So it turns out that nobody cares what you say on Twitter.

OK, so that isn’t true. But if you’ve been wondering why the more influential people you follow never retweet (RT) your words, the answer is simple: they don’t do that. You’re not surprised, right? The more “important” you are, the less incentive you have to care about the people you know peripherally. Ever been to a book signing and see how little real connection is in the eyes of an author signing copies of his latest masterpiece?

Of course, there are exceptions. I’ve seen authors exhibit real empathy, and professional athletes, too. But by and large we’re all creatures of habit and when more people are looking for our attention than we have time to give it to we fall into the habits that make the most sense—the ones we use to protect ourselves.

On Twitter, though, aren’t we all supposed to be bringing something “real” to the table?

The answer is yes, but the issue is how you define real. My kids use Twitter as kind of a big bulletin board on which they tell their closest friends what they’re up to. Anyone who walks by can read the board, and they’re OK with that. Celebrities use Twitter to increase their brands. And those of us in the middle? We wish we were celebrities.

While it’s statistically unlikely that you’re ever going to be HUUUUUUUGE and command hundreds of thousands of followers who genuinely look forward to and digest your words, the story on Twitter isn’t really that, anyway. For those of us who are brand building or marketing, or just trying to be heard by three more people today than were listening yesterday Twitter is one more way of grabbing the long tail.

That may seem unexciting, but the business change we’re all going through really is one where each of us is building a brand, and some brands are simply not as large as others. I’ve written a couple of time about Kim Kardashian, for example, and there’s genuine question about whether she qualifies as brand or not. Her three million Twitter followers suggest that she is, but when you analyze what that number means you might conclude otherwise.

And Ms. Kardashian’s a celebutante. We ALL know who she is, right?

Well, no. And Kim Kardashian isn’t going to retweet you, either. So unless you’re really buddies with Bill Gates, don’t expect his help getting famous on Twitter. But keep on tweeting, anyway. That long tail can be whipped into amazing results.

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