU conversations that I always find engaging and often valuable.

    Meanwhile, I’m with you. Give me value for my time or that unfollow button is going to look mighty tempting.

  2. Colleen permalink
    May 21, 2009 6:41 pm

    I started following Coast Capital’s famous Julie just to see how much ‘personality’ she had. It hasn’t been nearly as entertaining as I’d hoped and for exactly the reasons you note. I’m still wondering about the purpose of corporate tweets. I fear the more widespread Twitter gets, the lower the quality will get. But as you point out, the power is ultimately in the hands of the individual. Interesting to watch indeed.

  3. May 22, 2009 10:31 am

    Indeed. What I find interesting is that all the credit unions on Twitter seem to just be following other credit unions and its creating a massive echo chamber. It’s like a few years ago when credit unions were jumping on MySpace because you have to be on MySpace.

    I have now been on Twitter for more than two years and it is very interesting to watch it change and morph. I really value my tight CU ‘people’ group on Twitter but don’t get much (or anything) from companies on Twitter.

    Having said that, I am thoroughly addicted and don’t see that changing any time soon!

  4. May 22, 2009 12:18 pm

    We are just beginning…

  5. May 22, 2009 3:16 pm

    Lately I’ve been reluctant to “admit” that I Twitter. Seems everyone is doing it now, whether they understand it or not. Kind of like when my dad asked if he could borrow my Phoebe Snow albums – WHAT? My dad’s not supposed to be listening to my music? He’s supposed to scream at me to turn it down.

    When I heard reporters on Fox News take “questions from Twitter” and actually showed the page – I cringed. I mean, I know that’s its purpose – but something about SEEING it on TV….weird.

    I have “unfollowed” several people in the last week – I like my tight CU group. I get my news (thanks FinancialBrand), my laughs (I live for Chaztoo’s posts), my inspiration (Tinfoiling, itsjustbrent, creeme, currencymarketing, to name a few) from these folks. They are my water cooler conversations when I’m having lonely self-employed moments.

    I’m still a Twit – but only to my friends. I’ll never admit it in public.

  6. May 22, 2009 5:30 pm

    OMG! A new tool! We have to use the new tool! And I’ve got to login to that webinar on “5 Rules For Generating ROI With the New Tool”! And didn’t that marketing guru say on his blog that the “results that firms have achieved prove that the New Tool is worth the investment”?

    We have a 2 problems in the marketing/advertising community. The first is that we seem to think that every new touchpoint or tool requires a “strategy” (we need a Web strategy, a Web 2.o strategy, a Twitter strategy). Wrong –we need a business, or maybe a customer, strategy, and figure out which tools help us execute that strategy.

    The second is even more troublesome. For the calls that the “old marketing” is dead, it seems that all the “new” marketing is about is finding “new” ways to reach customers and prospects with the old messages. And if it wasn’t bad enough that the old messages weren’t very relevant, now they’re going to get truncated down to 140 characters. Yeah, like THAT’S going to help marketers and their firms achieve nirvana.

    Here’s reality: Advertisers have NO CLUE how to create and have a relationship with customers. Marketers are a little better. And sorry to say this, but the customer service people don’t know either, but they do tend to be a little bit nicer about things (not always, but at least sometimes).

    The only people in most organizations who really know how to create and develop relationships with customers are generally “account managers” and sometimes the sales people whose job it is to not just hunt but to farm. But few firms are able to institutionalize those skills and capabilities.

    And if anyone thinks that just because their firm is now Twittering that that’s going to put them on the path to better customer relationships… then they’re going to be very disappointed.

    p.s. If @jimmymarks should happen to read this: Please don’t smarmily chalk this up to me being “cranky”. Realistic, honest, and profit-motivated is what drives these comments.

    Thanks for the space to rant, Gene.

  7. May 26, 2009 8:58 pm

    Absolutely love Twitter….wait, that’s not right…I love my Twitter friends. Much different.

  8. firehosefilter permalink
    May 29, 2009 10:58 am

    Gene,

    I commented on this privately earlier, but now I’m ready to talk publicly about it. We turn on this information firehose and once we get a taste, it’s hard to turn it off. Sure you can unfollow other CUs that are twittering, but then you won’t be privy to the kind of messages they are sending. If we live in an Information Economy, not knowing what other CUs are doing on twitter is like walking past a $100 bill and deciding not to pick it up.

    I’m in the same boat. I like a lot of the CU people and am happy to follow them on Twitter and bask in their every character. Others…not so much. So I’ve been working on a way to be able to keep my finger on the pulse of what Credit Unions are saying on Twitter without having to follow everyone of them.

    I’ve recently been working on and have finally released the first version of The CU Filter. To me, this is a great first step in staying on top of information without having to read every ounce of it in real time.

    I hope you and your readers find it useful.

  9. June 5, 2009 10:41 am

    I think it’s also important to remember who you’re targeting. Personally, I’m glad that a lot of credit union professionals are following my credit union’s tweets; however, I’m not writing form them. My target audience is our members.

    The reason a member might follow is probably different then why another credit union or ad agency might follow us.

    With that said, I do agree with what you’ve said Gene. It’s way too easy to turn Twitter into simply a promotion machine…and that would be a mistake.

  10. June 9, 2009 12:39 pm

    Excellent point, Gene. Right now I work at a CU and we are earnestly seeking ways to find genuine ways to communicate the value we bring to members’ financial lives. In a world so full of noise, it’s truly hard to find ways to connect effectively. Twitter is not the answer to increasing sales, but it is a great way to share and think.

    Great blog!

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