Sunday, August 9

Social Interaction and Balance

When you question anything new, exciting or technologically innovative, you risk getting thrown off the cool and hip train. And, if you are smitten with Twitter or Facebook or Alltop and it brings you wild success and deep satisfaction then this post is not for you.

I've been trying to twitter for a few months, after all 60,000 social media experts can't be wrong? Can they? It's taking up way more time in my thoughts than any reasonable person would imagine and I couldn't understand why, until this morning.
I realized that Twitter is like the lunch room in high school. The cool kids sit together, run the show, and then there is everyone else. I'd love for David Lynch, his Interview Project, Lance Armstrong and a half a dozen other fascinating folks to follow me. But, that's never going to happen . I'm just going to tweet into cyberspace and and have it fall on deaf ears.

I thought I had offended someone on twitter by responding to a personal comment. It thankfully turned out not to be the case, but it gave me food for thought. Twitter portends a sort of familiarity, a network of intimacy, that let's face it folks, really isn't there.

I'm not comfortable hawking my wares ( I keep hearing that Tom Waits song, "Step right up") and equally bored when others do it to extreme. I don't discount the value of twitter in the Iranian elections or that Fred Wilson can point me to some valuable business information. I have bookmarked more information than I can possibly read in a lifetime. But I am also followed by a disproportionate number of pole dancers and vacuum cleaner salesmen.

Where's the balance, what's the answer? Is it a tool that will really help me run my business? Enchance my life? I'm not sure. But today is not a day for thinking any more about it. When the rain stops, we're going for a bike ride. I'm going to make some curry and a big batch of pesto. I'm going to put some new music on my iPod. And tonight, I'm going back up to my studio and fire up the torch.


PS My husband just walked by and said, "you know you could just twit (he doesn't like the verb tweet) something interesting. Just don't dance on any poles or clean floors."


T.Allen-Mercado said...

*Rubs temples* I completely understand. I started tweeting 2 weeks or so ago to push some of my writing projects. After about 3 days-of not even tweeting, but reading others tweets and getting my head around the whole thing, I was exhausted and feeling very overstimulated. I don't know how much longer I'll continue. Marketing tool of the century or not, it feels like a compromise that I'm just not willing to make at this late date.

(Pole dancing is supposedly a exceptional upper body workout)*winks*

Anji Gallanos said...

Well...I look at twitter a little differently. At first I started because I wanted to promote my Etsy shop..and then it became something different for me. I found lately I am following sites, organizations and people that share the same environmental beliefs. By doing this I get so many different viewpoints and links to a huge range of articles, blog posts, OpEds and more that I would have never found on my own. I stopped thinking that Twitter was going to be an amazing marketing tool for me and realized it is another way to get information..a more specific informational search than Google. I retweet links I think my followers will like and reply to others when it's means something. I really don't follow celebrities unless their funny.

I regularly clear out followers who only market or dance on poles. Before I follow someone I check out their tweets, who they follow and who follows them. I also ignore the constant Etsy sales and shop announcements. Twitter is a great way for me to stay in touch on topics I really care about. I think over the long haul companies will realize no one wants to pay attention to a bombardment of advertising..unless it's meaningful to them and relevant.

Ann Renee Lighter said...

I have not yet twittered for the very reasons you mentioned. I did, however, join facebook to network with other artists and keep in touch loosely with a group of old friends.
But to tweet or not to tweet? Not. Quite frankly, my life is just not that interesting and I wouldn't know what to say, mmm, er, twit.
There's only so much time and energy in the day, and you are right, some things are just more important.
I'm genuinely happy (chirping for joy) for those who tweet with gusto and enjoy the experience, it's just not for me.
That said, I'm going to go eat worms.

connie said...

I loved reading your post this morning. I do not tweet or twitter. My daughter does and I just can not wrap my head around it. I guess if I had something to promote I might give it a try but I have difficulty trying to keep up on life as it is I don't think I want to take the time. Thank you for the thought provoking post.

Hope you have a great bike ride.

Kathy said...

I gave up on Twitter also. I tried it for a while with a balance of mundane twits and promoting of newly listed items. I got lots of views, no sales and rarely a response on anything else I posted.

I found it to be a terrible waste of my time. It may work for some that can spend endless hours on there and really get to know people, but that is not me.

I am beginning to find Facebook to be the same. I do enjoying commenting on friends and family posts, but is it necessary? Probably not. I could be making tote bags.

I was thinking the same way about my blog....but I do love the writing and the people I have met. I get comments and good business advice and I don't think I could give that up.

I think Anji has the right idea about Twitter. I could see using it like that, but I don't have the time right now.

jeweledrabbit said...

Twitter was a huge time waster for me. I haven't missed it for one second since I gave it up.

uncorked said...

