How to Hate Twitter (Yes, You!)

Real Estate Technology with Content, coding, marketing, host.

I hear it all the time, "Twitter is a waste of time." "I just don't get the big deal about Twitter." "I'm too busy." "I only focus on mortgages." (A little secret snark there for a friend.) Let's back up just a few steps so we all have the same perspective.

Twitter. If you have not heard of it welcome to earth. Twitter is, simply put, a very fast past, one sentence electronic bulletin board. Oddly enough about 25 years ago that was the only way I communicated over the Twitter T-ShirtInternet. Actually it was called FIDONET back then and I accessed it with a computer with less power than your digital kitchen timer. So we have come full circle - only now it is much faster, there are millions of users and it is graphical instead of a black screen with little green letters!

Twitter was developed way back in 2006 - the equivalent of a digital millennium - by Jack Dorsey. Jack was joined by Evan Williams (not in a bottle) and Biz Stone who at first named the system twttr (flickr inspired the idea) and later spelled it out to Twitter. It has no specific meaning except that twitter was near twitch in the dictionary. Long story but if you listen to Social Media Edge Radio every Tuesday at noon you may already know it!

Twitter is limited to 140 characters including space and punctuation. Why? Think text messages (SMS - Short Message Service) on your cell phone. That is how Twitter was designed to work so that you could use either your computer or your cell phone. The very early stages of Twitter were, indeed, no frills. Today, however, there are literally hundreds if not thousands of third party developers using the Twitter API (Application Programming Interface) make it possible to do many things with Twitter - including be successful.

But I promised you a way to hate Twitter.

Many Active Rainers are guilty of the first way to hate Twitter. In fact AR makes it pretty simple by allowing you to "post your blog to Twitter". In fact I use that service and people who follow me on Twitter will be notified when I publish this blog article. That's probably the best way to hate Twitter.

What I am about to do is not to embarrass any particular person. In fact I'm just going to do a search on Google for the phrase "Just posted on Active Rain" and pick the 3rd and 7th links. Quickly visit and (like I said, no offense to these guys). The reason I chose these is because they are perfect examples of one way to hate Twitter. They really are nothing more than mindless Twitter spam and a horrible use of API bandwidth which could even make Active Rain look bad.

So what is wrong with the way these accounts are being used? Social media. One have of its name is social. When you go to a social event do you walk up to everyone you see and say, "Hey look what I just posted to Active Rain"? You would likely not be asked to another social event by those people even in the event you were allowed to stay for the current one. People block accounts that are just streams of API posts with no engagement from the account holder. You get 100 blocks and Twitter says "bye-bye".

Our friend, Jeff Turner (@respres), knows and speak about engagement as an essential activity for social success. He is correct of course. Without social it's just media and who cares? People want to interact, engage, share, discover, and influence. It's why Twitter works and is different than Facebook, MySpace, Active Rain, and other social media networks because with Twitter if you don't have followers you are talking to yourself! I love it when I come across a Twitterer who is following 1 person and has 0 followers but 350 tweets! Nobody has seen those!

Some of the people who use Twitter as a one way street - them publishing and you reading because they never actually engage with Twitter - will defend it by saying, "But I get Google juice!" Yes and no. Firstly I can tell you Google is all over Twitter links and counting them differently than say Wikipedia links or Active Rain links. Secondly Twitter uses the no-follow attribute in any link you post as appears thus:

<a href="" class="tweet-url web" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">

While Google does FOLLOW that link it does not index that link so, no, it does not in that manner count for even one little drip of Google juice where inbound links are concerned. True it may get you a handful of Social Media Edge Radiovisitors, mostly the 14 bots that hound tweets but if you do not have that social equity which comes only from meaningful engagement or stardom you really are just wasting time and space.

Speaking of stardom. Ashton Kutcher (@aplesk) is a star. You, the author of a book that sold 15,000 copies and host of a podcast are not. Michelle Malkin = star. Ken Cook = twit. Steve Forbes = star. Jason Crouch = twit. Why do you think Jason, Mike Mueller and I work so hard to stay on top - to engage others? If you do not do the same, if you think just having an @ before your name gives you social equity you will hate Twitter.

