Lately I have had the opportunity to observe two competing organizations, both of which use Twitter as a tool in their business communications but who do so in very different ways. For me this has been a living example of two opposing approaches to using Twitter, one good and the other really NOT. Here is one way their approaches differ which helps illustrate my point.
Megaphone or Hearing Aid?
With one of the users in my informal case study the organization is using Twitter as a Megaphone. They speak but do not listen. It is easy to recognize a Megaphone Twitter user by simply looking at their totals for “Followers” vs. “Following”. For the Megaphone Twitter user the number of followers is always larger than the number of users they are following. It is usually a large disparity between the two. The offending user I have observed has hundreds of followers while following barely a handful. For me, this sends the clear message that they are not interested in what anyone else has to say. Fail.
On the other hand, the other organization in my case study is a true Hearing Aid user. Their totals for followers vs. following are a much more even balance. But more important than that, this user often replies to or retweets information from other users they follow, something the Megaphone Twitter user never does. They are using Twitter not only as a way to broadcast their own information, but also as a listening device. They get it, this is truly “social media”, an interaction not a message board.
I would not begin to suggest that I could say if one approach is better than another. It all depends on what you hope to get out of using Twitter I suppose. What I can say though is that in my own list of users that I follow I value the Hearing Aid users much more than those who are Megaphone users. When it comes down to it, the Megaphone users do not stay in my “following” list for long.
So who are you, a Megaphone or a Hearing Aid user?
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