Do you agree with Patrick Kershaw?

September 28th, 2009

Twitter = more than just what’s for breakfast

Perhaps predictably (as a social media consultant), I disagree with Patrick Kershaw’s verdict on Twitter in the NZ Herald this morning.

Twitter’s a fad, he says, and reaches so few relevant people as to be a big money-losing time suck.

Not sure where you’re getting your numbers (perhaps less than 250,000 users worldwide?) from, Patrick, but I read in Emarketer that Twitter predicts 18 million Twitter users in 2010.

Patrick also emphasises the importance of controlling others’ perception of you:

I believe it will become a science to manage your online presence, so that what people can find online is exactly what you want them to see. This goes for businesses as much as it does for individuals. And as Twitter is a very public forum, it goes directly against the rules I have for controlling my online presence.

He’s right that it’s a science (not just will be, online reputation management is already quite a science), he’s wrong that it’s possible – or even useful – to completely control it.

That’s because the revolution that we’re in the midst of thrives on transparency. The technology that’s being developed, and the culture that we’re forming, highly values authenticity and transparency.

Of course, that’s easy to say and hard to define. Everyone needs to reach their own comfort level with privacy, so they’re running the technology, not the other way around. It is possible to use Twitter in a small, private group, by protecting your updates. Not recommended, but absolutely possible.

That’s my two cents. NZBen has written a very gracious reply to Patrick on his blog, and it packs a punch, especially considering Ben was a Twitter sceptic once.

Also, some practical advice from Claire and GetFrank, two small NZ businesses using – and benefiting from – Twitter.

Ok, that’s my social media consultant, predictable-as-rain-in-Auckland answer. What’s yours? What did Patrick get right?

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  • caroleattwell
    Patrick needs to realise that two tweets don't make a summer!
  • I see what he's saying and I agree Social Media has the ability to lull those new to internet marketing into a false sense of security if they don't understand the basics, web 1.0 marketing.

    But conversational marketing is the future, it can't be stopped. Ignore at your peril in years to come when only savvy conversationalists have the ability to deliver what customers will have come to expect.

    In 2 years time customers will expect interaction on social platforms. I don't think it's the most wonderful thing in the world but you're crazy if you ignore it.
  • Great answer, thanks Matt. It's easy to miss what's going on without the larger long-term view.
  • Twitter Comment

    RE: @ perhaps he would be one of those that said of the car "What that new fangled thing will n… [link to post]

    - Posted using Chat Catcher
  • perhaps he would be one of those that said of the car "What that new fangled thing will never replace the horse 'n' cart!
  • True. Although to be fair to him we all judge something by our own personal experience, and our biases come through. He's probably a good sales and marketing guy in person, and in my experience, people who are good in person sometimes don't do as well online. Except for you of course Carl :)
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