December 13, 2012, 6:00 am

What Nobody Else Will Tell You About Twitter

by: MD    Category: Alternative Income
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Is social media all that it’s hyped up to be? Do you totally need to be on Twitter?

I decided to look around to see what sort of information I could dig up about the monetary value of social media and what it’s really worth.

Social media made up less than 1% of online traffic and sales on Black Friday, according to IBM Smarter Commerce. This is directly from this article on USA Today.

That doesn’t sound very impressive. Everyone’s always praising the gospel of Twitter. There never seem to be any concrete answers. This is why I tried a little experiment.

I did something unthinkable this week. I stayed off Twitter .Yes, it’s possible. With a little perseverance and tons of tenacity, I was able to go on a Twitter fast. As a result, I’m comfortable with telling you what nobody else will tell you about Twitter.

Let’s get started…

What did I learn from my Twitter fast?

That you can actually get work done when you unplug from it all! I bet that news  must surprise you. It’s actually really surprising how clearly you can think and how much more focused you are when you’re not constantly inundated with Tweets.

I figured out that being on Twitter isn’t as important as some marketing blogs claim it is. There’s nothing magical that happens on social media. You don’t miss out on life by unplugging for a bit. You don’t lose out on hot dates either.

The only thing you lose out from not being on social media is that you have to keep your jokes to yourself or text them to a buddy. When you think of something witty, the natural reaction is to immediately post it to Twitter for everyone else to indulge in your jokes.

This leads to an important question…

What exactly is the value of social media?

Probably nothing. If an increase in social media presence and advertising didn’t help online retailers during the busiest shopping day of the year, then when can it? How much of your business can Twitter really drive? Not that much.

Why does everyone tell you to get on Twitter then? Because it’s easy advice. It’s effortless. Go on Twitter and get business cards. This beats finding clients or working for free to build referrals.

Whenever I work with students at my site, Start Freelancing Now, I stress the idea of finding someone to pay you for your work. This is a million times more productive then going on Twitter and worrying about hashtags #wasteoftimeandanexcusetowritejokesthatarentfunny.

I recently had a buddy start a business. For some unknown reason he feels the need to promote his business on Twitter. I don’t want to get into details because the idea sucks, but Twitter is the least likely platform for it to thrive on. He just has his mind set on using Twitter because it’s the buzzword of the year.

What nobody else will tell you about Twitter is that it’s an excellent opportunity to pull some jokes and stay up-to-date or even to the second on news. It’s nothing special when it comes to your business. And no Donald Trump won’t retweet your awesome business idea no matter how much you try.

Why should you get off social media?

You need to produce!

Once you start producing you can return to social media as a triumphant hero with articles and results to show for your absence. That’s if you happen to be a writer. If you’re running any other sort of business, I personally feel it would make more sense to focus on honing your craft instead of just reading news or celebrity tweets.

It’s important that you do things that matter in life and in business.

Is social media really that bad?

Not at all. Social media is 90% of the time nothing more than a productivity killer. However, it’s amazing for chilling out, reading news, shooting the breeze, or just interacting with cool people.

Twitter is also an exceptional tool for networking, chatting with friends, keeping in touch with clients, and reaching out to potential customers. I love using Twitter to shoot the breeze with readers or to bounce ideas off each other. It’s really fun. I also like to share my articles and to look for interesting articles that my friends have written.

Twitter just shouldn’t be the linchpin of your business operations.

Oh and what about Facebook? I don’t mind Facebook at all. It’s awesome for staying in touch, posting embarrassing photos of your buddies, and killing time.

And before you slap me across the face or share examples of how social media drives profits — just hold up! While Twitter is all for fun, you can find clients or work off Facebook. I know many examples of this. My good friend landed a new job off Facebook. Other friends use Facebook for their freelancing businesses. My kettlebell instructor just setup a Facebook page to work on using new clients. Facebook can work for some of us. Twitter is just an excuse to try to be witty.

That’s what I learned from staying off Twitter. Have you thought about abandoning social media for a period of time? What’s the impact of social media on your business?

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Comments

Many people and businesses are attempting to use social media because there is so much hype surrounding them. I can see how twitter can add value and sales to a business BUT not at the expense of so many other more productive things you could be doing. Getting that balance right I think is the key and going cold turkey (or trying it) for a while is a great way to assess that balance.
Cheers, Quinn

I view twitter as a network tool to network with fellow bloggers and it definitely works for that.

I agree with you re: using Twitter for business. There’s no justification for spending a ton of time on there because it usually doesn’t result in sales. That said, for bloggers, Twitter is an amazing networking tool, as Lance mentioned above.

Thats actually a really surprising statistic about Black Friday, but it makes sense if you think about it. You’re right; Facebook is much better for actually interacting and driving business than Twitter is. Twitter is a good place to go to find information but not necessarily build your company, although it is good for bloggers who want more readers to visit their site.

[...] shared the truth about Twitter last year. Now I want us to wake up and stop [...]