24 Dec 2008

Twitter: My Scoble-sized Addiction

I missed the big “zomg-Scoble-spends-too-much-time-on-Friendfeed” drama started by Michael Arrington earlier this week. Personally, I don’t care much about Robert Scoble.

Er, that probably came out wrong. What I mean is that Robert Scoble is not like me. He is not my kind of people. Robert Scoble could stop blogging forever and he would still be Robert. Scoble.  If I stopped blogging, I’d be completely forgotten in 48 hours. And by hour 72, any small contribution I have made to the blogosphere would be attributed to someone else.  Probably to Susan Esparza who has already claimed my desk.  [Merry Christmas, BC Writers!]

Andy Beal brought up an interesting point about whether or not you should be relying on third-party platforms to grow your brand. For all the time you’re investing on Twitter, it could be gone tomorrow. It could close down, change format entirely or just blow up because Rae Hoffman won’t stop yelling at Streko.

That’s a terrifying thought.

I’m no Robert Scoble, but I have invested some time on Twitter. Okay, I’ve invested a lot of time on Twitter. But, to me, it’s worth it.  I’ve reaped some pretty big rewards.

That said, maybe Andy’s right. Maybe it is dangerous for me to be spending so much time producing content for a site like Twitter when I don’t own it. Twitter could be gone tomorrow. It could change beyond recognition.  It could go the route of Ask.com and become a site I’m embarrassed to be affiliated with. And if that happens, all the hours I’ve spent on Twitter, all the content I’ve created, all the pics of knee socks I’ve posted €“ it’s all gone.

What I won’t lose, however, are the connections.  In early September Rae Hoffman challenged me to grow a pair, to unlock my Twitter account, and stop denying people’s request to follow me (I had purposely kept followers below the 300 mark). The result has been this:

[click the picture to make it bigger or just use the link.]

It’s not mind blowing by any means, but it means a lot to me.  It’s an extra 1,000 or so people who are suddenly hearing me and being exposed to whatever content I offer up to Twitter.   I’ve met some great people through Twitter. People who have become active at We Build Pages, who have exposed me to breaking stories and issues, who have made me holiday avatars and folks who just inspire me to be better and to think differently.

More importantly, I’ve met people who I probably wouldn’t have met had I just stayed in my little We Build Pages blog box.   Maybe I’ve blogged less than I would have otherwise and I didn’t launch lisabarone.com this year like I had hoped€¦but I engaged more. I talked more. I listened more.  I gained more.

Twitter will die one day. Whether it’s tomorrow (please don’t kill Twitter on Christmas!), six months from now or five years; it’s going to go away. But my hope is that I’ll keep the connections and that’s the value to me.  Twitter will die, but something else will rise up to take its place. It always does.  And when that new application surfaces, I believe that my old community will refind me and that I’ll be exposed to even more new people.

I don’t think I’m hurting the blog here or myself with the heavy investment I make in Twitter. I think I’m playing by the new rules of content on the Web. The rules that say it’s not people’s job to find you anymore, it’s your job to find them.  So, if you need me, I’ll be on Twitter finding people and talking to them and sharing things. I’d love for you to come find me, too.