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Can you suffer from Twitter withdrawal?

24/07/2013

All the training I’ve been on and blogs I’ve read suggest that you shouldn’t start using tools like Twitter for your organisations if you can’t keep it up.  Little and often is the key according to those who know far more than me.

I was delivering workshops for most of last week and didn’t use Twitter at all for three days.  Once I got to this point, I decided to hold out for Twitter withdrawalthe rest of the week as an experiment to see what would actually happen for me personally and for our organisation.  Here’s what we noticed.

For the organisation

  • Sounds obvious but I had fewer inbound email requests for free help and advice from charities – and we usually get at least a good handful every week
  • No new sector events have come to my attention and been added to my calendar beyond those we proactively target anyway
  • I have no idea what various sector thinkers and experts have added to the collective ‘knowledge’
  • I don’t know of any inspiring or award-winning marketing and communications campaigns that I haven’t seen directly
  • There have been no direct messages regarding future projects (perhaps the most crucial point)
  • The number of daily new followers has fallen
  • The number of readers to this blog has fallen

Personal

  • I haven’t been directly approached by a single charity for a donation.  I ordinarily retweet charity tweets if I support the cause or feel that a particular campaign or message is impactful.  Consequently the sharper ones tend to follow up with either a direct message on Twitter or track down my email address and get in touch that way, usually to thank me for the support and to invite me to make a donation.  I’m wondering whether more and more charities are using tool like Twitter to drive a more cost effective ‘new supporter’ strategy?
  • I haven’t exchanged any thoughts with any of my friends living overseas for over a week
  • I haven’t sponsored anyone for anything
  • I have spent considerably less time being ‘distracted’ by comments and ideas that aren’t necessarily a priority for me or Bottom Line Ideas
  • I have had more time away from my desk and ‘devices’
  • By Thursday I didn’t feel that pressure to get back to Twitter to social media because of all the things I suspected would be in the list above

Overall, I can only really draw out a few very simplistic conclusions from my week’s experiment:

  1. Personally, I would rather be away from a desk, spending more time engaging with people than my smartphone
  2. That said, the capacity for learning and sharing ideas via Twitter is huge and was something we can all benefit from (with the appropriate filters in place)
  3. It can be a distraction from your organisation’s point of view if you aren’t focused in what you’re trying to achieve with Twitter’s help
  4. In today’s society, we are very much out of sight and out of mind… raising and maintaining a professional social media profile is key to competing if you don’t have the resources to network and schmooze the old-fashioned way

So, I’ll be back on Twitter ASAP but perhaps with more of a focus on the aspects that add value and with an emboldened ability to avoid distractions.  Until my holiday that is….

What would you miss or change after a break?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. 24/07/2013 9:19 pm

    Kevin, good post as always. I wonder if you might be able to reframe your #1 conclusion. Think of Twitter as “spending more time engaging with people THROUGH my smartphone”?

    I love your #3. Too many people focus on the where (channel) or the what (post, pic) of sharing and forget the why (to positively impact business).

    Glad you’re back!

    • 30/07/2013 1:02 pm

      Hi Erin and thanks for your thoughtful comments. I completely understand where you’re coming from with #1 ‘conclusion’… in my case, I really do want to spend more time eyeball to eyeball and face to face with the good folks of the world…

      That said, a smartphone is indeed a great tool to engage with people, especially if location, pictures etc add value to your message.

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