Reality: Social Networking Matters. Twitter is important. It’s an old story by now, and one that I tell over and over.

This morning, I read this in my Twitter stream:

Wow. I’m like the only one who doesn’t really go back. I read whatever the 10 are visible when I load Seesmic.


The words would disturb me no matter who wrote them, because they’re either a sign that the author doesn’t know how Twitter works, or that Twitter simply doesn’t work at all. But they really bother me because of who wrote them: Chris Brogan, one of the most “influential” people in all of the Twittersphere isn’t reading what the people he follows are writing.

As I said, I’ve written many time about Twitter, how it’s used, how it should be used, and that it’s pretty much impossible to interact in a meaningful way with thousands of people, unless by interaction you’re referring to a one-way “I am a celebrity or brand” kind of relationship. AND THAT’S FINE, AS LONG AS YOU’RE CLEAR ABOUT YOUR INTENTIONS.

Large companies, to their credit, are taking the ideas behind my words and using Twitter as a customer service tool, watching for everything said about them and responding. But this takes manpower. The question effecting business change as it relates to Twitter for the rest of us is: are you really trying to network socially, or are you just a user?

Back to Chris. Mr. Brogan is a very smart man, and truly a gentleman. He’s one of social networking’s biggest stars, and deservedly so. And when someone like Chris Brogan, who made his fame and fortune by telling people that they need to engage admits that he simply doesn’t read what his people have to say, I have to be concerned, maybe for Chris, and certainly for what it says about the medium.

There are a couple of different schools of thought on the “right” way to use Twitter. Some experts believe that following and being followed by the largest possible number of people is the way to make Twitter work, while others try to keep up with the information in their streams by only following people whose thoughts are pre-screened as “important”.

If you’re a celebrity and (sorry, celebrities) and don’t care what your people have to say, go with the former. But if you’re trying to build real community, you need to do the latter. Yes, that’s hard, and gets more so as you succeed.

Business Change has to be executed the right way. Drop me a line, and I promise I’ll read it . . .

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