What to Tweet?

It's hard -- if not impossible -- to escape Twitter these days. Not only has it been in the spotlight for its role in the aftermath of the election in Iran, but it's on magazine covers, CNN and trade publications virtually every day. Is it overhyped? I don't think so.

I started using Twitter several months ago and now believe that it is a critical tool for senior execs in emerging markets -- certainly for those working in the media and marketing world. You can reach and involve so many critical folks so quickly, no other communication tool or platform comes close.

So, you're ready to jump in and use Twitter, or ready to go from lurking to participating. What should you Tweet? Here are my thoughts:

Conferences. This one is easy for business execs. Tweeting about conferences you're attending and insights that you hear from speakers not only connects you with peers at the event, but also provides a valuable service to those who aren't there.

Questions. The Twitterari love to help each other. If you need something or have a question you need to answer, ask the community!



Opinions. Whether you want to float a trial balloon or find similarly minded folks, Twitter is a great place to do it.

What you are doing. This can be overdone, but it can add a degree of humanity to your commincations and Twitter realionships, helping you find others who share your interests.

Engage in a conversation. This is the best part. Twitter can enable you to talk online communities with Craig Newmark or venture capital with Fred Wilson. You only get what you contribute, but the exchanges can be extraordinary.

Announcements. Twitter can be a critical component of your trade publicity activities. But don't abuse it -- make sure that the news matters and that your community cares.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it should help you get started. For those of you who Twitter, use the Comments section below to tell us how you like to use it. Also, if you want to follow me, I can be found at

16 comments about "What to Tweet?".
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  1. Chelsea Pearl from We Heart It, June 25, 2009 at 5:56 p.m.

    Great guidelines.

  2. Jonathan Hall from American Pop, June 25, 2009 at 6:03 p.m.

    As a marketing tool, you get more notice on Twitter the less you talk about yourself. Since it is a conversation, it's just like a friend who only talks about themselves.

  3. Lisbeth Kramer from Identities, June 25, 2009 at 6:07 p.m.

    Hey Dave I already follow you. And love that you have offered balanced guidelines. My only issue I don't find the exchange as rich as I would I hope others heed your's one thing to put the info out there but it is so much richer in the EXCHANGE...

    Bet your gonna have a "hot" hopefully rainfree run in a.m....

  4. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, June 25, 2009 at 6:18 p.m.

    Maybe I am old fashioned, but I was taught and believe that when one commits to a seminar at a conference, for example, one should have the common courtesy to respect the people who are speaking which means turn your phone off, put your novel away and pay attention to the subject matter. Taking notes by hand or electronically is really not the same as emailing messages and twitting.

  5. Dennis O'neill from Studio4Networks, June 25, 2009 at 6:24 p.m.

    Like Dave, I started on Twitter a couple of months and only recently have seen the true value of it - which Dave writes about such as conferences, trade announcements as well as the anecdotal link to a interesting item; event; etc...

    One peeve is the overusers who constantly send links to places like the New York Times or use it as soapbox to voice opinion after opinion on politics.

  6. Aaron Goldman from Mediaocean, June 25, 2009 at 6:29 p.m.

    Dave - for the most part I agree with you but think each of these "categories" of tweets has the potential to be abused. No doubt, it can be a fine line and one man's tweet-gems are another man's tweet-crap.

    For example, at conferences, I hate when people tweet about who is onstage or who's coming up next. How about sharing some insights from the dialogue so those of us that aren't there can learn something?

    As for "what you are doing," spare us your life's minutia and share only the oddities, rarities, or otherwise interesting things happening to you -- and no, that does not include that your plane is delayed or that someone cut you off on the highway.

    When it comes to questions, as Smokey (Chris Tucker) famously said in the movie Friday, "You've got to give to receive my brother." Don't be that guy who's always asks questions but never answers others.

    Bottom line, before pressing update, stop and ask yourself "Is it Tweet-worthy?"

    More of my do's and don'ts here:

  7. Shelly Kramer from V3 Integrated Marketing, June 25, 2009 at 6:47 p.m.

    Hi Dave,
    I liked your article and agree with a lot of your points. My only problem is that I was intrigued enough by the article to follow you on Twitter, only to find that, for the most part, you don't engage at all. You post about what's going on in your life or about events, but I didn't see much of any real exchanging or conversing going on in your Twitter stream. Please don't mistake me for a stalker, but part of the process of checking someone out vis a vis whether or not to follow them is to look at their stream and see the kind of engaging they do.

    I'm not knocking you, so don't misunderstand. My point is that I truly believe you don't understand the most fantastic thing of all about Twitter - and that's the engaging part. That involves actually talking with people, not broadcasting to them. And sharing, learning, giving, taking, laughing - being a part of the community.

    And so, I hope that after reading this comment you might be inspired to follow a few more people, listen a little more, jump into conversations that are going on around you and begin engaging with people. If you do, you'll really see the magic of the true Twitterverse. I promise.


  8. Dennis O'neill from Studio4Networks, June 25, 2009 at 10:23 p.m.

    Well written response BUT off the mark for many of us.

    Because we are "sharing, learning, giving, talking, laughing and being a part of a community' IN-PERSON with our spouse, children, loved ones, family, neighbors, friends, colleagues; face -to-face at work, home, on vacation; on the phone; at a restaurant; school; etc...we are not on twitter.

