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Riffing on the Subject of Twitter

Chris Sacca, @sacca, had many well-considered views on Twitter today. As someone who knows far less about the company, has far less history with Twitter, and has literally zero investment in Twitter, I want to double-down on a few of his views here.

1. Twitter is it. Whether you love sports, world events, or gossip, nothing beats Twitter for real-time G2.

2. Twitter is much too tricky to start using. Most of you reading this will have been on Twitter forEVER. I just started a few years ago. I read tons of how-to’s on the net to try to limit my public humiliation. Huh? I did not read ANYthing when I got on WhatsApp. I know, I know, not the same. But, do you want a few billion users? They are not going to read how-to’s.

3. Live events. Definitely need a way to plug into live events on Twitter. I’m not following XYZ sport but there’s a sudden death match that the whole world is watching. Get me there now.

4. I have a place in my heart for Meerkat, so let’s just call this aspect live streaming, not any one product name. Live steaming is crucial. The revolution will not be televised (anymore). It will be live streamed. Twitter, you are the delivery system for live streaming.

5. Hearts, read receipts. Yeah, yeah, yeah. People love all of that stuff. Surely Twitter can figure that out.

6. Management. I don’t have a lot of opinion on the management. Our own company keeps me too busy to study Twitter in depth. But I will quote a canny CFO with whom I worked at a startup. He used to wryly keep a moving box in his office on BOD meeting days, on the premise that it might be his last day. He was joking about the box, but not about what he told me: “To the investors you’re either a hero or a zero; there’s no in-between.” It’s hard to manage The Street.

@maureensf

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Genesis of a new blog

A year ago I started running our company’s Twitter feed. It was my first experience with Twitter. Twitter is its own realm. I’ve learned a lot. Ultimately, I think that most companies need to be on Twitter. However, the data show that even a lively Twitter feed does not drive people to a company’s website. Don’t expect that. At the same time, there is a presence and a community which can be built on Twitter which is valuable and rewarding in its own right. I’ve even met flesh and blood, terrific people, in real life, from running our feed, something for which I am very grateful.

On the creative front, keeping messages interesting, on-point and slightly entertaining in 140 characters when X number of the the characters will be gobbled up by URLs and credits, is its own pleasant little puzzle. 

It must be said however, that Twitter is an echo chamber. There is a lot of noise. And it seems to me that Twitter does appeal to that monkey mind that humans are prey to. Twitter can be a colossal time sink. People are clearly addicted to Twitter, and to be fair, to Snapchat and you-name-it. It’s not harmless. Where did I find the time to run our company’s Twitter feed? From my own long form reading, such as my dear New Yorker magazine. There is reason to be wary and mindful of Twitter. I can see that some people are compelled to tweet 60 times a day. That’s not for me. For me that feels like brain damage. 

Take a look at Jack Dorsey’s Twitter feed, @jack. Jack has a good knack for the brief tweet and he finds some great content. Does Jack tweet all day? No. Really take a look. Typically not even everyday. He’s got a rocket of a company to run, Square, and Twitter to nurture. He’s got the semblance of a real life. He travels. He dines. Jack Dorsey does not tweet all day. Twitter is fine, but Twitter is not to be confused with life or with focused, deep thought.

Recently, I’ve been inspired by the blogs of a few people whom I follow on Twitter. They seem to share a low-key, genuine style.* Reading their blogs and feeling the neurological ache of micro blogging, it felt like time to start a new blog. I don’t expect to post lengthy pieces. But there are a few things swirling which don’t lend themselves to 140 chars. 

Welcome to my piece of the world. Please feel free to join along.

–Maureen

*In case you would like to check out those blogs, here are the Twitter handles of those writers in chronological order of my discovering them: @eugenewei, @aliciatweet, @davidlee. They all have links to their blogs on their Twitter home.