…funk for the old soul…

Twittering Your Business Away

Posted by crowbiz on June 30, 2009


Love it, hate it, # it

Love it, hate it, # it

Ah, social networking!  Say those few syllables over and over…. yes, it does take on the timbre of “anal itchiness,” “festering pimple,” and “supreme nausea.”  I would like to include “gaseous blowhard,” but it would require the British pronunciation “gas-ee-uss” rather than the clunky American version, “gash-uss.”


Do you wish you had a nickel for every forum poster who oozes about how great Twitter has been for their business?  How they find it so fun to spam, er I mean, post their items to their 11,000 followers and then sit back and watch the love roll in?  What is it about the magic number 11,000, by the way?  Did I miss the meeting where they handed out the secret code behind the pyramid that night?  And did you notice that after someone proclaims Twitter as crucial to their success, you check their Etsy shop and see they’ve made 7 sales in 2 years?  Then the chipper seller lets drop, “Well, I can’t be sure how many sales came directly from Twitter, but I know it’s helped!”

Yeah, it’s helped immensely – in sucking your time and your mind.

My feelings about the big twit are ambivalent.  I have some loose connections, do the occasional pimp, and mostly pick up links to hilarious sites that would take me too long to find on my own.  So right there, Twitter saves me time on my time-wasting, which I can now do in a much more targeted and efficient fashion.  Despite having over 300 followers, which is so low that I’m not even at the uncool kids’ lunch table, I’m still talking mostly to myself on Twitter.  When I eventually tweet the link to this very post, I’ll be able to watch the blog stats rocket upward by one.

There are several creepy followers who seem to be Stepford Twits, manufactured somewhere in that same factory that makes people to give testimonials for weight loss ads and mysterious work-from-home pitches.  They have what seem to be regular, homespun avatars, what with their undoctored faces, or pets, or children.  Yet their tweets seem to be a preprogrammed regurgitation of How To Get (fill in the number) Followers in (fill in the time frame).”  No other content, really.  Get followers so you can tell others how to get followers so they can say they got followers that will want to know how to get followers.  What does Jane Doe need with 11,000 followers?  

Once I boldly asked what the heck I needed with 10,000 followers (I was being conservative), and got an immediate reply from a nonfollower/nonfollowee with a curt, “I would think that would be obvious!”   It wasn’t to me.  It was one of the few, and certainly the quickest reply I ever received.  And the guy seemed offended.  It wasn’t as if I’d said, “Who needs liquids to live?” or “Oxygen is so overrated” or “Too bad you don’t know your real dad.”  Yet this stranger instantly heard my tweet – perhaps it registered on his Twitter Dissent Meter – and jumped in to scold.  Kind of like Big Brother and the Wizard of Oz combined, only without the rat cage or technicolor.

Take aaaall that time you’ve spent on Twitter.  Subtract out any real humanesque interaction – be honest now.  I’ll let you keep that, because sometimes it is fun to check someone’s link to a picture of the sleeping guy next to him on the flight (thanks, some funny guy who follows me).  Now how much time do you spend talking to the great void?   When you post your latest doohickey, do you rush back to check the views on Etsy?  Then back to Twitter… then back to Etsy… then…oh, right, leave a @reply to someone, because that will seem human of you, and there’s a 25% chance that the person you reply to might, in some future moment, click on a link that you’ve posted.  Which you will dutifully check by rushing back to Etsy.  Not that you’d be able to document this in any meaningful way, but you’d give yourself the idea that Twitter “definitely helps.”  

Is this your marketing, promotion and sales strategy?  No really, tell me it isn’t.  Visually, I picture it like this:  you run outside and leave your business card on the sidewalk, or maybe a picture of what you’re hawking with contact info.  Some people walk by, maybe even 11,000 people.  Maybe someone picks it up, maybe not.  After a few minutes, you dash back outside to check if anyone picked up the card.  If so, you put another one on the sidewalk.  If not, you go back and wait.  Repeat process indefinitely, or until you realize you sure need a shower or a meal or to leave for your real job.  

