Why Twitter is a “thanking vehicle”

When you think of Twitter, there are many terms that come to mind….

My initial impression of Twitter prior to my joining in September 2009 was about celebrities yakking on about themselves, and perhaps, a cynic would argue, not much has changed from the ‘old days’…!

If all the world’s a stage, then Twitter is our loud, proud and at times infuriating soapbox. There are many reasons why I have a social-media free Monday; watching the #qanda stream is but one.

Who needs 15 minutes of fame when we can have our 140 characters, and oh-so-witty profiles (the clowns who pretend they’re pretend people’s speechwriters for one confound me…..).

At least @DeathStarPR keeps it real. Pesky star systems – bam (and the dirt is gone!). Easy.

But what is Twitter really?

What do you use it for? Are you, like me, now using Buffer (thanks Trevor Young) and lists to maximise your time and to touch base with people briefly via DM, for instance?

My use of Twitter has changed over time as my priorities have changed, and I use it differently than I did pre-toddler – more often via DM and with less surfing and retweeting; though 15 minutes every week of checking my Favourites and Buffering saves time and keeps my tweeting content up.

Recently I listened again to a podcast I did a few years back with media commentator and producer Brenden Wood, who said he got on Twitter and used it as a “thanking vehicle.”

It’s a great, simple, point – you can literally reach out and thank people.

Having reconsidered Brenden’s comments, since then I’ve made time to DM people who follow me and thank them for the follow, and to go through my followers who I often engage with or favourite tweets from and drop them a quick line.

As Trevor has said in the past, people do business with people, not computers. It’s a truism, but it’s also certainly very true.

If we take time to take time on Twitter, I  wonder if our overall enjoyment of it, our overall usefulness of it may increase. It’s no different to asking your team, genuinely, how they are, or as Jaquie Scammell has done, using people’s names in cafes when they have name tags. Thanking someone for their time isn’t hard. Really.

Social media by its very nature has at its heart conversations, sharing and listening – it’s literally ‘social’. So while Twitter, LinkedIn and countless other ‘tools’ are great for us to build our own profersonal (professional / personal) ‘brand’ (…!), what’s even more true is Brenden’s view of it, a view that is as old-school relevant as some advice my late grandmother gave me years ago:

Say please, say thank you, and never chew with your mouth open.

Now, I wonder how Twitter would go in putting that in their terms of service!