The Oreo tweet: The double-stuff you can’t do by committee is king

A few seconds after I saw the Super Bowl power outage “Oreo Tweet” last night, this is what I tweeted (note: the time-stamp is GMT). Below it, you’ll find my “Monday morning” 5:30 a.m. thoughts:

Monday morning, 5:30 a.m.:

I’m not a fan of long explanations of the self-evident, but I know there will be so much mis-interpretation of why “the Oreo tweet” was brilliant, I wanted to weigh in before the SEO folks (Huffington Post) start their “10 lessons you can learn from the Oreo tweet” re-hash.

So, here are my two take-aways for “professional marketing” use of Twitter. (Note: There are countless ways to use Twitter, and far more important ways, than mere marketing.)

1. Content isn’t king. Brilliant, creative content is king.

Twitter is something you’ll never understand until you stop listening to what gurus and experts tell you it is and use it yourself for a few years. (See.) Only then will you understand Twitter beyond buzzwords like “engagement” and “conversational.” You’ll comprehend it at a visceral level — as a Heraclitean river that always looks the same, but is never the same. You’ll know how its impact comes from knowing the role of professional users of Twitter: marketers, media-types, tech-savvy, pop-culture hipsters — the tipping point “influencers” — the types who have large numbers of followers (connectors) who, in turn, have large numbers of followers. Twitter’s brilliance is like the brilliance of fireflies in a Mason jar, however. It lasts a nano-second. And for marketers, it requires the type of courage you rarely find at a company the size of Nabisco: It must be done with no corporate safety net other than telling the wittiest, smartest, fastest, craziest creative people you can hire that the only rules are don’t be stupid, never use a Hitler reference, and don’t get the company sued or me fired — and get out of the way.

2. Like blogging before it, Twitter rewards instantaneous, improvisational creativity — and courage. I wrote about the role of improvisation in blogging in 2006 (it’s more important than grammar). Here’s some of what I wrote then:

“While integrity, honesty, ethical standards of journalism, etc., can still govern the practice of blogging, the “process” of institutional editing and legal compliance and corporate communications, et al, all conspire against someones ability to extemporize or be courageous. Like independent film and music, independent blogging will likely always be the most compelling….It’s like jazz.”

It will be hard for those who read about the Oreo tweet later to understand why it was “brilliant” — however, if you experienced it live and you are a long-time “professional” user of, and student of, Twitter and the social media that came before it, you witnessed it in the same way a jazz musician who hears someone insert an amazing lick into a jazz standard understands that the lick will change the song forever.

Linkage: Buzzfeed – “How Oreo got that Twitter ad up so fast” Quote: “The key? Having OREO executives in the room, and ready to pull the trigger. ‘You need a brave brand to approve content that quickly. When all of the stakeholders come together so quickly, you’ve got magic,'”