You can lead a horse to Twitter but you can’t make him tweet

My Twitter PageI’ve asked, begged, bargained, goaded, and just about hunted down many friends and associates imploring them to try Twitter, but to no avail. I say “Try it. You’ll like it!”. So they try it, and in a week or two I stop seeing tweets. Why? Twitter has all the elements of a great social tool — it’s fun, it’s easy, it’s avoids the socially awkward formalities that meeting people in the real world entails, and it’s highly informative. What gives?

It could be some lofty, esoteric thing like: Hey, man, they just don’t dig the paradigm shift and since they aren’t digital natives, bra, they never will. That just seems improbable though. My spidey-senses tell me that it’s probably something more basic than that. More like: Hey man, all I ever hear about is someone telling me about the incredibly banal details of the past hour of their life . I guess I can’t necessarily argue with that. Well, I could try…

So I’ll end this post with a thought for all you folks on Twitter who, like me, hope to convert the masses from nay-ing (or neighing, to keep with the metaphor) about the idea of Twitter to tweeting like birds who flock together (Ok, I’ve pushed the whole metaphor too far now, haven’t I?).

My thought? A big part of adopting the tool is trusting that you’ll get if you take the time to give. So I think us Twitter-lovers out there should do our best to tweet more about things we do that other people can use. In my area of interest, educational technology, I try to tweet about what tools I use and how I’m using them. If we all keep doing something that, I think that will help those we lead to Twitter begin to sing like canaries themselves.
Personally, I also love hearing about how a little bit of basil in your lemongrass soup made all the difference at the local Thai place, the latest in politics, or how you can’t help but wonder why ‘woot’ ever came to be. But that’s just me. Maybe that’s why I love the idea of this tool, and I love using it. Maybe t it’s tweets like those that turn others off to the tool — I don’t know. Until the whole thing gets sorted out, though, I ask you to try Twitter (if you haven’t already) and give what you want to get in return.

If that just doesn’t work for you, you can tell me why below. I really do want to know.


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1 Comment

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One response to “You can lead a horse to Twitter but you can’t make him tweet

  1. Great post TJ and I’m with you. I’ve been tweeting for a short time and am pleasantly surprised by what I get from it. Those little tips and experiences, etc. are very useful. Some of the personal ditties are neat from people I know in RL; I’m not sure I need so many from the others. But I’m hanging in there to see what evolves. I’m following 13 now.
    What I try to convey to my “learners” is the willingness to be involved with information and knowing differently. I also mention concrete strategies, like using more scanning and skimming reading techniques. And then there’s that distributed cognition or the social life of knowing, that I can Not Know, but know where and who does. That leads to relying on good search strategies, another invaluable skill. (Thanks to 5NETs for Better Searching).
    Anyway…I’ll keep wisping along, hoping to attract followers.

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