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Why I think it’s important to keep Twitter social

Article by Ceri Wheeldon
It’s been about 2 years since I started to ’tweet’( my twitter handle is @fab_after_fifty) . The whole twitter experience has broadened my horizons.  I have reconnected with old friends and made new.A variety of  business opportunities have emerged as well.

It is truly amazing just how well you can get to know people in a series of  tweets of 140  characters. I have had the opportunity to meet many of the people I have interacted with on twitter – all have been just as lovely as I had expected. I would like to think that through twitter I have had the opportunity to meet true friends.

It’s important to be social on twitter

I do feel it is important to stress that twitter is classed as ‘social’ media. The word social is so important. Much as if you were you in a social setting you would engage with others , listen to their news – twitter should be the same. Broadcasting a sales message is not social!  As in any social situation, twitter is about building and nurturing relationships. People can be mutually supportive, both socially and commercially, but this , as in the real world, is based on trust and shared values. Building these relationships takes time. Similarly for anyone looking at twitter as a sales channel, it’s not well received (by me anyway!) to be asked by  someone you have never interacted with to retweet their service or product, which may be totally unknown to you, to the twitter community you engage with or are part of.  We all like to help friends by sharing good ‘finds’ and recommending others who have delivered a good service. We are mostly uncomfortable with recommending the services of strangers we know nothing about.

So please, keep the ‘social’ in twitter – and don’t take offence if others (including me) don’t retweet your sales message on demand!

Ceri Wheeldon

Ceri is Founder and Editor of Fabafterfifty.co.uk She is a frequent speaker at events and in the media on topics related to women over 50 , including style and living agelessly. With 20+ years experience as a headhunter Ceri also now helps support those looking to extend their working lives.

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  1. Penelope Young

    December 20, 2011

    I agree with you Ceri. I find many of my new followers are just following me because they want to sell me their products. I don’t follow back and they slip away.
    I like twitter because I love the challenge of saying a lot in a few words. It’s taught me how much we witter on rather than succinctly tweet. Twitter is fun and like you, I’ve made new friends and kept in touch with old ones through the medium.
    I have also attracted new business but only as a side effect of encouraging people to look at my website because of my, hopefully, sometimes informative, occasionally witty and often reflective tweets.

    • Ceri Wheeldon

      December 20, 2011

      I totally agree with you Penny. My thoughts and experience on twitter have been very similar. I find that I am increasingly being asked to ‘tweet on demand’ by people (or companies) I have no relationship with. I always decline. I am always happy to hell and support people I trust and respect. I love twitter , and really value the connections I’ve made – it would be very sad to have twitter become a channel used only for broadcasting sales messages.

  2. Joanna Davis

    December 20, 2011

    Hi Ceri,

    This is a good post and you’re spot on. Relationships online are built through people getting to know each other in exactly the same manner as offline. That can involve the exchange of all sorts of information ranging from the profound, to ideals we hold dearly right through to simple mundane comments about our daily lives. It’s all part of the mix and is particularly important to to having an online existence.

    One of the benefits about communicating with people via an electronic medium like twitter is that it might make us think a little more about how we interact with people, how we converse with them and facilitate the back and forth interactions that create good conversations. This is much more difficult to do online, hence we might learn from the challenge and hone our conversational and engagement skills.

    I agree that asking people to re-tweet sales messages is not good and I very rarely do this now, though I did do so occasionally at first!. I do run a business and yes we do have promotions, which I’d like people to benefit from and to share, but I realise they have to be the ones to pick up the message and share it.

    I hope that as people get to know us they’ll become aware of what we offer and hopefully we can add value to people’s shopping experiences. It’s an ever changing challenge! and we are adjusting as we learn.

    So yes! keeping twitter social is very important.


    • Ceri Wheeldon

      December 20, 2011

      Hi Joanna, it sounds as thoughyou’ve struck the right balance! 🙂

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