Now consider the story of @Bronto and the success they have had on Twitter with attracting new clients and new talents. "DJ Waldow of Bronto met a prospect through Twitter who knew of the company and valued the company's industry insight. When it came time for the prospect to find a new vendor, he went to Waldow and turned into a client. Bronto built a relationship with the prospect through Twitter, which helped the company stay in the prospect's mind." - Web Worker Daily

Obviously this is a very narrow look at a very wide subject yet I assure you Twitter is good stuff and has had a very good impact on my life and my businesses.

Follow my personal tweets @thekencook or listen to Social Media Edge (formerly Twitter Tuesday) Radio every Tuesday at Noon Eastern or listen to the archives anytime.

Posted by

Web/Social Developer For Hire - I code. I create. I manage. Whether you need your website to actually do something other than look pretty or one of the following services let's talk. Anyone can make a beautiful WordPress site (all the hard work is done) but few can make it work for you. , blog content, research intense reports, data reports (and accompanying charts and graphics), ebooks, presentation content, speeches, social media management, advertising scripts, or similar, let me show you what you can have.

Listen to Social Media Edge Radio weekly for powerful tips on making the Internet pay for you. Blogging, social media, and web technology with some of the most successful and well-known guests on the Web!

I started writing on Active Rain in 2006 when I was representing the mortgage industry. I am no longer in that industry and many of the older posts contain outdated information. Please do not contact me for LENDING or MORTGAGE questions but rather contact a licensed mortgage professional from your area. I have always been in marketing and branding and that is still what I do. Thanks for reading!


Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Joe Colón, Jr. 11/24/2009 08:43 AM
ActiveRain Community
Square Watermelons - Working Outisde of the Box
social media

Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Dan and Amy Schuman
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services - Solon, OH
Luxury Home Specialists

I agree not to just use Twitter for your AR posts because people will quickly tune you out. I did this when I first joined but quickly stopped. You made some very nice points, thanks for sharing.

Sep 03, 2009 08:33 AM #26
April Solomon
Solomon & Associates Realtors, Inc. - Port Richey, FL

I'm not to Twiiter saavy.  I find AR easier to use.  I don't Tweet too much.  I have more fun on AR plus I find myself on AR at night time after work hours.  I found your post to be informative and I guess I will have to give Twitter another try.

Sep 03, 2009 09:15 AM #27
Candice A. Donofrio
Next Wave RE Investments LLC Bullhead City AZ Commercial RE Broker - Fort Mohave, AZ
928-201-4BHC (4242) call/text

Twitter gave me the thing I liked most about MySpace as a stand alone - status messages.

My dog has one too :) She has trouble typing with her long nails so I usually do it for her. Spoiled brat. @LunieTunie

Sep 03, 2009 10:25 AM #28
Susan Neal
RE/MAX Gold, Fair Oaks - Fair Oaks, CA
Fair Oaks CA & Sacramento Area Real Estate Broker

Hi Ken -

I do have all my blog posts going to Twitter.  I have spurts where I do a lot of active tweeting, then I'll go awhile and don't.  I feel a bit guilty when I don't hit Twitter for awhile, but the good news is that I continue to get new followers and I only stay away because I am so busy in my business right now that it's all I can do to keep up with my blogging here in AR.

Sep 03, 2009 10:28 AM #29
Cassi @ Knightyme Video Tours
Knightyme Video Tours - Lawrenceville, GA

Great post. We use Twitter, but I do believe that AR is very very powerful. Gotta love social media!

Sep 03, 2009 11:49 AM #30
Erica Ramus
Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA - Pottsville, PA
MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate

Ok you twit! Tweet this!

I didn't GET IT at first, but now I do. In the beginning I thought it was about tweeting I AM EATING PEANUT BUTTER RIGHT NOW.

Now I realize it is so much more!

Sep 03, 2009 01:00 PM #31
Chris Olsen
Olsen Ziegler Realty - Cleveland, OH
Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate

Hi Ken -- What I got out of your post is to add a lot of value, be unique and it takes a commitment, just like AR.

Sep 03, 2009 02:09 PM #32
Jody Keating
Jody Keating Connective Realty,LLC, Bryan/College Station,TX - Bryan, TX
Broker/MM/Realtor, Bryan / College Station, TX

Hi Ken, I'm a big Twitter fan. I agree with you on the star points. Who gives a fiddlers what I had for breakfast but theres 3,000,000+ people that what to know what Ashton Kutcher had for his. Personally I don't.

I find if you use the search feature for nearby you will get all the tweets for a radius of your choice. For example 5, 10, 15 etc. This will give you a whole lot of insite into who uses twitter and the vibe of the tweets for your area. You then just start responding to some of these tweets and voila you have another contact.

