I don’t like Twitter.
I realize that’s a decidedly uncool thing to say in today’s business environment, but I’m going to say it anyway, loud and proud. I don’t like Twitter.
For starters, I’ve had a 45-year-long love affair with words, and Twitter is no friend to the complex and exquisite rhythms of language. As Mark Twain explained in one of my favorite quotes, “The difference between the almost-right word and the right word is really a large matter — it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”
Secondly, by paring communication down to 140 characters, Twitter forces users to simplify their thoughts as well. For me, a person who thrives on nuance and subtlety, it’s disheartening to read a tweet like, “Learning about a safe open water swim! #swimsafe #fcef #workthedream pic.twitter.com/dHnMTyDtfW.”
(On a related note, my favorite word of all time is “defenestrate,” meaning to throw something, or someone, out a window. The term is perfect for certain occasions. Yet to use “defenestrate” in a tweet would burn an enormous amount of valuable real estate.)
Of course, users can attach a link to any content from Newtonian physics to the Magna Carta, but I’m willing to bet that most links, especially challenging ones, are ignored by other tweeters.
But my feelings about Twitter don’t matter. Not one bit.
There’s a dynamic at work here that’s far more important than anyone’s middle-aged rant about the dumbing down of American rhetoric.
Twitter is powerful. Twitter is relevant. Twitter is entrenched. If every laptop and mobile device in the country were suddenly defenestrated, people would still manage to find a way to tweet about it — the medium is that important.
Here’s an amazing stat: Every day 400 million tweets are sent out by users. That’s 100 million more tweets than there are people in the United States. Here’s another: Twitter has 500 million users. While I’m not sure how many of them are active, the sheer number of people who’ve set up profiles is staggering.
All this is to say that any business owner should be using the tool on a daily basis to its full advantage. This is even truer in the pool and spa industry where consumers are frequently looking for advice and inspiration about the product we sell.
That’s why we’ve published a two part Twitter guide for builders, retailers and service professionals with an accompanying video that shows you how to set up a profile. The first part appeared in our April 26 edition, and the second part starts on page 42.
So even if you share my grumpy resistance to that bright blue bird, put your feelings aside and start using this valuable tool.
And while you’re at it, please follow me — @ErikaMTaylor.
See you there!