I Don’t Care When You Joined Twitter

A couple of big old-media events boosted Twitter’s profile over the last few weeks (ever notice how social media tool success is often still measured by traditional media coverage?). First, Ashton Kutcher challenged CNN to see who reached one million followers first. Shortly after that, Oprah Winfrey joined Twitter. 

The storm of media coverage over those events brought millions of new people to Twitter; although how many of them remain on the service is still up for debate.

In an outburst of wonderful hypocrisy, the Twitterati didn’t take too kindly to all the new people using the tool they’ve been advocating for for months. Post titles like “Twitter Losing Its Cool” and “Twitter Has Jumped The Shark” became common. 

Along with the hand-wringing came new services to help the early adopters feel good about themselves. When did you join Twitter lets you punch in your username and tells you the date you joined Twitter, while here before Oprah and here before aplusk (Kutcher’s Twitter handle) let you compare your start date to celebrities and others.

Blah blah blah.

Here’s the thing:

I don’t care when you joined Twitter.

Maybe ten million people joined Twitter before Oprah. That leaves somewhere in the region of 6.7 billion people who didn’t. I’m pretty sure many of them have things of value to say.

Here’s what I care about:

That you interact with others, and don’t only promote yourself.

That you share things of value, and don’t just talk about your lunch.

That you tell us who you are – fill in your bio, post a picture and don’t act like a faceless company.

If you do those things, I couldn’t care less whether you’re an early adopter or part of the majority.

Sound fair? Then let’s connect.

  • Well said! That’s a great summary on how Twitter should be used: interact, share, and be genuine. Everything else is noise.

  • Thank you Dave,
    The “Here before Oprah” tweets are what really bothered me. Was that a benchmark to know that you are Twitter hip? I don’t get it. I haven’t seen the “When did you join Twitter” service. But it seems to be just another app that reinforces the competitive culture of Twitter that more followers and being there early somehow makes you more important. It may, or it just means you have a lot of free time. I couldn’t agree more, “Tell us who you are, share content with value”.

  • I’m sure many people posted the “here before Oprah” and others as a joke, but I agree with what you’re saying. If anyone really wanted to know when someone started, tweetdeck has that capability when you click on a person’s name. Otherwise, it’s really not that important.

  • Thank you! People get to caught up in the hoopla and forget about the basics of Twitter and what’s worked for them, for however long they’ve been on Twitter.

    What’s ‘jumped the shark’ is all the useless banter and fodder that’s overly written about.

  • Great post… I’m reminded of all the pretentious people who discover a new band and tell all their friends about them and then get mad and label the band “sellouts” when other people start liking them!

  • Thank you! Great post, Dave.

  • I was talking about my breakfast on Twitter before breakfast got popular.

    =)

    Good post Dave, right on the money. Why does everything have to be a competition these days? For me, it doesn’t matter when you joined; instead, it matters how much you make people smile.

  • Wasn’t the post of mine about Twitter losing its cool that you cited as an example of “hand-wringing” saying *exactly* the same thing? I quote:

    “The big problem is that [Twitter is] now just another channel for ‘audience interaction’ … A way to ‘connect’ with the ordinary man and woman on the street. Only that’s exactly what these Twitter-loving celebs are NOT doing.”

    My analysis demonstrated that the slebs and media flocking to Twitter are NOT interacting, NOT sharing (although they REALLY DO love to tell us who they are). Doesn’t make any difference when they joined.

    Fine, some early adopters don’t like it when newcomers join *their* communities. I can only assume that they are the hand-wringers you’re referring to and that you didn’t intend to paint me with the same brush.

  • Niall – you’re right – you do point out the difference in how the celebrities are using Twitter.

    However, your post also begins, “I’m worried about Twitter. Worried because it’s going mainstream. […] And that can only mean one thing… It’s no longer cool.”

    So, from one perspective, I’m not lumping your post in with the others. However, in another way, the lead paragraph of your post reads just like the others.

  • I guess it comes down to how you read the statement “It’s no longer cool” in the context of the entire post, not just the first line.

    (Wrings hands) 😉

  • Have no fear, Niall – I’m still a fan 🙂

  • No idea when Oprah joined, so I’m likely after her and possibly not cool. But the funny thing is that to some of my friends and colleagues I’m woefully behind the times and to others I’m hip and leading edge because I even know what Twitter is. I’m a novice and really enjoying the learning process. One important point: those social media experts that I’ve asked questions of have been extraordinarily helpful, kind, generous and funny. Don’t really care if they’re ‘cool’ or not.

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  • I suggest you check out the following twitter page:

    http://twitter.com/oprahisnotagod