People sometimes ask me why I’m not on Twitter. If I get paid to tweet for others, why not do it for myself?
The fact is, I am on Twitter, though you’ll probably never hear a peep out of me. With so many social media outlets these days, you have to pick your battles carefully. Personally, I find Twitter to be a great tool in the business-to-consumer space, but not so helpful for a B2B firm like PenPoint.
Still, I do have an account (@penpointer) and I monitor it regularly. There are three good reasons I think it pays to “lurk” on Twitter, even if you’re not going to post:
- Keep up with some really smart people. There’s a lot of dreck out there, but also some real gems such as Tim Berry (@timberry) and Jeff Bussgang (@bussgang). Sure they have their own blogs, but every now and then I’ll find a little gem on Twitter that didn’t get published elsewhere.
- Get a feel for popular opinion. Google is great for searching facts, but Twitter is a much better search engine for opinions. Pluga topic such as “State of the Union” into the search box at the top of the page, and you’ll get a real-time sense of the national mood. It’s like a focus group with millions of participants. That alone is worth the price of admission (especially when the price is free).
- Manage your reputation. This is really a subset of #2 above, because for any small business owner, nothing matters more than people’s opinion of you. Yes, siteslike Yelp! are designed specifically to give you this kind of feedback, but Twitter is more immediate and broad-based.
I know that it’s considered heresy in some circles to lurk online without contributing to the conversation. Fine, I’m a heretic; burn me at the stake. I’m not suggesting that everyone stop tweeting, because obviously the whole system would fall apart. But if you’ve decided that Twitter is a complete waste of time, I’m saying you might want to reconsider. At the very least, you should keep an eye on the little birdie.