Twit World

Sunday, 9:50pm
Reno, NV
The hounds of Hell are now following you on Twitter…” (Email in a dream I had.)


I just wanted to share a few thoughts about social media.

The topic came up in my coaching program (the Radio Rant). People are understandably baffled about the cornucopia of ways available to gossip and reach out to touch other people.

And nobody has 4,000 friends. I don’t care what your Facebook total is.

Yet, many top online marketers (and politicians, and journalists, and probably the guy making subs at Quizno’s) are obsessively writing 140-character neo-haiku on Twitter, including me. I’ve had an account since mid-summer, and I’ve been playing around with it almost daily for weeks at a time.

Then I get bored and ignore it.

The good part: I have reconnected with a few old friends from across the globe. Of course, I could have just as easily reconnected with them via email, actual mail, or the phone. (Does anybody say “telephone” anymore?)

But, no, it’s been Twitter where we have the majority of our contact.

And I’m not sure what to make of this.

I see my colleagues almost frantically searching for ways to monetize their Twitter accounts. The Holy Grail would be to discover a tactic that justifies the time we spend telling strangers where we’re at and what we’re doing. (“The heat just came on. My nose itches. The little dog is laughing…”)

I find it odd that a good pal will tweet something, and I’ll reply (with my typical charm and wit) within seconds… and he won’t even see my reply. It gets buried in the avalanche of responses from his 4,000 followers.

Or — horrors — I’m starting to suspect that (like Britney Spears) my friends aren’t actually doing their own tweeting at all. They’re hired some ghost-writer drone to slam out YouTube alerts and push new marketing agendas.

Joe? Polish? You reading this?

So, for me, the “social” part of the medium is murdered in its sleep when so little actual social interaction takes place. (I guess you could argue that Direct Messages takes care of that need. But then, DM is really just a short email, isn’t it?)

This thing is NOT defining itself.

Anyway… here is what I wrote in my coaching forum about Twitter. Take it for what it’s worth.

And after you read this… I would like to hear what YOU think about all the social media sites, and they’re affecting the culture and the way we do business. (Personally, I don’t know of a single dollar having been earned from a tweet, from anyone. Enlighten me, if you know something I don’t.) (And no fair claiming anything vague like “brand recognition” or any of that shit.)

Here’s my post:

My 2 cents on social media. By little Johnny Carlton.


As you know, I’ve been logging onto Twitter for months now. About 20% of the time I use it to announce biz stuff — blog posts, a new launch, a new product.

The rest of the time, I’m performing pure social interaction. That’s what pleases me.

I call my tweets “Twitter Bombs”, because I toss them out into the grid just to wake people up and cause chaos.

I am seeking the give-and-take of witty repartee, like the brassy (and extremely funny)
sessions I have with other writers in the bar after a hard day of seminars.

The advantage of Twitter is that it’s instant interaction. You tweet, and the folks still awake, or alert to action on Twitter, respond.

I’ve actually re-established some long-dormant friendships through Twitter.

The DISadvantage of Twitter is the same instant interaction element.

A blog post stays up until you post again.

People come to a blog, and read the first post — so if you put something up of real value, you can engage large numbers of people with it.

Plus, you can archive it, and make it easy for people to access even years afterward. (I’m always getting comments on old blog posts from 3 and 5 years ago.) (Not sure why year 4 gets no respect.)

No such archiving exists with Twitter.

Just as in a real party, your witticisms and observations and brilliance pass into the ether as soon as make them. Within minutes, others tweet and move you off the main page.

I don’t think there is any habit in Twitterville of going back through old tweets to see what you missed, either.

If you’re following more than a few people, you’ll have hundreds of tweets, sometimes, in an hour or so. Anything you missed is long gone… unless you have more time on your hands than God, and can’t think of anything better to do than drift lazily through a thousand old tweets looking for something interesting.

It’s like texting, for me. I’ve heard it called texting for adults, and maybe that’s accurate.

My nephew, in college, uses it ironically — his tweets are little bits of language art, absurd or weird or confusing (kind of like Seinfeld asides). He’s establishing himself as smart and irreverent — Twitter, for him, is a way to define his personality to others.

I would be more addicted to Twitter if more people would respond to my Twitter Bombs.
(Though, often, I get dozens of great replies in real time. See the “Anybody want a beer?” tweet-fest I had going a couple of weeks ago on my page at

I usually tweet late at night, when I’m on Miller Time, so I’m feisty and looking to play a little.
I have people in Australia and New Zealand who respond, but only a handful in the States.

