Twitter and the loss of storytelling

I love stories that start with “Once upon a time …”. I enjoy discovering a new book that engages you and transport you through the ages to times long gone or times that might never be. In a few words, I love the art of storytelling.  A practice that to this day remains the only way to communicate history to the new generations in remote communities across the world.

Fast forward to the digital world of today and we find that conversation is now the “new” base for forward thinking bleeding edge marketing techniques.  The miming of the physical world in the internet. Talking to each other turns out to be the key to a closer engagement with your customers in a bidirectional route. And where there is hype there is money to be made reflected by the amount of experts that surface. Browse twitter for a couple of minutes and you will find so many social media experts, visionaries and consultants that becomes overwhelming.

Blogs most certainly are in the spotlight when it comes to new marketing and conversation as a thought leadership piece in many B2C [and some B2B] marketing campaigns. But blogs are so last year. The new shiny toy for conversation is twitter. 

However, two things seem to be missing most of the time in this live conversations. Context and purpose.

You can safely start a conversation and follow it through in Twitter with one person or up to ten if you are an accomplished multi-tasker (my wife can probably hold about 30 conversations at the same time).  Context is kept and purpose is known to you and those that follow you and have the patience to follow your conclusions and thoughts all the way through.

But more often than not, you will find you have half conversations. Not necessarily valuable conversations because very few people will  tell you their truly most precious thoughts in a public forum before they are fully baked.  Our thoughts (the good ones) are worth a lot. 

In real life you can be powerful and convincing through a story. Through the tone and body language you use. You can be true and be public with a selected group of people. In twitter you work a lot by connecting to people at a superficial level. The question is why do we rather tweet with the person sitting next to you at a conference and share it with the rest of the world (aka your followers). 

Twitter has broken into 140 char pieces the human quality of story telling. Piece meal story telling. Disjointed, without a solid context and a certain (yet not monetized) value for getting the message out. 

I use Twitter and I enjoy it more some days than others. I just hope Twitter is just one more tool to the social media box and not the definition of it.

I would hate an internet world where we have half conversations  140 char a time and when you look back there is no legacy through which you can be remembered or a story that can be told about you.

2 Comments

  1. How about Twitter replacing search?

    On several occasions, Twitter has been able to provide answers to situations that Google was not able to solve… with recommendations that I trust, like stay at X hotel (for a new city) eat at X restaurant.

    Just the other night @bbluesman from China (someone that I was not following) gave me the answer to a WordPress problem I had been searching for over 4 hours. I was about to give up, I sent the question to Twitter and in less that 10 minutes I had the answer.

    http://twitter.com/OracleJulio

  2. Good post.

    I think twitter “conversations”, as disjointed as they are, allow you to get to know a person’s personality enough to determine whether you actually like them. You can determine whether you even want to hear their story.

    Twitter is a gateway app. It leads to blogs, and websites, and products that you might not have engaged prior.

    Twitter isn’t the conversation – it’s the conversation starter. Case in point: I’m here talking to you now.

    I also think twitter is the ideal platform for half baked ideas. Except usually it has more value for the follower than the poster. You can post a half baked idea to twitter and get two dozen half-baked thoughts, all from different perspectives, about that idea. It grows, it evolves, and if you take action on it, it manifests.

    I’ve started twittering before Googling to get answers.. and, to me, this is a sign.

    Probably just a sign of my laziness though. lol

    Take care,

    @seanmarler

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