Why Ricky Gervais is Wrong About Twitter

Did you read that Ricky Gervais has quit Twitter?   Lots of funny jokes about whether or not this makes him a Twitter Quitter etc.

I don’t want or expect Ricky to change his mind but I want my clients and readers to understand why he is both right and wrong in making this decision.

Here’s how he’s right.   He says his bosses at the Golden Globes wanted him to make a running commentary via Twitter as he hosts the awards ceremony on 17th January. He’s then quoted as saying “I suppose it was meant to be a bit of a marketing tool for The Globes, but they are watched by 25 million people in America alone and maybe 300 million people world wide — tweeting about it would be a drop in the ocean” and that’s where I agree with him.

Where we part company is when he says “As you may know I’ve stopped with Twitter. I just don’t get it I’m afraid. I’m sure it’s fun as a networking device for teenagers but there’s something a bit undignified about adults using it. Particularly celebrities who seem to be showing off by talking to each other in public. If I want to tell a friend, famous or otherwise what I had to eat this morning, I’ll text them. And since I don’t need to make new virtual friends, it seemed a bit pointless to be honest.”

This is the bit where he’s just plain wrong and he tells us why – he just doesnt get it.   His article then has a whole stream of comments from folks agreeing with him because, again, they just dont get it.

So what are they missing out on?   Its not used by teenagers much, Twitter can prove that.   And its not about telling people what you had for breakfast, although some do.  And I am sure some celebrity users do show off, for heavens’ sake that’s what celebrities are – Show Offs!   It goes with the territory. They need to build a fanbase of followers and milk them throughout their celebrity.   Just look at the people who do that really well and never stop doing it through long, long careers.

But again that’s not why I use Twitter or encourage clients seeking to marketing themselves online to do the same.
For me it has two splendid uses and you need only pick one.   You can communicate really quickly and easily with it and have a lot of fun and if you are a wordsmith who loves to communicate you wont want to miss the Twitter party.

But more importantly its about marketing.   And although the Golden Globes clearly has a huge audience already, ditto Ricky Gervais for the moment, lots of us do not have as big an audience/market as we would like yet.   And Twitter builds that faster and easier than anything I have seen.

I am not an expert at Twitter but I have nearly 1,000 followers.   Am I telling them anything interesting?   Who knows but why would they be following me otherwise?   Bandwagon jumping?   I dont think so.   My point is it took me more than four years to build that many fans following other online opportunities such as a website and an ezine.   And I am building a relationship with them where they come to know who I am, what I offer and how I can help them.

Twitter is a tool which you misunderstand, ignore and diss at your peril.   If you are in business (or a celebrity) pay someone to teach you the value of Twitter and stop making yourself look like an idiot in print.   Saying you don’t get Twitter is nothing short of daft, it only takes a few moments on Twitter to work out what it’s all about.

And I’m going to put my money where my mouth is.   I am going to ask a Twitter expert to be my guest on my radio show to educate those who don’t get it what they are not getting and I am going to run a teleclass and invite various Twitter success stories to share what they have done and what quantifiable results it has brought them.

Just to be giving you one to go along with.   Recently I put a glamorous new garden shed/office in my garden.   I havent used it much yet due to my month of December off and snow in the first half of January but from Monday I shall be in there and loving it during office hours.   I have had more traffic to my website from Twittering about this and getting picked up by websites and blogs where people work from home in their garden sheds or promote garden sheds than any single other piece of online marketing I have ever done.

I have invented Shed Sessions and now someone wants to profile these online.   Fabulous, that’s more free marketing for me and for them.

My shed caught the zeitgeist.   When you Google my name now, a photo of me comes up but so does a photo of my garden shed.  I am 54 but my shed is only three months old – how’s that for good, business-related free publicity? I am becoming a poster girl for shed workers!

How is this valuable to a small business, working from home, communicating and marketing to her target audience using Twitter?   Its fast, its fun and its free.   And its much more powerful than those who dont get it could possibly imagine.

GET A GRIP!   What’s not to get?

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One Response to “Why Ricky Gervais is Wrong About Twitter”

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  1. Great post Judith…

    “He’s then quoted as saying “I suppose it was meant to be a bit of a marketing tool for The Globes, but they are watched by 25 million people in America alone and maybe 300 million people world wide — tweeting about it would be a drop in the ocean” and that’s where I agree with him.”

    I’m not sure I do agree with that entirely – since avid Twitterers tend to be ‘early adopters’ and ‘influencers’, so a drop in the ocean in numbers maybe, but not in terms of influence and ‘reach’.

    I had BBC news channel on in background last night whilst working on your site and amongst the stories coming out of Haiti was how digital media, SMS, Facebook and Twitter have been so crucial in terms of fundraising, getting news in and out and helping people find lost friends and family.

    Which aside from highlighting other uses for ‘live’ comms services also illustrates that the watchers, newsmakers and influencers are indeed all watching.

    I reckon Ricky will return one day. 🙂

    PS. Would happily put my hand up to be on your Twitter special. x