Monday, March 16, 2009

Is Twitter a waste of time?

When I opened my email account this morning I was surprised to see a message from Dean Hunt that told of his new blog post titled "Is Twitter A Waste of Time?"

I had my own article with the same name in the works, but I will simply link to Dean's article now with a few of my own thoughts.

A month ago I did a test to find out the reach my tweets had to my followers. During one day I posted this message: "If you read this tweet please DM me. I will let you know how many respond."

I posted that message six times over 18 hours during that day. It was on a Sunday, a day which I think is a popular day to post by Twitter members.
I calculated that my response rate was 2%. At the time I had 1,000 followers. I had 20 responses.

Of course the response rate will vary depending on many factors, not the least of which is the popularity of the person tweeting. But this is still a dismal result when you think of the OPEN rate of at least 30% for most newsletters.

I also understand that I asked my followers to take a DM action, not just to read my post.
I am doing more tests right now.

As an Internet Marketer, I would like to know what happens when I send a link to a free report of my own in a response to people who follow me. I am testing this now and I will report the results later, but so far I am not too excited with the results.

So, is Twitter a waste of time? I speak for myself, but even if all I wanted to do was socialize, Twitter is losing its appeal for me. I simply do not have the time to do too much socializing. I love to post my findings so other can benefit but I also need to put food on the table.

To all of my wonderful and exciting new friends I've met on Twitter: I love you. I really do and I am looking forward to seeing you on Twitter in the future since I am not going away, just curtailing my activity.

What do you think?

Here is the link to Dean Hunt's blog post:

Greg Cryns
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  1. I'd like to preface this by saying I am by no means a social media "expert", but I do think I've made some important and insightful observations.

    I absolutely don't think Twitter is a waste of time! So far just *being* there and making some updates about what I'm doing (and not even being very professional about it most of the time) has gotten me a recording gig, a guest blogging stint (a series of five posts), and friendships with people who are helping me advance my career as a musician. It's also helped me drive more traffic to my website and youtube videos.

    Do you take a look at who follows you when you get a new follower? I check every one, and I get a lot of people who are just spam following to promote some website as well as people who just follow a TON of folks and don't see every tweet, or tend to work mostly from their phone where they can control who they're actively following and let others be passive.

    Anyway, my point is that perhaps you just don't have a high percentage of quality followers. I block a lot of people (although I do leave the ones who seem genuine even if they follow tons of people), and most of the people who follow me are really interested in getting to know others as opposed to promoting themselves, and because of that, are actually able to promote themselves.

    Also, looking at your statistics, you follow over 2,000 people. When others see that, they don't expect you to be serious about following anyone, and they don't take you seriously either. People who follow a ton of people often tend to follow each other and thus may have great looking stats but very minimal results. I have noticed that people who follow a manageable number of people that they can care about and interact with are much more likely to have followers who care about and want to interact with them as well, regardless of whether they have 10 or 10,000 followers. (of course, you can't follow too few either - if you only follow say, 4 people, others begin to think that you simply don't care about them and are only there to promote yourself).

    Now, I don't want to make any snap judgments about you. I have known people who follow a lot of twitter accounts or subscribe to 2000+ channels on YT and actually manage to keep up with it all, but bottom line they are generally just keeping up and not interacting, and as I'm sure you know the key to social media is actually being, well, social :)

    So, in my opinion, Twitter isn't a waste of time unless you waste the time you spend on Twitter.

  2. Candy,

    Your opinion is appreciated.

    I agree that having a lot of followers does create a fog for social networking.

    I have established many great contacts and I also have some good resutls for improving my business.

    Notice, though, that I did not say Twitter is a total waste of time. I will continue to visit daily, but I just won't spend as much time on Twitter as I have in the past.

  3. Hi Greg,

    I hope my comment didn't come out too strong :) There are definitely better ways to spend one's time than on the internet anyway, but for me right now it's time well spent. And I'm certainly not saying that there's a "best" way to use twitter, just that some of the things I pointed out may be reasons why your response to DM requests was low.

  4. Hi Candy,

    Are there any stats that show how many people read our posts on Twitter? That would be very interesting.

    My contention is that my results mirror many others if not most others.

    How would we know?

  5. Hmm.. that's a good question. There are definitely more twitter applications out there than I know about. I think, though, the only things they could tell you are whether or not somebody signed into Twitter on a given day or how many people follow you on their cell phones. But computer geeks are generally far more magical than I can comprehend :)

    Sunday in my tweet circle is incredibly dead, although I imagine that varies depending on the tweeters.

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