Out of the 4,000+ folks supposedly following me.

Just my perspective.

I don’t think the form will last long as it is. They have to monetize it, or sell it to some media giant.

It will change dramatically, soon.

Or vanish. That much is almost for certain.

Odd to think that Twitter is just over, what, a year old now? What’s the next new social media thingie lurking in the coming months to enslave our brains?

I dunno. I tweeted today, several times. Tried to communicate with someone (no reply), left a smart-ass comment with someone else (they loved it), offered up some news stories for general consumption (no consenus yet on what my followers think about any of it).

I’ll probably announce the posting of this blog on Twitter later tonight.

Oh, the irony.

What do YOU think?

Are you using ANY of the big social media very much? (Blogs don’t count. Blogs rock.)

Can you swear to me that you’ve seen actual monetary results from using this stuff? (So, you know, you can claim it’s now integral to Operation MoneySuck for you.)

I’d like to know.

No rush. This post will be on the blog for years…

Stay frosty,

John Carlton

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  • Topics about Culture » Twit World says:

    […] Shirasmane added an interesting post today on Twit WorldHere’s a small reading…this… I would like to hear what YOU think about all the social media sites, and they’re affecting the culture and the way we do business. […]

  • nudgeme says:

    I’ve been using Twitter for a while now, and before the hype began. Being based in the UK, I’ve been trying to find out to what extent UK small businesses are currently using Twitter, esp the non internet marketing types of business. 02 recently undertook some research on this and found that 1 in 10 small businesses interviewed were making cost savings in relation to recruitment and marketing of up to £5,000. It’s this sort of research which small businesses are looking for to justify jumping on the bandwagon.

    Here’s the link to the research findings for your info.

    All the best


  • Simon says:

    I have one client who cited Twitter as the place where they first heard of me.

  • Simon says:

    To manage the thousands of followers, you need to use something like Tweetdeck, so you can put your faves in a group and never miss their tweets.

    • Absolutely Tweetdeck helps to make sure you never miss an important friend’s babble.

      The new Twitter Lists feature is also a big help, depending on how you group those you want to hear from/about.

  • Twitter is like those cocktails where people gather to speak themselves out without ever actually listening to each other. If you can make a sale at a cocktail you can make billions out of Twitter but, as for myself, I can’t figure out how one can actually sell something to someone that is not listening.

    • William Cato says:

      Hey Alexis,
      Do whatt John Reese is doing. Write an ebook or manefesto about twitter. It will probably sell.
      look up a giant on twitter, his name is John Haydon, he has a twitter book for non-profits.

  • Also, to keep the conversation going. This little anecdote from a recent Ad Age article and the response the person quoting gives are on point:

  • I see people on Twitter with thousand of followers. Clicking to follow or accept followers is what most people tend to do. I made the decision to send a personal (not automated) greeting or message to each person who has their message area turned on. I may not get to know each one, but it is all about quality, not quantity for me. I have make some amazing contacts. I know Twitter has been a positive in my life with many benefits unfolding. Taking the time to communicate is key. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but I enjoy meet and greet.
    Debra Oakland

  • Kevin Rogers says:

    I can count on one hand the times I’ve discovered something worthy or entertaining via witter. Yet every visit is an atrocity of mundane-ness.

    It’s strangely addictive, but overall I still don’t like it.

    However that twitpic Ashton Kutcher posted of Demi bending over in her underwear… that was kinda nice.

    I unfollow serial posters in a heartbeat, though. Feels good too, like slamming the door on a drunk who won’t stop babbling.

    This whole Tweeted affair will only accelerate the vanishing of attention spans everywhere.

    I’ve seen three-way Twitter conversations play out between people sitting together at a dinner table. Sad.

    Is all conversation now wasted unless it gets social media play?

    See, now I’m worked up.

    Screw it. I’m taking a stand… leading a face-to-face revolution… I’m quitting Twitter altogether.

    (Just one more little peek in on Ashton Kutcher first.)

  • web designer mom says:

    was my comment deleted from this website? what happened?

    John Carlton replies:

    Nope. It’s here.

    We’ve never deleted non-spam comments on this blog. All opinions, feedback, and grumbling is allowed and encouraged.


