Dear Columnist, No One Cares What You Think of Twitter


I have some advice for writers who think the world wants another column about Twitter. They don’t. Nor do they want another blog post. But obviously you, nor I, get that yet.

I know, I know. You’re thinking if people care that Maureen Dowd “would rather be tied up to stakes in the Kalahari Desert, have honey poured over me and red ants eat out my eyes than open a Twitter account,” then shouldn’t they care that you think Twitter is ridiculous, also?

No. And they especially don’t care that you believe Twitter is ridiculous for any of these three reasons: 1. No one cares that someone is eating a sandwich. 2. No one cares that someone is riding an elevator. 3. No one cares that someone is getting a car washed.

Today, the Financial Times’ Lucy Kellaway wrote her version of “The Twitter Column”. Granted, Lucy tries a head-fake with her column by saying she believes Twitter is “potentially the best communication tool there is” but then uses 90% of her space to tell business executives that no one cares if they get their car washed, eat a sandwich, etc.

Lucy — like most columnists preparing to write “The Twitter Column” — did a lot of research to become an expert on Twitter.

She signed on last week and used to read a few updates from business people who use Twitter. (Note: you don’t need a Twitter account to read what people write using Twitter or exectweets.) After a couple of days, Lucy had enough insight to conclude that Twitter (or Yammer, a behind the firewall enterprise Twitter-like service) could be good because “employees who happen to have good ideas could easily have more followers than the chief executive. Still more revealing would be the ratio of followers to followed, as it tells you whether people are not just talking but also listening.”

Lucy, for example, follows no one on her account. Very revealing, indeed.

My advice for columnists who are dying to write their Twitter column: Don’t. Twitter is not what you think it is.

But don’t feel alone in not “getting” Twitter. No one does.

Note: This is my last post about Twitter (for at least ten minutes).