I try to balance my tweets between promotion (because honestly I wouldn't be on there otherwise) and conversing with others, etc- but I do sometimes forget about it for days.

The entire concept of twitter- which is supposed to be to kind of announce what you are doing at that very moment makes me uneasy as if we are saying that what we are doing only matters if someone else knows we are doing it- which is too sad to contemplate.

I do know that when I tweet a new listing on Etsy - it will get about 20-30 views and when I don't tweet about 2-10. Not to say in either case it actually sells though!

When Etsy started the Facebooks link (I am not on Facebook) I was totally annoyed because there is no way I have time to do that, too... sigh ....

Katie said...

The jury is still out on my opinion of twitter and I've yet to make it over to Facebook.
Since I get bored with things REAL fast, time will tell if I stay or if I go.

Anonymous said...

Twitter can be very overwhelming. I deleted about 800 people from my following list a couple months ago, and I'm now slowly adding people back in...

I wanted to make sure that I really only followed people that I cared to, and it feels more like a blog to me now. We have blog friends, and they are on the short list, and we continue to visit them... if you treat twitter that way, but still use it with an open mind, I think following those who really matter to you, and building repeat customers, or lasting friendships is more important sometimes than finding new ones. If twitter is not a place you want to use to 'grow' your business, then don't. Just be present. Nobody said you had to ride the cool bus to school every day. ♥

Anonymous said...

p.s. I don't have a facebook page either, glad to see I'm not the only one. It's all just gotten to be too much anymore...

Sherry said...

Thanks for the comments everyone. Cat,I admit the thoughts in your your second paragraph have also crossed my mind. Ugh. But, I too get twice as many views when I tweet something.

Tameka, yes, overstimulated is the exact word I was looking for, and yes, I too have heard about the pole dancing workout.

And dear Janell, thanks, I gave up riding the cool bus long ago. I almost forgot.


Waterrose said...

Hi Sherry! Just caught up on your posts. We moved from our desert country home back into the city, Tempe. Did I tell you this already? Lovely posts and looks like you had a great break. I am also reassessing what is important...including all of the stuff I have accumulated. And Twitter. I think I will continue to use it...I hardly ever twit my wares, but have found a few people to have fun and casual conversation with. We'll see how it all turns out! Take care.

PamperingBeki said...

Hi Sherry!

I feel about twitter very much the same way I feel about the etsy fora. That it can suck precious time away before you even realize it!

BUT, the big difference for me is that on etsy I'm just networking with other sellers, which isn't my target market. On twitter, I choose who I network with. So it's magazines, big blogs, shoppers, television shows, boutiques, etc. And it's paid off really well.

I definitely don't do the spam thing, and only post my shop link or items about once a week.

I post silly things throughout the day. I pop in about 5 or 6 times a day (with a 10 minute timer set) and RT interesting things, converse with people, and just be "interactive".

The times I do post my items, my hits go through the roof though. And I've made many sales as a direct result of twitter, as well as had boutiques contact me for wholesale. So it *can* work. But it's definitely a delicate balance.

The Silver Acorn said...

Before you completely walk away from Twitter, take a look at this webinar from HubSpot:

missbmckay said...

I'm with you. I got a lil over stimulated by reading and responding. But then again I can hardly text!

Beadin By The Sea said...

Oh, Sherry,I can really relate to your post! I'm on Twitter and I still don't understand it all. I've found a few people that actually interact with me but you're right it is all pretty superficial. Honestly, if I didn't have an online business I would not be there.
It's true when I "hawk my wares" my views skyrocket but I don't believe I've ever had a sale from it.
I am on Facebook and enjoy it so much more, but I keep it personal and use it to communicate and share with friends and family in Real Life.

Pretty Things said...

I don't care for Twitter (I don't think anyone ever reads a single thing I put on there and I can't keep up with anyone's conversations anyway) but I do like Facebook. That feels more homey to me, because I actually know people there. And it's not so darned FAST.

kellen said...
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Sherry said...
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elisa said...

Hello Sherry!
Well I think the cool kids were overrated in high school. I haven't tried twitter. I know a ton of art career coaches who say you "should" but I just haven't been interested.
I do have a fan page on Facebook but I've only got about 50 fans and they are all part of my Facebook friends who want to know about my art life. I can't remember who commented earlier but I also think Facebook is more homey. So I try to post at least once a week but it's hard to do it and not feel like I'm just marketing my Etsy wares.
Personally, I just don't have the time to do all of these technological things - I have a baby and tweeting, posting and blogging take up time - time that I could be using to paint when she naps. I do like the idea of having a timer when you tweet - or even when you blog. Maybe I'll do that?
Anyway I think that you should do what feels right to you. We can all say our opinions but in the end it's what you know is right =)

Anonymous said...

very well said elisa!