...so Fast Company says in their article:
"Attention Marketers: 80% of Twitterers Are Narcissists" (check out the illustration 😉 )
Two Twitter happenings caught my attention. 1) The seismic effect of dear young Miley Cyrus deleting her Twitter account in order to "have a life". 2) It seems to be a revelation for film studios; Twitter may affect box office results depending on the film, hey, they seem to be understanding what Twitter actually is!
It's a global word of mouth booster, which kind of means that, yes you are not under the spotlight, you are under multiple spotlights, to the extent that everything is amplified at will. When a film is good, guess what, people talk about it, and I will trust (or avoid in some cases) a friends comments on a film far more than any journalist. Twitter just allows people to spread the word to lots of people quickly, maybe even people will tweet while watching the film...
So people that have thousands of followers, just cry out 'narcissist' for me, and are invariably comprised of celebrities telling people they have just been to the shop! The exception is the 20% that actually have something interesting to say, and funnily enough, don't always have thousands or millions of followers.
A few articles about the Miley Cyrus Twitter account being deleted event also pick up the fact that Twitter is not really extensively used by her current target population / fans.
But the main thing is that the companies like Twitter, be they Facebook or Myspace have taken the same approach as Google:
- We will provide you with the tools and you (can) create the content.
- A footnote says "oh and by the way we'll make money from selling adverts on your pages so don't worry the service is free!"
'Giving' these tools to the crowds has changed the channels advertising agencies and marketing departments are used to. Listening to people who discovered the internet (and the web etc.) 2 or 3 years ago and explaining it to either of the above is at the moment like the blind leading the blind.
I'm astonished when I hear people saying that the social media technologies allow companies to engage the consumers. I think companies will find that social media technologies have given consumers a real voice. A voice that can get very loud. So if you are trying to sell a product that is not bad and your marketing team is promising to make it a success this is where the global word of mouth effect (like Twitter) may be waiting to bite you and any 'engaging effect' may only last a few seconds...
Sure you could find (or pay) narcissist Twitter gurus with millions of followers to say your product is great. But wouldn't it be better to make your product around what consumers want. Not everyone can take the Apple stance of saying we don't do user testing we make great products...
If you take a look at the article on All Facebook about Honda's attempt to sway people towards the new Accord Crosstour you'll see that the idea of using tools in a concealed fashion makes people think you believe they are tools! The big no-no of course is to try and erase comments perceived as an attempt to silence people. Being open to feedback (criticism) is in my opinion the sign of a company that is really trying to provide customers with the best possible service / product. Hey there are millions of companies that still pay enormous amounts of money to get customer feedback rather than using the web.
The social network with systems like Facebook have unleashed the word of mouth. Creating an interesting and valid buzz around a good product will unleash the crowds. Try to trick them and you will be drowned by the wave of mistrust. The same people that are creating the above events like the Accord Crosstour are often the same that complain the Facebook, Twitter et al. aren't raking in the money because they do not understand the systems and are unlikely to understand their potential if used properly...
Joel Cohen, Warner Bros.' executive VP and general manager, tells the Sun: "We may be putting too much weight onto the Twitter Effect. But you can see Twitter's benefits as a communications tool that spreads the word about a film, and the negatives have yet to be proven."