Sep 03, 2009 02:56 PM #33
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

I keep meaning to spend more time engaging on Twitter... and I very seldom seem to find that time.  I will get better one day...

Sep 03, 2009 03:40 PM #34
Vickie McCartney
Maverick Realty - Owensboro, KY
Broker, Real Estate Agent Owensboro KY

Hi Ken~ I rarely use twitter... but I love activerain.  I guess I should look into it more....

Sep 03, 2009 04:16 PM #35
Lana Robbins Realtor ® Licensed Real Estate Broker
Aloha Kai Real Estate - Clearwater, FL
Licensed in Florida and Washington

Hi Ken. I like Twitter. 

Sep 03, 2009 04:41 PM #36
Naoma Doriguzzi
Virginia Beach - Virginia Beach, VA
New Media Director

Twitter is a waste of time!! NOT!

In 1 week I am closing on a $400k purchase that found me on twitter!  The one of many!

twitter lead

Sep 04, 2009 01:10 AM #37
Richard Green
U.S. Cybertek, Inc. - Houston, MO

I think one of the biggest reasons that people don't use twitter is they simply cannot fathom that someone would be interested in what they are doing.  Fact of the matter is that most of your friends, relatives, and acquaintances really don't know you and twitter gives them an inside perspective on what you like to do.  If they're 'into' the same thing, they can connect with you and you can socialize on another level.  Good post.  As a side note...  we're seeing more agents give 'out of state' referrals only to other agents that use twitter as they see these agents as progressive and tech savvy.

Sep 04, 2009 02:33 AM #38
Darrell Walters
W. Darrell Walters - Newnan, GA

Great insight. I have a twitter account but I should be more engaging. Most of the time I use Facebook to connect.

Sep 04, 2009 03:03 AM #39
Russell Lewis
Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate - Austin, TX

Hi Ken, so this is what you look like! I have enjoyed your shows with Jason and actually got in to Twitter because of the show! Thanks!

Sep 04, 2009 03:40 AM #40
Clare Dove
EyeFiMedia Property Marketing Experts - Cambridge, ON

Professionals especially will be kicking themselves shortly for not jumping on the bandwagon before now. Although its never too late to give it a try... just dont knock it until you try it! The only bad thing that could happen is that no one follows you end up tweeting to yourself!

Sep 04, 2009 03:50 AM #41
Damon Gettier
Damon Gettier & Associates, REALTORS- Roanoke Va Short Sale Expert - Roanoke, VA
Broker/Owner ABRM, GRI, CDPE

If I shouldn't be Twittering from my AR do I disable it?

Sep 04, 2009 02:46 PM #42
Ken Cook
Content, coding, marketing, host. - Marietta, GA
Content Marketer/Creator

To all who praised how great Active Rain is: We know. But do you ONLY hand out business cards at church? Do you ONLY eat at Burger King? Diversity with a focus on content and substance. There are 158,000 users on AR and MILLIONS on Twitter and TENS of MILLIONS on Facebook. Do the math :)

Naoma - awesome story! Jason and I have a few, too. People who "don't get Twitter" are missing out.

Russell - thanks for being a listener and sharing about it here!

Damon - the trick is to do MORE than just send your AR posts to Twitter. If that's all you're doing chances are nobody over on Twitter gives a rip. HOWEVER if you engage on Twitter, as Naoma who commented about the $400k sale she's closing as a DIRECT result from Twitter then leave it. My AR posts are also announced on Twitter.

Sep 04, 2009 05:35 PM #43
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Ken, I go to people's posts all the time from Twitter and FB - but I definitely get what you mean. You're a twit spammer if all you tweet is your AR blogs as they post! Waiting for my first twitter lead!


Sep 13, 2009 06:38 AM #44
Joe Colón, Jr.
Jenny L Colón, PC - Chesapeake, VA


   Wow, I'm admittedly a rookie when it comes to Social Networking and I have to say that this blog post has done more to explain Twitter and Social Media than all the Facebook/Twitter/AR Meetups combined--thank you.  That said, I may want to be more open to a mixture of sites as I dive into the world of Social Media.

   Great Post, I'm glad I took the time to read it. It was very much worth my time.


Oct 09, 2009 10:15 AM #46
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?


Ken Cook

Content Marketer/Creator
Ask me a question
Spam prevention