Twitter is Like a Ball of Clay – Part 2

ClayConsider this a followup post to my original Twitter is like a ball of clay post. I saw a couple of videos tonight that gave me some additional ideas to further refine the concept and answer the question, why do many people still disregard Twitter as trivial messaging?

The first video is Barry Diller chairman of IAC. He has barely if at all used Twitter and says it’s not a “natural” advertising platform in addition to disregarding it as trivial. It’s also not natural for people to jump out of perfectly good airplanes, but many do and they get a singular experience that cannot be attained any other way. Nothing is normal or natural about social and new media either. That’s why it’s called disruptive and revolutionary. This new marketing world requires a new way of thinking that Barry Diller cannot grok which is ironic since IAC owns a number of great Internet properties.

The second video is White House press secretary Robert Gibbs mentioning that Twitter is, in fact, blocked from White House computers. He does so very casually and he indicates that, at least for him, it doesn’t really matter. It’s not as egregious as Barry Diller, but still somewhat dismissive.

So why? Why do these prominent people, and many others, view Twitter in this way? I think the answer is that Twitter is like a ball of clay. If you’re not willing to pick it up and try to do something with it, it will just be a ball of clay, which is not terribly useful on the face of it. And that’s the problem. People look at Twitter and say ” ok, it’s a ball of clay, I don’t get it”. If you’re not willing to look beyond the surface. If you’re not willing to pick up the clay and mold it into something useful for yourself, you will never, ever get it. Twitter is not some whiz bang social media, demographic, statistics dashboard from on high. It is not a spoon fed, pre-packaged marketing widget. This is what too many marketers want unfortunately. Twitter and much of the rest of social media is something you have to work with your hands. Yes, like working clay you have to get your hands dirty. If I can push the analogy maybe a little too far, this is a good thing because you get a real tactile feel for and a connection with your art (marketing) like never before.

Twitter is a tricky technology because it’s value runs below the surface. I will admit to not seeing it myself at first. I ignored Twitter for a few months thinking it sounded quite dumb. But I gave it a chance and more importantly I went deep with it. The more people I followed and that followed me the better it got. I was patient and it took time to build up to where I am today. It’s something else common marketers don’t have, patience nor the creative zeal to mold the clay and teach their clients to mold the clay.

And that’s what I do at Connected World Media. I teach my clients how to mold the clay. I teach them how to view Twitter for what it is, unlimited potential and how to tap that potential for their benefit.