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Do Twitter users have an obligation to provide value?

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The short answer is No. But I suppose it all depends on why you joined Twitter in the first place. Some of us joined because over 2 years ago, it was the new shiny social media “thing”. We had no idea at the time, nor did Biz and Ev for that matter, it would be what it is now. I almost don’t recognize it.

Beth Harte a few months back, talked about social media purists in a blog posts about the 4 faces of social media. For the purists out there, I think Twitter is just another extension or another channel to communicate, share and learn. That’s CO-mmunicate. As in 2 way. or as Beth mentions,  The purist “truly embraces social media as the conversation that the tools allow people to engage in from day-to-day”.

The purist on Twitter doesn’t feel “obligated” to share information or provide value, they just do.

For those that are not into Twitter for the value that they can  give and get from conversations, chances are they are misguided in to what they think Twitter can do for them. The operative phrase there being “what Twitter can DO for them.” Or rather, at some point along the way, for these “takers”, it ceased to be about the conversation, and more about them. Chances are, it was never really about the conversation in the first place.  Essentially Twitter became a vehicle for narcissism.

This user will take value but won’t re-purpose or share value. Nor will they provide value. Unfortunately this person seems to be appearing more and more often in the space and for that reason, one is now forced to create niche like silos for information that hasn’t been tainted so to speak. I have maintained that that concept (silos) seems to make the most sense to really get and give the most value from those you follow and those that follow you, but by creating your own walled garden, you do miss out on some morsels of good content from time to time. But, to some degree, we now have no choice.

I’m going to semi-quote a song by a really famous band that was pictured above and rehash the words.

In the end, the value that you take, should be equal to the value that you make.

So what’s the answer?

You think about it.

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5 Responses to “Do Twitter users have an obligation to provide value?”


  1. 1 adhansen June 4, 2009 at 11:59 am

    Co-mmunicate. Con-verse. Co-llaborate. Social media overall, and Twitter in particular, are all about sharing things “with” our peers. And as in any healthy relationship, the emphasis is not placed on calculating the proportion of give and take. When you’re in the zone, give and take naturally work themselves out, and if you have chosen your peers wisely, they’re not spending too much time on enforcing any kind of strict 50/50 proportion either.

  2. 2 marc meyer June 4, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    Agree-when you’re in the zone, everything is free and easy and loose-problem is some get caught up in the “me” aspect of what they are doing on Twitter.

  3. 3 Tony Faustino June 10, 2009 at 1:40 am

    Marc,

    After reading this article, I couldn’t help but think about the points discussed in your April 16, 2009 article, We 2.0 is Better than Me 2.0. There are many interesting parallels from that article that dovetail with this one.

    When one engages other Twitter tweeps with a We 2.0 attitude (versus being a Twitter Taker), he/she reap tremendous professional benefits. I’ve been using Twitter since March 2009, and it’s my favorite social media channel for sharing and learning professional knowledge (along with LinkedIn). I gain worthwhile knowledge everyday from the trusted folks I follow. They are often a better source of content and professional learning than what I can efficiently locate with my own Google Search.

    Therefore, I hope that I’m returning mutual value by sharing content that also benefits them professionally. When someone RT’s one of my tweets, I feel like I accomplished something worthwhile. I feel like I actually helped someone professionally (and I might not even know this individual personally or he/she could be halfway around the world). I mean how cool is that!

    Yeah, I know that everybody says that digital media tools are cutting-edge, new school, sexy and blah blah blah. But guess what, there’s a real-life person at “the other end”, and he/she appreciates thoughtful engagement. When using social media, old school rules like civility, good manners, and generosity still apply.

  4. 4 marc meyer June 11, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    @Tony that attitude will take you far my friend. You truly understand not only the value of Twitter but of the act of being social online..value begets value as I am wont to say!


  1. 1 Isabelle O’Kane » Normal “converstion” rules apply, & don’t forget to be polite Trackback on June 5, 2009 at 7:30 pm
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Marc Meyer is a Digital and Social Media Strategist at DRMG. This is my personal blog where I share observations, thoughts and opinions that are all my own.

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