    And because we do that all day long IN-PERSON having real conversations & engagement; there isn't time to spend hours sitting in-front of a monitor "engaging people" on twitter......but rather use it for the things mentioned in the article.

  9. Black Pepper from Black Pepper Marketing Intelligence Group, LLC, June 25, 2009 at 11:32 p.m.

    After hearing so much about the Twitter phenomenon, I signed up today to give it a try.

    After reading the initial article and then the responses, I am of firm belief that different people get different things out of Twitter as it means different things for different people.

    As newbie, I had no idea how to use it, but must say I find it a great marketing tool as well as a unique learning tool as well.

    The article was very helpful to me as a newbie. Maybe when I become an expert on Twitter, my opinion will change. But for now thanks for taking the time author the helpful article.

  10. Dave Morgan from Simulmedia, June 26, 2009 at 12:43 a.m.

    Shelly, You are correct. I do not practice all that I preach. I do not engage on Twitter as I should. The big challenge is that I am still new to Twitter and that during the day I actually have a very limited amount of time to really engage in the activity - it is hard to converse when you can only check it every 5 hours and follow so many. However, I am inspired by your comments and will spend more time following and learning.

  11. Chuan jer Lim from Yahoo! Southeast Asia Pte Ltd, June 26, 2009 at 3:07 a.m.

    The greatest problem of Twitter is it may become way too noisy. And it will end up in a situation no different from current online publishing where publishers shout different advertisers' messages to readers simultaneously.

    When it becomes too noisy, either users will attempt to trim their following list or leave their Twitter account for good (the likely one)

  12. Rebecca Rachmany from AdsVantage, June 28, 2009 at 4:01 a.m.


    Your answer to Shelly reveals the main problem with Twitter. If you are really an innovative, interesting person or someone who is "up to something", you honestly don't have time to twitter. You don't even tweet when there's a new post on the Simulmedia blog. Don't get me wrong, your athletic achievements are impressive, but the fact that you don't tweet much more than your Central Park runs attests to the fact that Twitter, in some kind of basic way, just doesn't work.

    In other words, the more fascinating and amazing you are, the less time you have to tweet. Professionals may have a paid tweet-assistant, and publications have tweet-bots. However, for most of us, it's just not a practical tool that fits into a normal lifestyle.

  13. Dave Morgan from Simulmedia, June 29, 2009 at 6:27 a.m.

    Rebecca, you are quite correct. My hope is that we will see the development of new tools that can leverage Twitter and make it easier to integrate it into a busy life. It was hard to use instant messenger in a business environment until lots of folks used it and the applications became more robust. I hope for the same with Twitter.

  14. Shelly Kramer from V3 Integrated Marketing, June 29, 2009 at 5:41 p.m.

    Hey Dennis,

    In response to your comment, rest assured that I do all of that engaging, laughing, sharing, learning etc., with my friends, family and colleagues on a daily basis in person - just like you. BUT, I also use Twitter, LinkedIn, FB and other SM tools as well. It IS an investment of time but one that, for me and my business, works.

    As a result of my involvement in SM (mostly Twitter and LI) my business has grown exponentially. I have hired designers, copywriters, web designers, PR pros and SEO folks that I've met thru my interactions and put their talents to use for my clients.

    So, for me, it's grown my business, added clients to my client roster and introduced me to talent I might've otherwise not known (all of whom then refer prospective clients to me when appropriate). Wow - talk about networking paying off.

    But it's all relative. What works for you might not work for me. I have a husband who travels extensively and 3 yo twins at home, so I'm not really interested in endless local networking functions nor am I able to regularly travel to conferences and industry meetings. I'm a working mom - as such, social media fits into my life in a way that it might not fit into yours.

    In sum, there is no right or wrong answer, is there? If social media works for someone -- that's terrific. And, if it doesn't, well, that's okay, too.

    But it is not, in my opinion, ever a waste of time if engaged in properly. The benefit, for me, of social networking has been exponentially greater than the sum of all the total in person networking events that I've attended in terms of actually showing a ROI on the amount of time invested. For me, that speaks volumes.

    And Dave, I do very much look forward to getting to know you better :)

  15. Dorian Benkoil from Teeming Media, July 7, 2009 at 1:56 p.m.

    On Shelly and Rebecca's and Dave's response: Let's not forget that Twitter was conceived as a mobile device app -- meaning with the right means (Twitterberry? Twihrl?) -- on a smartphone, it can be on-the-go, something to fill the 'Interstitial' moments of the day. I think of it as a river one can dip into, rather than a page folks will find -- which this is.

    Along those lines, I can't help but notice that here, in these comments, all in one place, is a conversation about an issue of relevance that anyone who sees it can follow more easily than a Twitter conversation; and continue to chime in on over time, become searchable, etc.

    I'm going to Tweet Dave's recommendations with a #twitterquette hash tag -- something I've been using to point people to good information about the etiquette of Twitter.

  16. Michelle Cubas from Positive Potentials LLC, July 17, 2009 at 8:03 p.m.

    Hi, Dave,

    TQ for speaking plain English! The often overlooked advantage of social media is that one must be sociable! There's no substitute for pertinent interaction.

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