My heretical suggestion is that you get your bum off Twitter now and then. Next, take that time and pour, shovel and cram it into something that might be called an activity.  Find better outlets.  You may even have to – god forbid! – spend a few bucks advertising to a qualified, target market.  Sure, go ahead and send the pictures of your fingers photoshopped to look like sausages (I laughed till I cried) – enjoy it for what it is and don’t count on it bringing in the sales.

Yeah, yeah, there are those who will vehemently disagree with me and insist that their Etsy business booms because of Twitter.  You are free to tell me I don’t know what the bedazzzler I’m talking about, and I don’t mind, because I know your secret; you come from that different midwestern factory where they make the rare bird who is a success right out of the starting block and don’t even realize it.  I think there are three of you.  Maybe you interpret my crabbiness as jealousy, but I’d redirect you to frustration instead.  Anyone who reads my blog knows the idea of constraining myself to 140 characters is like something right out of Dante’s Inferno.

To wrap up, self-interest dictates that I should drop my info here.  If you have a soft spot for the unflappable, uncool kid on the fringe of the cafeteria, I’ll be there with my flabby sandwich:

But I’m only one voice in 11,000.

15 Responses to “Twittering Your Business Away”

  1. yah.. i haven’t got into the twitter thing either… not really sure why i should care if a certain celebrity tweets that they just ate a cheeseburger or whatever. and yah, can’t see how it would help with the etsy either – unless a person wants to be the annoying etsy person who twitters play by plays of all the views each item is getting in their shop.

  2. This so funny! Thank you! Indeed, twitter is not so fun and effective at all. I was kind of curious 1st, but I dont think it worth it to invest time in it. I do it less and less mostly bc I dont have any way of tracking the stats from it except seening somewhat views coming from it. It is too time consuming. I think soon it will come to an end for me. Id rather spend time creating.

  3. I just came to your blog from the Etsy forums and now I am following you on twitter 🙂 I do agree with this, I didn’t twitter for so long and then I caved. Oh it is a time waster for sure. I do get views from twitter according to my Google analytics but I think people are just curious about who they are following. Oh well nice blog by the way 🙂

  4. Grace said

    haha! Great article. I’m not really into the whole Twitter phenomenon either; I tried to get in the habbit of tweeting often, but I just wasn’t seeing the results I wanted.

  5. MrsGibson said

    I love this post, it confirms what I also believe. I have long deleted all the Etys shop spammers from my Twitter list. I actually like Twitter I like that it forces me to be funny in so few characters, a tough and fun challenge. I love some Twitterers, the clever and articulate shine there and crack me right up, often I laughed so hard at what it written. It is a lovely little sister to a great blog. I have never ever been tempted to buy something as a result though so I think the ‘sale from Twitter concept’ is a tissue of lies.

  6. moonstrbanana said

    wooo! you said it well!
    and i giggled threw the whole thing!
    someone should start up a anti twitter
    and call it twater or twat…
    ha! or not

  7. Kathy said

    Lovely, perfect article from stem to stern. Thank you forthe laugh and the little bit of reality check for everyone!

  8. Jody said

    Are we twins? I swear I spend more time unfollowing people than anything else on twitter. It’s a total time waster.

  9. Thanks for the post. I found it when you posted it on the etsy forum. I giggled all the way thru it.

  10. Kara-Noel said

    Now that was funny!
    I think I’ll follow you on twitter…

  11. Barbra said

    TrueTrueTrue!!!! loads of view,no sales and the point is???????

  12. BlueDitty said

    Ditto. I found an account with 17,000 followers, and never had this account tweeted. Not once. It’s announcement was just, follow me and I’ll follow you. And yup, it was following 17,000 people.

  13. crowbiz said

    Good golly – 17,000! I’m so out of it that I didn’t know the minimum criteria had been raised. I’d better hustle to fill those remaining 16,620 slots.

  14. Sigh…it’s not just me. Ning is as far as I ever got, and that was one social network too far. I prefer reading blogs.

    • crowbiz said

      Good Lordie – I could never figure out all the kooky interconnected, overlapping features on ning sites, got all spun around, and abandoned them like fruitcake at Xmas.

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