My thoughts on Social Media

I am fairly new to Twitter and no Social Media expert. But then who can legitimately claim to be a SM expert, although many do? These are my thoughts based on my experiences over the past 18 months. During this time the number of followers I have has slowly grown to 3,571. Not a large following compared to some. I also starting blogging on 2 January this year.

My original intention in starting out on Twitter was to obtain business – and I have – but of a surprising kind. My ‘bread and butter’ work apart from lecturing at business schools has been to offer workshops on finance to groups of managers from companies – and I have received orders from people on Twitter to do this. The surprise was to be asked to take over the Social Media activities of two organisations – one of which operates internationally. I will also be writing blogs for the international organisation.

The best advice I received regarding Twitter was from a son when he said, “Twitter is what you want it to be”. This was in response to my constant complaints about what I regard as being inane tweets. You know, the ‘I’m at…’, ‘coffeeee’, ‘insomnia’ and so on. He always said, “Just unfollow” but my problem was that these tweeters did often post good stuff – so I’ve come to terms with that. Twitter is just what you want it to be.

After all:

San Antonio-based market-research firm Pear Analytics analyzed 2,000 tweets (originating from the US and in English) over a two-week period in August 2009 from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM (CST) and separated them into six categories:[69]

  • Pointless babble – 40%
  • Conversational – 38%
  • Pass-along value – 9%
  • Self-promotion – 6%
  • Spam – 4%
  • News – 4%

Social networking researcher Danah Boyd responded to the Pear Analytics survey by arguing that what the Pear researchers labelled “pointless babble” is better characterized as “social grooming” and/or “peripheral awareness” (which she explains as persons “want[ing] to know what the people around them are thinking and doing and feeling, even when co-presence isn’t viable”).[70]


I feel that I have made friends on Twitter. Some people scoff at that but they forget that years ago there was a thing called ‘pen pals’. Twitter has the advantage of immediacy.

I would caution against how useful the “tweets are my own” or similar are – if you drop a bomb and your employers name and your position are mentioned in your bio it could be a career limiting or ending thing – let’s not forget the model who tweeted in anger and lost a lot. People in recruitment tell me they routinely peruse the social media. While your Facebook pages may be private Twitter is not – unless you restrict access which most of us do not.

I do try to vary my tweets regarding the topic being addressed. I try and keep ‘retweeting’ to a minimum, after all those who follow me are probably also following the same news sources so why clutter their TL. I also try not to be a ‘link tweeter’ unless I find something which I think people may find interesting.

I’m privileged to have some friends on Twitter who I can ask for opinions – Google doesn’t have all the answers. I value that.

Twitter Debates. I am easing out of these. Particularly, those regarding business, politics and economics – my favourite topics. Inevitably, there are people reciting political slogans and rhetoric to which they have been subjected to by politicians. When asked for specifics to back their statements they are unable to respond. And sometimes they get abusive.

Once in a polite conversation about people whose bios state their organisations name and their position tweeting non-business matters and frankly rubbish someone who had not been part of the conversation waded in and told me, “Rubbish! Look at the research.” I asked for references to the research and these were not forthcoming. I asked again after a month and was ‘blocked’.


But all in all I enjoy Twitter. I’ve had some great conversations for which I thank you all.

I think that the various Social Media platforms are becoming an essential part of any business’ marketing messages. Sadly many businesses use these platforms as an extension of their call-centres with very little interaction taking place and very little useful content being provided – although there are exceptions to this.

The Social Media technology available is amazing and has great potential for reaching out to clients – existing and potential. However, the technology on its own is not sufficient – the provision of informative, educational and, above all, interesting content will be vital to success.


I can be contacted on:

•           Twitter – @Mel_BrooksSA

•           LinkedIn

•           e-mail –

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