One of my favorite Web 2.0 sayings came from The Cluetrain Manifesto, as relayed by John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing:-
“Markets are like Conversations – Talk is Cheap and Silence is Fatal!”
But please THINK what you write in 140 characters & how it could be misinterpreted!
In a “conversation” face to face you can correct instantly any misconception.
If it’s a “live” Twitter convo, you can also correct fairly easily.
BUT if it’s time-shifted in any way, so you send something which has to wait till “after tea” or overnight for a response, the person reading may jump to the wrong conclusion about your chosen set of words, or maybe even just one word!
It was a Friday so the regular Twitter practice had begun – under the guise of #followfriday many Tweeple spread a bit of joy, love & kudos by recommending that their own followers consider following others that they have had good interactions with in the past week or more, it may even be just for the great information or insight they provide. It’s a good, fun, particularly “social” practice, and it’s what Social Media is all about!
In my case, I picked up on some recommendations by a wonderful marketer that I hold in very high esteem – virtually hanging on their every word!
I found that one of their suggestions had 16 followers & NO updates!! So I mentioned it in a DM back just in case it was a mistake or maybe the interactions had been offline, ie. face to face, that we would have less knowledge of.
I used the word offline “dealings”, which hindsight shows me, left room for misinterpretation!
This was the classic case where it was left overnight before I discovered my words had been taken in the wrong context. I had never dreamt of anything underhand (call it naivety if you like – I’m one of life’s innocents in that regard, always have been!)
However, my Thought Leader had taken it that I had inferred something dubious – I never meant to, and for that my profuse apologies!
But please take it as a lesson that some things in the Twitterverse need a bit of consideration, if only because of the “delayed reaction” effect!
The global move to greater openness and transparency heralded by the engagement & conversation enabled by Social Media is, I believe, one of the greatest shifts to be experienced by mankind – proving that a connected world is truly a smaller world, bringing us all closer together and able to feel more a part of the “whole” than ever before.
It’s fantastic, and it’s only just beginning, so it’s great to be part of it. Just watch your Ps & Qs a bit!
As a sign off, It also taught me that you seem to be able to delete the offending message completely – I didn’t do it – I know I wrote it (boy, do I know!), but it seems to have disappeared completely from the Twitter system – not retained by my Tweetdeck or Seesmic, or Twitter itself. (Thank you!?)
It has still been a lesson hard L1RND for me!
Have a great week to come, and Think On.
Howard J Moorey
May 30th, 2009