There was an interesting article published over on LinkedIn from Alan Wolk, a consultant to the television (traditional broadcast) industry. I added my own perspective to his article which asserted that Twitter isn’t a social network, but instead a broadcast network. In the post Alan likened Twitter to standing up in front of a crowd and giving a speech, but I disagree.
I’ve posted an elongated version of the comment I left on Alan’s post below. I’d love to hear what you have to add after reading Alan’s original post and my two-cents worth. Leave your comments below or add them to Alan’s article and build on the conversation there.
Interesting perspective, but I disagree.
Using the term “Broadcast Network” implies that the feed goes one-way (as in traditional television or radio), but while Twitter may not be cut from the same social cloth as Facebook (thank the gods!), it is a network that encourages two-way conversations. Ask anyone who has had a customer service issue satisfactorily resolved on Twitter, or fans who have struck-up conversations with gurus, celebrities, and personal heroes.
Twitter isn’t “standing up and giving a speech to a crowd”, Twitter is the many mini-conversations taking place between audience members in an auditorium prior to the speech being given from the front of the room. Twitter is the chatter in the lobby during intermission of a Broadway show. Twitter is the fan banter from the stands during a ball game. Twitter is the overheard conversation while standing at the bar.
Twitter isn’t a television show broadcast on a specific day at a specific time. It’s virtually impossible to tune-in to a single channel and follow a storyline, because even if you stayed fixed on a single user’s Twitter feed youd end up confused because that one person could be commenting and replying and responding to 50 other users. You’d only be hearing one-side of a conversation; which can be amusing and even interesting, but hardly edifying.
Twitter is a stream, and people wiser than me have stated that no one steps into the same river twice. Whether an individual is paying attention or not, the conversation keeps flowing, and the Twitter stream you were reading last night in no way resembles the Twitter stream you’ll start reading the next morning.
Twitter is the crowd (and your customers) having a conversation; and those who pay attention by keeping an ear tuned to this (social) stream are in a position to gain insight and knowledge from the collected wisdom of this crowd.
Or you can tell yourself that it’s yet another interruptive broadcast device and get muted and ignored by all the people who would have once welcomed you to join their conversation.