Three assumptions I have about Twitter

I realized this morning that I have some assumptions about Twitter and the people that follow me.

1. I assume that my followers’ time is valuable.  (I have a high value on time).  Thus….

  • I must make every effort to have all my tweets add value to my followers’ lives.
  • I will try to make my tweets high-impact and relevant.
  • I will try to limit my tweets to 4-8 per day.
  • I will try to minimize trivial things like, “I’m at the airport”, “I’m at McDonalds”, “I love pasta” (Do you notice some people only tweet when they are travelling?)  Showing you have a life, interests and friends is an important part of your Twitter persona, but I think I’m wasting people’s time just to tell them I’m in the boarding lounge.
  • I will share only a selection of all that I’m reading, thinking about and doing.

2. I assume that my followers want to grow in influence and effectiveness. Thus…

  • I try to share ideas, articles and thought provoking content.
  • I try to identify and promote other influential people.

3.  I assume that my followers are listening and I can learn from them. Thus…

  • I can ask for their help and input.
  • I should follow many of them back, because we likely have some overlapping interests.

What assumptions do you have about Twitter that shape your involvement in it?

(If you’re interested, you may follow me at @russmartin).


4 thoughts on “Three assumptions I have about Twitter

  1. I had an interesting conversation with a colleague about this yesterday. She was talking about how tweeting or blogging to an undefined audience felt paralyzing.
    I think that the assumptions one makes as they post is affected by the audience he/she is addressing. Some of my friends want to know that I am in the airport – that my flight is delayed and other info that seems pretty banal to those outside my inner circle. If I tweet those details, they are targeted towards a certain group. I tweet because it is faster and easier than writing texts or emails to them.
    For the broader audience, I tend to agree with your assumptions more… except when I don’t. I have found that when global leaders tweet everyday happenings as well as leadership principles, etc., these people become more “real”. It is like they are letting me in on the fact that they are real people too, people who go to dinner with their friends, enjoy a beautiful sunset, or find an ironic situation amusing. I feel a greater affinity and interest in some of their conceptual communication because I know that they are more than just their jobs.
    By the way, I am going to see “The King’s Speech” for the 2nd time tomorrow…


    1. Hi Cheryl,

      Excellent points. I agree with you. Leaders who show their real side, interests and personal insights develop a greater influence online. I too appreciate this and also try to share that with my followers (just not all the time).

      The dilema with the plane delay situation is that sending a message to a subset of your twitter followers can alienate the core or majority of your followers. i.e. what about the 95% of your followers who aren’t expecting you to arrive in town? Do this a lot and you lose your influence because people stop following you except for the little airport posse, which may or may not be what you want.

      On the other hand, like you mentioned, it could be very efficient communication to let a subset of people know this detail.

      You hit it on the head. It depends on the intended audience and it ‘s helpful to clarify that for yourself.


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