Susan Hires a Boss

No tweets? Don't assume they aren't there

Kudos to Frank Reed for parsing out the results of the Harvard Business study on Twitter usage. But he screwed up his conclusion.

Like a lot of people who talk about Twitter, Frank made the fatal leap from one fact to another that caused a fatal error. He looks at the stat that works out to more than half all Twitter users tweeting once every 74 days or so. Then he considers the fact that 10 percent of the users account for 90 percent of the tweets. (If you’ve followed Guy Kawasaki at any point in time, this actually doesn’t surprise you at all.)

Where he goes from there is that obviously the reach of Twitter isn’t quite what we thought and it might be time to rethink it as a marketing strategy. Now, there are definite reasons for doing that, but this ain’t one of them.

The way I see it, Frank is drawing a logical but not necessarily correct assumption. He’s equating tweeting with Twitter activity. (Stick with me here.) It’s anecdotal to be sure, but I know at least four people who have Twitter accounts just to keep up with other people. They’ve never once tweeted themselves, have no plans to do so. And if you’re one of the people they’re following, they’re part of your reach even if they’ll never be part of the Twitter stream.

So just because the tweeting might be low or not existent, don’t assume there isn’t any reach. I agree with his next point that as marketers, it’s up to us to guide our followers into the conversation, giving them a reason to want to speak up. But don’t discount them before they get there.


posted on Jun 2, 2009 under


Karl S said...

Great point and great post. I try to tell everyone (in business or otherwise) that their primary business is marketing and sales. And everyone in the company should be an evangelist for the company, which means they are marketing the company.

I think it's easy to forget this, or sadder to overlook it and think you are in the 'widget' business, but if you're not marketing, you're probably not going to be in business for long.