Twitter Should Be A Two-Way Conversation, Not One-Way Like Most Use It | Unskippable - Marketing Keynote Speaker - Jim Kukral

Twitter Should Be A Two-Way Conversation, Not One-Way Like Most Use It

A few weeks ago I quit Twitter because the information overload was too much for me. Now today I’m reading posts talking about how Twitter is referring tons of traffic to certain people’s blogs like Jeremiah.

I completely agree. I LOVE Twitter. I quit it because I was unable to feel like I could keep up with the conversations. There was too much to take in.

So should I go back to Twitter-land?

Well, I’ve thought about it, but here’s what’s stopping me.

I don’t think it’s fair to have a one-sided conversation. For example, there are certain “big name” bloggers who have thousands of followers, but do not reciprocate, or follow, those users back.

You know who you are.

To me, that’s crap. So I should let a few thousand people follow what I have to say, and not listen to what they have to say in return? Bogus. To me, Twitter is a two-way communication tool, and you’re either going to participate both ways, or you shouldn’t participate at all in my opinion. It’s common courtesy?

Do I have a point or what? I think I do. And if you agree with me, how can you possibly find the time and effort to stay up on thousands of Tweets a day?

If you disagree with me, answer this. Is it ok to use Twitter to just dump your life out for everyone else to read and not care what anyone else is saying?

I want to go back to Twitter, and if I do, I’ll just talk to myself and not listen to anyone else? Seems… wrong?

Armano has more. And Techmeme.

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Fred @ Newest on the Net - December 11, 2007


I completely agree with you. Twitter just doesn’t feel right. I never feel like I am talking to anyone. Instead, I just shout out quick blurbs. Does anyone really care?

I love the links that I read off of twitter, but the dialogue or social aspects are severely limiting.


    Susan - February 6, 2010

    I know I feel like I'm talking to the wind and being ignored anyway. Guess I'm not cool enough.

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Shawn Collins - December 11, 2007

Hey Jim –

I agree that it should be a two-way communication, and I try to follow most anybody who elects to follow me.

But some folks are tweetaholics that hammer out many dozens of tweets per day.

That’s excessive to me and I typically unfollow them.

Eric Rice - December 11, 2007

Yup, and I’m one of those that thunder Twitter. Not my fault there’s no threading and not my fault that the API made it so MORE apps can be made for desktop apps that leave those SMS users who get vibed every nanosecond, in the minority. (SMS seems so one-way and minimal tech anyway, talk @ us all you like, technically. Hopefully you won’t ‘conceptually’ talk @ us. Lots of big names do that.)

I’m not unique in that, though. It’s emergent behavior. Someone posts at Tweet and a few people respond, or respond with a question, and that’s five times the amount of derivative traffic. Even worse is that Twitter’s weird software design puts us in to a position to have to shout out to others to get someone’s attention. (If you don’t follow me, I can’t send you a direct message). That will generate more traffic than needed. Since one post can cause a LOT of responses (just ask a question and watch how fast the answer comes in.

One of the common answers to why people use twitter is ‘that my friends are there’ and that just sets the stage for activity.

The problem that needs to be addressed is how it CAN be a timesuck and it CAN be a stage and, well, probably will be. “Just manage your time” is easier said than done. And now that the spammers have arrived, it’s becoming weird. How many times do Lionel Trains need to follow me, sheesh.

One other thing that peripheral services do– allow for the auto-cross-posting. So every Utterz, every Seesmic, all of it, can be polluting our own streams unless we create multiple accounts (great for the numbers game, heh).

I wrote a rather detailed 2 part piece called “Soylent Twitter” after hitting 10,000 tweets. I put that service through the paces and tried lots of weird experiments. It opens the door to a darker side of social media that we’re in denial over, or just plain refuse to talk about.

Good Luck, Jim!

Aaron Brazell - December 11, 2007

Hey Jim-

Come back to Twitter. Yeah there’s big names that won’t reciprocate. So what? Have your own conversations with those that do. I’m an example of someone who is not in the realms of a Scoble or Dave Winer or Shel Israel that has made Twitter a home for me and I do have ocnversations with people that DO reciprocate. Come on back and have a conversation with me…


Twitter Dave - December 12, 2007

Well … legislating how people communicate is not a great idea. Freedom is important. Some don’t reciprocate, but why shouldn’t Twitter resemble the real world? Everyone need to find their own way. If you’re there, you can help them do it!

John Dowdell - December 12, 2007

“There are certain “big name” bloggers who have thousands of followers, but do not reciprocate, or follow, those users back… To me, that’s crap.”

I use my single Twitter stream to track what other Adobe employees are doing. Do you think that’s wrong?

Using it as a chatroom doesn’t tend to work too well, from what I’ve seen.

(I think it’d be great if such “social software” offered various levels of engagement… multiple aggregation lists on Twitter, for instance.)


Jim Kukral - December 12, 2007

@John, so you use Twitter to listen to what others have to say instead of just talking to them? I think that’s great, not wrong. Thanks for stopping by.

@aaron, I’m flirting with coming back with a 95% reduction in followers.

Shawn Collins - December 12, 2007

> I’m flirting with coming back with a 95% reduction in followers.

You’re going to block interested people from following you?!

Jim Kukral - December 12, 2007

@Shawn, I meant friends. Although I think it’s bogus to have people follow you and not refollow them, which is my point.

monawea - December 17, 2007

I thought the who point of Twitter was to let everyone know what you are doing. That’s what they ask you – “What are you doing”. I have never thought of it as useful tool for two way communication. The whole setup is one sided in my opinion. But the one-sided conversation seems to be what attracts a lot of people to it. At first I was very confused by the whole twitter concept but then quickly became addicted. I am not sure how it happened but it did.
When you “follow” someones twitters you are doing just that – following not necessarily conversing. I find it interesting to see what everyone is up to but don’t usually respond.
That’s my opinion on the subject anyway ;)

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