Laura Lee

I am the author of Broke is Beautiful and a bunch of other books.

4 Simple Things I’m Sick of Seeing on Twitter

1. Constant talk about “marketing” and “branding” outside a business context. (Especially from those espousing anti-consumer views.)

When you think of yourself as a “brand” that you need to “market,” you’re trying to pitch, not converse. Buying and selling has its place– in the real financial market. It should not be applied to everything in life. If you want READERS it is better to frame your thinking in terms of having a point of view and a focus that is consistent enough to make people want to subscribe and talk to you.

2. Using Social Networking primarily to talk ABOUT social networking.

This is a bit like having a telephone conversation that goes:

“Can you believe we’re using the telephone?”
“I know. I love the telephone.”
“I’d like to know how you are using the phone to enhance your conversations.”
“I have been able to call many people and discuss how we can use the telephone.”
“Are you using the telephone in business?”
“I’ve been able to pro-actively develop synergies for a win-win customer experience using the power of telephonic networking.”
“That’s great. Do you dial with your right hand or left?”

There are some contexts in which it makes sense to talk about the phone itself; for example if you work for the phone company or if the cat chewed through the phone cord and you have to explain why you are taking him to the vet.

For the most part, though, we have much better uses of the phone than talking about the phone itself.

3. The Word “Monetize.”

You don’t “monetize” your accounting skill by going to work for a firm. You don’t “monetize” your free time by taking a part time job. And you don’t “monetize” your writing talent by publishing a book. (Really, trust me on that last one.) So why don’t we drop the euphemism and say what we mean. “I’m trying to make a little money with my blog.”

4. Articles in the “4 Simple Things” Format

I believe glossy magazines may have started this one. The “list of things” article format with its easily digestible pieces of advice has been with us well before social networking came along. Even publishers like the “list of things” format for books. (I’m guilty myself. I wrote two books with “number of things” titles/subtitles.) I think it’s time we retired the format. Can we at least letter our lists or something?

Comments

  • May 4, 2010
    Prayag Pal
    @prayagpal

    I can totally agree with points 1 to 3, personally I feel like it’s mostly due to the fact that Twitter is still at peak of it’s Hype cycle.

    Nobody emails about how to email, or SMS/MMS about how to do that either. Those are considered as mainstream known stuff. Whereas people are still catching on twitter and most are quite confused about what do they really want to use this medium for and even how.

    Quite a lot of brand still miss out on the point that ’social’ & ‘engage’ is about having right conversation in a social forum, not flooding the timeline with micro press releases with links.

    On the 4th one, I gotta say I actually like those…. it’s like reading a headline before selecting to click open the full story. And yes it does get boring after the same tip gets reposed 10 times by 10 different people and also there crops up 5 different version of how to manage your followers or get more of them :-)

  • May 4, 2010
    Chris Clark
    @intel_chris

    Just a small disagreement with your dislike of the articles on how to use social media more effectively. I find those articles very useful and I no longer consider myself a complete neophyte. Of course, what I find useful about them is the ones that discuss etiquette. As far as I can tell the social norms of this media are still developing and will continue to develop as long as it is still “fresh”. These articles are more like do you say “hello” when you answer the phone or do you say “hello, chris clark here”, which is more polite, which protects your privacy, what context do you use each in?

  • May 4, 2010

    Laura, this is hilarious! But you’re so right. But I have bad news for you – the numbers are going away – the LMNOP’s of Social Networking OR the V’s of Twitter Marketing (unless V stands for “Viral” – which is a disgusting word I’m sick of seeing) just isn’t that catchy :)

  • May 4, 2010

    Also, Justin Bieber as a trending topic. Gosh darn him and his boyhood charm. Good post. Totally in agreement with the above comment though sometimes those articles are helpful or interesting.

  • May 4, 2010

    Loved it.
    We are restricted by a thing called “bounded rationality”. The market version is “7 plus or minus two”. And many a good book has leveraged “The 7 …” as a title.

  • May 4, 2010

    Points 1 & 2 I agree with. Points 3 & 4 I disagree….

    Point 3 – we talk about monetizing because up to that point it was free. when you train as an accountant, you expect an obvious connection between getting paid and doing hours as an accountant. The same is not true of putting in the hours online, most times there is no payoff, which is why people talk actively about monetizing.

    Point 4 – that’s just because you’ve been over exposed. It still works and works well. Heck, stuff that John Caples discovered at the beginning of the century still work well in marketing today. ‘Old’ is not necessarily tired.

  • May 4, 2010

    LOL. I totally agree with Chris Wall’s post.

  • May 4, 2010

    E. articles complaining about Twitter this,or Twitter that.

  • May 4, 2010

    So given number 4, where did the numbers come from?! Maybe it is overdone but a simple list makes easier reading doesn’t it and often gives you a more compelling title, which is I guess why you used one! :-)

  • May 4, 2010

    And don’t forget spam! Including people who want to hash tag every word of their tweets in the hope that others have sympathy and add them.

    Saw some guy the other day had hash tagged #the !!

    Bharan
    BharanNarula.com

  • May 4, 2010

    I like using Twitter for ministry related info and just don’t understand it when someone who is a marketing, coaching, entrepreneur wants to follow a preacher. I surely ain’t lookin’ to make a business of the Gospel ministry.

  • May 4, 2010

    OK -not to follow the crowd – but – points 1 -3 – totally agree. Maybe it’s a Twitter generational ‘thing,’ but as a relative newbie to Twitter, I still find some of the info and format you reference in #4. Format is good because these seem to be tighter than many posts and permit to jump to the ones that interest me when done in that format. The redundancy is what drives me a bit nuts. Thanks for the ‘tips’ – keep ‘em coming – I’ll still read them.

