How To Avoid Looking Like An Idiot

Should you follow the latest trend in your field? Not necessarily. But you must be able to tell your clients why you are avoiding it. And you must do your research.

In marketing, Twitter is trendy. Some marketers are finding ways to work with it. Others feel it’s not worth the effort. And still others make themselves look like fools, because they haven’t done their homework.

I just read a post on a blog I *used to* follow. The author takes 485 words (or 2921 characters) to demonstrate that he: doesn’t get Twitter, doesn’t like Twitter, couldn’t use Twitter to help your business if you hired him (that was 102 characters and used up a lot less of your life).

The author dismisses Twitter with such disdain that he doesn’t even bother to do any research. He says,

“I can only assume that a very young demographic embraces it and gets something from it.”

In fact:
43% of Twitter users are aged 18-35
29% are aged 36-49.
54% are women and
43% have children.
26% have incomes above $60,000,
25% have incomes above $100,000,29% have incomes in the $30-30,000 range, and all of them are consumers.

(Estimated figures for March 09-August 09, from http://www.quantcast.com/twitter.com )

That’s a marketer’s dream, right there!

I’m pretty unimpressed with this ‘professional’ and ‘expert’ by now.

He goes on to complain about the celebrities he follows,
“I received 63 tweets yesterday from the assorted personalities I’m following, none of which hold any impact beyond remote voyeurism.”

Maybe he’s following the wrong celebrities.

  • Neil Gaiman, a writer, tweeted that a couple of schools in poor areas were asking for donations to buy copies of his books. Gaiman’s books are very popular with boys, a population notoriously hard to engage in reading. Within 24 hrs the project was fully funded and the class will have new books any day now. We may have just changed a life or two. Because we followed a tweet from a ‘celebrity’.
  • Nathan Fillion, an actor, asked his followers to support friends who were running for charity. “If only a handful of you donate a dollar- imagine!”, he tweeted. In two days they’d raised almost $10,000.

What about businesses? Is tweeting a waste of time for them?

  • Here’s a story about a Texas cafe whose operations manager credits Twitter with doubling their clientele
  • Blair Hirtle, sales coordinator for Fairmont Hotels, noted that the Fairmont Empress offered a special discounted room rate on Twitter. The result was “increased occupancy. Much more successful than any traditional ad buy and it cost minimal time and labour.” Now seven Fairmont hotels have Twitter accounts.
    (Read this and lots of other interesting examples here )

Now I’m questioning this ‘expert’s judgment, not to mention wondering why he’s reading about Paris Hilton’s nights out instead of working on my project.

So yeah, it’s fine to distance yourself from a trend that you don’t love. Just don’t make yourself look like a fool in the process.


Is there a trend in your industry that you love or hate? Are you struggling with social media?