Since Oprah deemed Twitter mainstream this week , it seems everyone has now joined up. Super. Now we can have a whole nation addicted to twitter.
“I’m not addicted to Twitter,” you say. Uh huh. Then clearly you don’t know how to use it.
For those on twitter who use it, twitter provides instant access to relevant (and irrelevant) information. You want to know how to use it? Type “twitter primer” into twitter search and all sorts of instant info on how to use twitter will come up. You follow people who are HR professionals? Then you’re already getting a live stream of all you can digest info on HR, social media and HR, Jobs, how to find jobs, how to hire, how to fire, etc, etc, etc.
That said, I kinda hate twitter’s question, “what are you doing right now?” because it’s pretty obvious: I’M TWEETING. I think the question should be, “what value can you add to the conversation?” because most people are talking about the information, the links to info, the blogs, the news and the trends. And while what you had for dinner last night may get posted and read, it is very unlikely that unless you are Oprah, Ashton Kutcher or Larry King, that anyone will ReTweet this information–or become your follower because of it.
But I digress: back to comparing twitter to crack. Here are my top 3 reasons why Twitter is like Crack:
1. The “Follower” High. Yep. This thing is a crazy, incessant game. You want to be influential? You want people to care what you tweet? Then you want followers–and that, my friend, is a game. It requires constant tweeting. It requires the right kind of tweeting. It requires you to follow the right people and the right people to follow you. But once you get your game on, you’re hooked. After all, who doesn’t love the idea of people following them? It’s a huge boost to the ego–and the more followers, the bigger the ego boost. “I just want 500 followers,” you’ll tell yourself. Until you reach that. And then you’ll just want 1,000. Or 5,000. One woman I follow wants 4,000 followers by this Friday. Really. She tweeted it. And once you reach your number, it isn’t enough. You’ll want more. You’ll crave more. You’re ego will tell you that you need more…
2. The Adrenaline Overload. Stuff flies through twitter so fast that you can’t catch it all. And it isn’t always pretty because it is SO FAST. How long does it take to type 140 characters? Shorten a long URL? Retweet that tiny url? Send a #followfriday shout out? About 3 seconds. Maybe 5. And you don’t want to miss your window to respond, to retweet the good stuff, to influence a new follower or a high impact follower–after all, you’re ego wants more followers. So you send stuff fast, as fast as you can and the adrenaline is flowing and you keep tweeting and tweeting and twee—If you like fast things, be sure you can handle this. You don’t want to turn into the cautionary tale of the twit who died of adrenaline overdose from speedy tweeting.
3. The Need for Stream (aka the constant craving). If you’re a twitter addict, you have tweetdeck or seesmic. With these tools, you see everyone of your friends tweets instantly and retweet so fast it will make your head spin (as previously discussed). A little box pops up and tells you when someone has tweeted, or even better, has retweeted your tweet! And since you know that there’s a chance some good info is coming your way any second, you can’t pull yourself away from the tweet stream even for a second in case you miss something good. Really, just one more. Okay, one more. No, the next one will be a RT, you know it will be… and just like that, you’re unemployed because you didn’t get any work done for all the twitter time…and your butt got a bit bigger, too, from sitting in front of that screen all day and night and not moving around for fear of missing something. True addicts be warned! This could happen to you!
People, this is bound to get ugly. Twitter isn’t like the blog you haven’t updated for three years because you can’t think of what to say for three paragraphs. It isn’t like youtube that takes you from the targeted to the inane via slow loading videos. It isn’t like your shopping websites that lure you in but take your money. Twitter is fast, relevant, ego-satiating and probably most addicting of all: it’s FREEEEEEE!
Uh-oh. With a value proposition like that, there better be some twitter rehab business models in the works!