  • May 4, 2010
    Traci Rocheste
    @throchester

    Wry smile. Like these comments. Esp. telephone chat! :-) And can’t stand relentless hard sell – how dull those people are.

  • May 5, 2010

    #2 is to funny lol

    The rest I’m ok with in small batches.

    The #’s lists..I agree with Kiesha… those will not leave anytime soon.

    People luv to know they will learn something,, and a list tells them that from the get.. makes it easy for readers.

  • May 5, 2010

    Laura, I am totally with you on #4: “Monetize.” Along with “incentivize,” “merchandize,” and “revenue stream.” Why don’t people just say “I want to make money?” I wrote an entire post about 10 popular jargon phrases that drive me nuts: http://www.bloggingbistro.com/10-popular-phrases-you-must-immediately-delete-from-your-writing/

    I think we might be kindred spirits. At the least, we share the same first name.

  • May 5, 2010

    Re #4 — I love that two of the “Related Posts” (below) are in that format :D

  • May 5, 2010

    Too funny Laura! I can definitely see what you’re saying here. Especially loved the conversation about the telephone :-)

  • May 5, 2010

    So true…….. also am tired of all these pretentious talk from people….
    great post!

  • May 6, 2010

    Things that are also annoying are those automatic direct messages. While pretending to be hand-send they only try to get you to click some link.

  • May 7, 2010

    I feel like people are getting sick because they are using Twitter extensively these days. Try to get a break here and then, may be that keeps twitter interesting for you ! ;)

  • May 11, 2010

    Couldn’t agree more w/ this article and a lot of the comments. Twitter is about community, relationships, connecting and sharing – adding value! When you automate it or make it a business transaction, you’re going against the grain…

  • May 17, 2010

    These types of articles are a gimme, but they’re still funny. And there’s a place for words like “monetize” and “revenue stream” as someone mentioned. It’s just when they’re used the wrong way, it’s rather annoying.

    I’d like to add a couple of things I’m sick of:

    1) Famous quotes on Twitter. if you having nothing original to say, keep it to yourself. We’ve heard them before.

    2) People setting up automatic Tweets every 10 minutes. And that goes along with people who claim they will get you thousands of followers. I immediately will stop following them.

    2) Coaches this and coaches that. Everyone’s a %&^$# coach these days. What ever happened to going to a good old fashioned behavioral therapist? Can we see some real credentials please? That goes for people claiming to be social media *marketing* consultants too. Of course I’m biased — I’ve spent more than 25 years in marketing earning my chops.

  • May 17, 2010

    Oops. I obviously can’t count. That’s 3 things I’m sick of…hey, it’s Sunday. I need a break.

  • May 21, 2010

    Well, here´s another thing I hate seeing on Twitter:

    Self-appointed “experts” telling me what I can and what I can´t do on twitter.

  • May 23, 2010

    You can do whatever you like on Twitter, Stian. I didn’t say these are things you’re not allowed to do. I said that I do not enjoy them. If I didn’t “appoint myself” as “expert” on my own opinions, I don’t know who else would take the job.

  • May 27, 2010

    Hey Laura, nice post.

    Unlike previous comments though, I’m not with you on point 2 nor 4….

    Point 2:
    I think that this is still something new for a lot of people and you can see some users starting a Twitter or Facebook account with no other objective than to discover what is all the fuss about. For these persons, I guess it is great to have some interesting time-lines out there.
    There are indeed blogs about blogging and books about writting books. You may not read them but then you may not follow these users eithers…
    And to finish, I bet that in the early days of the phone people were indeed calling each other to talk about this big new thing they recently purchased… ;-)

    Point 4:
    I agree with Wynne and believe this works incredibly well as I can see from my own statistics…

    Fabrice

  • May 28, 2010

    These types of articles are a gimme, but they’re still funny. And there’s a place for words like “monetize” and “revenue stream” as someone mentioned. It’s just when they’re used the wrong way, it’s rather annoying.

    I’d like to add a couple of things I’m sick of:

    1) Famous quotes on Twitter. if you having nothing original to say, keep it to yourself. We’ve heard them before.

    2) People setting up automatic Tweets every 10 minutes. And that goes along with people who claim they will get you thousands of followers. I immediately will stop following them.

    2) Coaches this and coaches that. Everyone’s a %&^$# coach these days. What ever happened to going to a good old fashioned behavioral therapist? Can we see some real credentials please? That goes for people claiming to be social media *marketing* consultants too. Of course I’m biased — I’ve spent more than 25 years in marketing earning my chops.

  • May 29, 2010

    The comment Steve made above is a direct copy of my comment written on 5/17/10. It should be monitored and deleted.

  • June 6, 2010

    I totally agree with 1 & 2. I assume 4 is a joke considering the format of this post…

    And 3, wow. That’s like saying you hate how people talk about walking. It’s putting your left foot in front of your right foot. Or it’s putting your right foot in front of your left foot. It’s a word with a number of definitions. Deal with it.

    Still, I totally agree on 1 & 2

  • June 7, 2010

    I don’t completely agree with #1. Sorry, but developing a point of view and keeping a consistent focus is exactly what branding is all about.

  • July 21, 2010

    Very good points Laura, that can surely be applied to contexts other than Twitter too!

    To me, it all comes down to being authentic – communicating online with the same respect that you would apply face to face, in order to build good relationships with interesting people.

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