[This post is part of the ongoing series The Complete How To Guide for Twitter Marketing]
As an internet marketing blogger, there is an endless supply of topics for me to cover. The market is changing quickly, and blogs like mine are only trying to keep up. Facebook and Twitter have dominated the social media discussion for awhile, but there are always newcomers like Foursquare and Quora. The one thing we rarely talk about, though, is what will happen when these services go away. What will we talk about when Twitter closes it’s doors?
Now, don’t get me wrong, this isn’t is a ‘Twitter is dead’ post, but, I do want to clarify some things about it. So, let’s break it down.
Twitter is a tool, nothing more and nothing less. It just happens to be the first real-time communication tool to hit mainstream popularity. For reasons that belong in another blog post, Twitter captivated the hearts and minds of the world, but then again, so did MySpace.
The MySpace Effect
I couldn’t possibly count the number of times someone has reminded me of MySpace’s fall from grace. They especially love to bring it up as I am informing them of the benefits of Twitter. They say, “what if Twitter crashes, like MySpace.” As if the slight possibility of Twitter shutting down or loosing market share should prevent us from using it now. Well, my answer is simple. MySpace didn’t go away, and I mean that both literally and physically.
For all intensive purposes, MySpace died. Facebook sucked the life right out of it, but if you really look at the core of what MySpace was, it never went anywhere. MySpace was one of the first sites that allowed people to connect with friends online. It had many flaws, and provided Facebook with a perfect market opportunity, but at the core, inter-network communication with text, photos, and videos was the meat of the service. For most people, the only thing that changed was the URL they typed in to see their friends.
What Twitter Really Is
This is my point. Twitter is a tool. What is provides for us is a platform for real-time communication, and that is exactly why is has changed the world. Perhaps someone will come along with a better method for facilitating that conversation, but real-time exchanges will always be a part of our universe.
Take the telephone as an example. It enabled us to communicate by voice, over long distances. The tool of the telephone has changed significantly over time. The companies responsible for the infrastructure have even changed time and time again, but you would be crazy to suggest that the telephone is going somewhere. I think it’s here to stay.
Killing Tool Talk
The very thing that I spend time talking about each and every day on this blog isn’t really Twitter, or Facebook. It isn’t even the internet. Those are just the current tools that we use to deliver messages and create conversation. They are the medium, but we are the brush. We have been introduced to new tools for communication and connection. Now we are just trying to figure them out.
I think this is why it is so important for us to not get caught up in the tools. I don’t like to spend a lot of time writing how-to guides and step by step manuals on using Twitter. I don’t even like blogging about the hot new tools on Twitter. Why? Because they change, and they will keep changing. The thing that I would rather talk about. The thing that you need me to talk about, is the change that these tools are ushering in, and more importantly, how marketing needs to adapt to them.
So, take this as my charge to the social media world. To all of the so-called social media experts and consultants out there. To all of the marketers trying to learn the ropes. Don’t bother becoming a Twitter expert. Become a real-time communications expert. Figure out how to use tools like Twitter for productivity and human engagement. Figure out how to use them to spread messages and understand crowd thinking. These underlying rules of communication will last a lot longer than the newest way to measure your Twitter followers. Trust me.
So, get busy. Go communicate in real time, and for now – use Twitter.