  • Great comment Kevin. I’m off to follow you on Twitter! And Ashton as well.

    I’ve found myself on twitter on a daily basis and while I have come across some cool/interesting stuff there, it still remains more of a distraction than a necesary marketing tool.

    I’m sure I have made a little money using it by tweeting about different offers or tweeting links to opt in pages…but at what cost? I have somehwhere in the range of 200 followers so I’m a small fish. I’ve considered getting more but it’s already crowded at 200.

    I think Twitter can be a useful tool for making announcements but it can also be a time suck more than a money suck (at least for me at this point).

    One good thing I see about it for those that have a following: it makes you more human. People who follow you seem to have a glimpse into your world. So i do think it can be a relationship building aid for those who use it wisely.

    But I agree with John that blogs rock! Maybe we should all just use Twitter to get folks to our blog like John did to get me here…things that make you go hmmm

  • Great post John, I didn’t get twitter at first either, but after time, I came back to it and it’s been one of my best “social networking” tool of all. I think mainly because the relationship, and instant communication factor.

    In terms of traffic, twitter does bring me traffic, when I check my stats, I can see about 50 – 100 visitors a day from twitter to my profile, and that’s from using it on a regular basis…

    Terrance Charles

  • Karen says:


    “I find it odd that a good pal will tweet something, and I’ll reply (with my typical charm and wit) within seconds… and he won’t even see my reply. It gets buried in the avalanche of responses from his 4,000 followers.” Little JC para 10.

    How true…. I find this odd too! Frustrating isn’t it!

    Your Pal

    John Carlton replies:

    Karen, of course, was Halbert’s notorious colleague down in Key West… and whom I’d lost touch with, happily to find again after many years through the wonders of social media.

    But it was the blog, not Twitter, wasn’t it, Karen?

    Anyway, very glad to hear you’re settled and happy back in Kiwi Land, and I always respond to your tweets… when I’m online. But you’re right — probably too often it’s “cracked a beer, Spring hath sprung, looky the stars, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz” and I’m gone. This is what comes of using Twitter as part of Miller Time winding down…


  • John , I am running a marketing experiment on Twitter and I am sure will be interested.

    A few minutes ago, I tweeted the following:

    “Help! I need suggestions for a brithday gift to my 3 y.o. kid. He is hyperactive and already has a bike!”

    I also tweeted this message in Spanish and Portuguese since I have followers in the U.S., Latin America and Brazil. Most of my followers are self-entitled “social media marketing experts”, just take a look at the list and you will recognize many among the people in there.

    The experiment outcome: NO ANSWER.

    Hey, this time it’s not yet another marketer trying to sell you something. It’s a loving father eager to empty his pockets to buy a special gift to his beloved son in his third birthday.

    And not a single one of the many “savvy internet marketers” who supposedly follow my updates tried to sell me anything, nor indicated a client or a friend website where I could find a killer offer to spend my money at.

    John, I am sure you will agree that sales is not about talking your guts out all the time. It’s also about listening to what the customer is trying to say. If those “social media marketing experts” stopped talking just a bit and began to just READ the people they pretend to be following, they could more probably find, here and there, a few opportunities to make some real money out of Twitter.

    I will repeat this experiment everyday from today to my kid’s birthday, next April 19th, just to see what happens. I bet the outcome will be identical one day after another.

    And, surely, if you can’t find a way to SPEND money in Twitter, there is no way you will be able to EARN a few bucks from it.

  • I’m kinda relieved to hear this. I’m on twitter, but I never remember to tweet and I’m not sure why I care what a zillion strangers have to say. And I don’t know why so many strangers are following me (maybe because I’m following the likes of John Carlton, Michel Fortin, etc.).

    I haven’t been able to figure out why this is so good for marketing and I’m glad to learn I’m not just being dim-witted. 😉

    Ken Evoy of Site Sell has said for along time, though, that Twitter just doesn’t deliver enough value in return for the time spent on it. He considers it a low-return investment.

    I also got into FaceBook as a marketing tool, but I’m finding it much more fun to catch up with old high school classmates, friends, and family members.


  • I don’t like Twitter at all. Big waste of time.

    I prefer spending my time writing copy, researching markets, scaling and optimizing advertising, and creating products.

    You know 30 minutes Twitter a day is 15 hours a month. That 15 hours can get you a sales letter up for a product which, if done correctly, can make thousands of dollars every month, for years to come.

