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prepromI’ve been “into” twitter since September so that makes me somewhat of a veteran in today’s world of online media. 

twitter, unlike other forms of social media has been embraced by those of us who are 25-54 with particular emphasis on the latter part of that demographic. It is the first social media that was not originally used by young people and then spread to a more mature audience. That demographic news, along with some questions from a buddy who’s a twitter newbie, got me thinking…twitter is in many ways, like the Junior Prom.  (With his permission I’m using his questions in italics, along with my responses.)

 
How do you feel about the lock/unlock process of protecting updates ?
I never use them and here’s why. Locking your updates is the equivalent of standing against the wall at the Junior Prom. You remember, that awful insecure feeling while everyone else is out there on the dance floor having fun or at least pretending to have fun? But you’re here stuck by the punchbowl and you can’t summon the courage to go out and say “Hi” to all those new kids who just walked in from the rival school.
Initially I thought – Nah, if I’m puttin it out there with twitter, it is nothing to hide… Then I started gettin followers, some obviously to deliver advertisements, or sniffing for leads  – and it made me wonder how wise (or unwise) it might be to leave no restrictions… So I switched the lock on.
Frankly I almost never follow people with locks. It’s an automatic turnoff to me. Sorry, no dance with you Mister. I want someone who’s willing to take some risks here…after all I’m in PR and Marketing!!  To avoid the spam thing I look at each person’s profile before I decide to follow them back. I can honestly say I’ve only encountered one true, certified nutcase (I blocked him altogether) and I just don’t follow the people who look like super advertisers.
 
Now that I see it though, I notice the icon (lock) by my name, and don’t see it on nearly everyone else. Does this brand me as a Noob, or might is be useful initially, as I have rejected several that were obvious advertising robots.
To me the twitter folks who hit you with the instant automated direct message are just like the kids who got drunk at the prom. They’re outside puking and making idiots out of themselves while the homecoming king and queen are over in the corner making out. That’s because they (the king and queen) have a relationship that started with a few shy glances and grew. That’s what twitter is all about. Forming relationships with folks, one step at a time. Provide each other with helpful information and just let the karma grow. Do not get up in people’s faces and shout about how great you are.(That is what spam DM’s are to me.)
 
I’ve looked over the ‘help’ section on the web page, and it mostly covers the basics.
The key to starting on twitter is following people who have similar interests to you. Eventually you will get up your courage and branch out to others as well. You can start  by following some of the major twitter gurus too and watch what they do.
In the end, just like at the prom, twitter is ultimately a popularity contest. The people that are helpful and provide useful information and links to interesting articles end up winning more followers. The spammers, well, they’re still outside, trying to freshen up.

Follow me on twitter @MarketingMel.

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10 Responses to “How twitter is like the Junior Prom”

  1. Ken says:

    Good stuff, Mel!

  2. maryellenmiller says:

    Thanks Ken. Always appreciate your feedback as a fellow professional communicator.

  3. Don’t forget the guy who come to the prom with a box of candy and walks around all night asking everyone to buy a candy bar. Never asks anyone to dance, never has a personal conversation, never hangs out with the kids at the dance. Those are the folks who, the second they connect with you on Twitter, send a DM asking you to visit their site to buy whatever it is they’re selling. Let’s get to know each other first, then mention the candy bars at school next week!

    • maryellenmiller says:

      Thanks for your comment Kristi.
      I completely agree about the guy selling candy bars. That was where I was heading on the king/queen comment. They had built a relationship first and were now enjoying the “fruits” of that. The guy who got up in my face shouting, smelling and drunk with his own auto DM’s and blatant advertising is still outside as far as I’m concerned.

  4. Hi
    I’m a newbie in the Twitter thingi, but I have find that its really cool tool
    if you want to promote yourself (or any other service you may like).
    Its not the most intuitive and easy to understand.

    But thanks G.d for ppl like you who helps ppl like me at their first steps into the Twitter system.

    Thank you for the post

    Amit

  5. RMG says:

    Nice writeup MEL, and thanks for the Twit-Tips… Now that I’ve been twittery for a week or so, even I feel like an ol`timer – and have suggested it to several friends and associates. Not so much for the promotional aspects, but for the news gathering and collaboration capabilities. It is amazing how quickly my new magnet has attracted a small following of like-minded folks.

    It appears that you have stepped away from the wall, and up to the punch bowl yourself – and selected a nice theme for your blog. While I wish I could have provided that dance lesson, I’m glad to see that you summoned up the courage to bite into it. I’m still available if/when you have future questions.

    So, maybe if I offer to help you get started with Skype, you’ll just go download it yourself and start it up… You will be pleased at how easy it is to teleconference (even videoconference) with Skype. Hummm… if all my students caught on so quickly…

    Take care /;^)

  6. maryellenmiller says:

    Thanks amigo. Yes, I spent Saturday morning giving this blog a facelift. When I started writing it was strictly a catharsis and I wasn’t even thinking about the look at the time. But of course, as all good marketers know, ultimately it always is about the image. Skype will definitely be on the agenda. A few other things to do before that however.

  7. annhandley says:

    Mel — I love the sentiment here: “To me the twitter folks who hit you with the instant automated direct message are just like the kids who got drunk at the prom. They’re outside puking and making idiots out of themselves while the homecoming king and queen are over in the corner making out. That’s because they (the king and queen) have a relationship that started with a few shy glances and grew. That’s what twitter is all about. Forming relationships with folks, one step at a time.”

    BRAVO! Well said.. *and* funny!

    @marketingprofs

  8. maryellenmiller says:

    Thanks so much Ann. Glad you enjoyed it.
    Mel

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