    I see Twitter as a complete misuse of time for Marketers. It’s about as far away from Operation Moneysuck as you get.

    Blogging does rock though. Although I only read a very small number. Too much damn noise on the Web. A good tool in Firefox lets you block sites which you may waste time in, like Forums. It’s helped me tons.

    Anyway, glad to see others not buying into the whole ‘Twitter Mania’.


  • Hal Hoadley says:

    Hey John, I’m with you, I tweet with a beer in one hand and a mouse in the other. I have no frickin idea what most of these tweeters are doing online except sending cripted messages and asking you to go see their tiny URL. Most of these people are insomniacs that have no life other than the internet. And what’s up with all these people with 5 figure followers. Do they really think they’re that popular? I guess it could be cool to say, yea man, like I got 29,567 following me. Where the heck are going that that many people would even want to follow them.
    I’m just trying to keep my name out there. I keep changing my profile and adding more stuff that I know how to do and after 3 weeks i only have 300 followers. I just wish if they’re gonna follow me that they would buy something.
    Good post John, gotta go, need to check out if i was tweeted today.
    bottoms up,

  • Kawika O. says:

    Great post. I don’t get it either. It’s not even collective monologues like most forums are. It’s random thoughts that I, as the reader, am supposed to decipher and somehow find it interesting or useful. I’m too lazy to do that.

    I agree, it might not last in it’s current form. I wonder what’s next?


  • John:

    I am always entertained and educated by your posts.

  • Earnst says:

    What’s all the fuss about this twitter crap.
    You have to be a nit wit to twit, I think.
    Too much twitting and you will have to park your thumbs in your ass crack at night to keep arthritis away.
    No thanks.

  • William Cato says:

    Hey John,
    Loved the post. I feel the same way about twitter. For me it is kind of a wast of time. Although, since I started my plumbing business I have connected with local residents and business people in my area. Which is great, because I am not in the yellow pages yet.
    I have my business blog posting all of my articles and blog post to twitter almost daily. This should establish myself and company as an expert in my feild.
    Now another social media place I plan on using is Squido. I don’t know much about face book. I might try it. I have heard some good things as well about Digg.
    I think I might try a few of these social sites, but I am not going to get my hopes up.
    thanks for letting me rant.

  • Kathleen says:

    Hi John, Interesting post about Twitter. I’m pretty new to the whole having a website and trying to drive traffic to it (about 2 mos. now). With every tweet, I try to give my followers actionable information and my following is slowly building with people who keep following me. Ken Evoy suggests not monetizing until you have 20 -30 pages of valuable content so I can’t tell you about making money with Twitter yet. What I CAN tell you is that my traffic stats show that every time I tweet with a link to an article on my site, my traffic spikes – big time.

    Concerning Alex Kauffmann’s experiment with “no answers”, I’m wondering if many tweeters are more voyeuristic in nature when it comes to business. They seem more than willing to follow your links, but ask them for a direct response and you get silence. It’s the same with forums and even cocktail parties. You have a few who do all the talking and most listen and absorb. Maybe using Twitter for business is like coaxing a scared cat out from under the bed. It takes patience, a friendly voice and the offer of food.

    Hopefully when I start to monetize, Twitter will lead people to my sales page via a link to a high value content page that shows them the way. Sales on the internet seems so… “lead me through the woods, around the lake to see the pretty scenery, to the inn for brunch and only after all that will I trust you enough to go to your house to discuss your offer.” Twitter is just another way to get them starter on your winding path.

  • The Master says:

    I already have millions of followers… on their hands and knees… at my beck and call… no need for twitter.

  • Ozclicks says:

    I must confess I was wrong about Twitter …

    I now think of it – like how some people treat golf clubs – some use them for entertainment, some use them for self torture normally blaming the clubs … and some use them to generate millions of dollars a year once they master the technique.

  • Ozclicks says:

    I should also add – Tweetdeck or similar type product is essential tool to use if you want to maximise the efficiency of your Twitter campaigns.

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  • Andy says:

    I agree with Alex and William above. Twitter works for some people and some things. The good thing (or bad for some) is that it’s getting more marketing orientated now. ‘Twill be interesting to see what it’s like in a year’s time. Totally different, and not so ‘socially’ orientated, I bet!
    Thanks. Andy

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