Twitter is for Losers

Photo cred: Jesse CourteManche

That’s apparently what a lot of people think…

At another lively #u30pro chat last night, we discussed where social media might fail for young professionals.  One of the topics of discussion that developed really intrigued me.  It seems that not one, not most, but almost ALL the participants shared their experience of being mocked by their friends for using twitter.

If you’re on facebook?  That’s okay… who isn’t?

If you’re on linkedin?  That’s okay too…you’re just trying to network.

From my experience, the two things that seem to draw mockery are twitter and blogging.  They’re still viewed as “lame” by many who aren’t involved. And if your friends are saying it, you can only imagine what strangers are thinking.

Does it really matter? No. I know why I do what I do, and if someone has a problem with it…fuck em! Being mocked is just part of being friends.

But it’s interesting isn’t it?  The most open forms of social interaction online draw the most mockery while those platforms which essentially allow you to do that same, but within a “closed” or private network, are acceptable.

Why?

Have you been mocked for using twitter or blogging?

67 thoughts on “Twitter is for Losers

  1. This is an interesting point – and while I wholeheartedly disagree, I have been made fun of for “tweeting.” In part, I think it’s just because Twitter, tweeting, tweets, etc. are funny words to say and people who aren’t in-the-know get a kick out of them. Also, it’s probably just a lack of understanding. Once people hear how useful or beneficial Twitter has been for one person or another, or that you can actually tweet to real celebrities and they might tweet you back, they’ll change their tune and probably open an account to check it out themselves. 🙂

    1. Twitter being a funny name definitely contributes to the mockery haha. The lack of understanding is really why…but that makes sense right? People make fun of things they don’t understand all the time.

  2. David-
    Good post and I felt the same way after last night’s discussion. I started blogging right before the end of the year. My best friend since I was 9 called last night and said, “I read your blog and laughed at you.” ..really? I immediately asked her “Why, what was it that made you laugh?”…silence. Most people point the finger and don’t understand it but they have no reason behind it accept “it’s weird.” Well what exactly make us weird?

    Are we “losers” because we are putting ourselves, experiences and thoughts out there to the public for criticism and critique or are we losers because you don’t have half the courage and determination to do what we do everyday on twitter and blogs? My friend won’t even update her facebook status due to fear of criticism. She could never fathom putting a blog out there or 140 characters for that matter.

    So although, not one of my friends are on twitter or would comment on my blog (besides texting or some support on my wall), I will continue to build my network, make friends and learn from the amazing people I talk to every day through the losery Twitter.

    Thanks David
    T

    1. It’s something about connecting with random people that just still doesn’t sit right with a lot of people. It’s the openness that makes them feel uncomfortable and so they mock it?

      I really don’t know…but I’ve had the same experience as you.

      Once in a while I’ve started getting compliments on my blog form my friends. I even got my good friend Jon Klar, who gives me shit all the time, to START a blog! So it’s not impossible.

      1. It’s on of those “Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it” kind of things. If I was worried about being criticized though, I wouldn’t be blogging or twittering. Don’t get me wrong, I get my fair share of critique, but I love it. It helps me grow and learn.

  3. I do get mocked for using Twitter, and most of my friends don’t know that I have a blog! But people tend to make fun of things that they don’t understand, so it’s natural.

      1. I stopped posting my blog posts to my FB profile; I have pages for that, and sporadically share things to my profile wall. Much cleaner that way, and friends who are interested become page fans.

  4. Teresa! You nailed it! I was going to say that I think the reason people mock is because they’re afraid to put themselves out there in the world the same way that most of us do online.

    Once you get settled in, social media is a supportive community, but at the start it can be pretty intimidating. Aren’t just those geeks who know everything about technology and the Internet the ones who blog? Does anyone actually read your blog? Don’t you care?

    It may seem silly, but it does take some kind of courage to start a Twitter account or a blog and start putting your ideas and thoughts out there. What you get back, I think, is well worth any risk, but I can understand how some might not understand it or want to get involved.

    Also, I know my best friend is in pharmacy school right now, and she doesn’t see many of her peers online and doesn’t see much benefit as a future pharmacist. I get that, and I still think she could find a rewarding community online, but I know that it may not seem as appealing (or necessary) as it does to me, someone in a communications field.

    1. You’re best friend in pharmacy school can use twitter for more than a professional network too. She can find the support and ideas for all areas of life.

      I totally agree about the supportive community on social media. When I first put my blog out, I got a few knocks on my chin and some poking with a stick, but the fact that I hung in there and kept posting made all the difference. The people that were providing the criticism now support me, comment and are subscribed to my post.

      Be yourself, whatever self that is, and stand behind it. Whether it is in person or on a screen.

      1. I’ve talked to her about getting online for better networking, but she’s convinced that there aren’t really many pharmacists online. I’ve tried to prove her wrong, but she’s kind of right. I still try to encourage her to be a thought-leader in that sense, but then of course she’s got the “I’m still a student” excuse. I won’t give up on her…

        1. Definitely keep pushing. She should know, she isn’t just a pharmacist. She is a student, a young professional, a best friend, etc. She can provide and learn from though-leadsership in all those areas.

    2. You’re right…it does take courage to start a blog or to start using twitter.

      Do you think that’s because of fear or embarrassment? I feel like there’s a level of embarrassment involved, but why? Is being open embarrassing? Once you just do it, and start using twitter and blogging, you’re not longer embarrassed…but why do we feel that way when starting out?

      1. I think the fear comes from a number of places. Because it’s still not completely mainstream and it was once perceived that only geeks were on blogs, I think there’s definitely fear or embarrassment at being called a geek. It’s tough to throw your hat in a ring when you know you might be ridiculed. I don’t think it’s necessarily the nature of social media (being open), but how others and mainstream still perceive social media (it’s dorky!).

  5. Twitter has been the cause of some taunts and mockery being tossed my way, but it’s no big deal. When this happens (it’s usually close friends, so it’s typical) I usually laugh and if they want to know why and how I actually use the technology, I’ll explain. If not, then there’s no point on adding fuel to the fire.

    Everybody does things that others would constitute as “nerdy.” People involved in PR/marketing/communications have taken a liking to social sites like Twitter for obvious reasons that relate to our fields. We use the tools that are necessary in order to help our careers. If it means I’m nerdy then go ahead and add that to the stock pile of relating everything in my life to Star Wars, reading Lord of the Rings 13 times and memorizing the movies and theology, collecting an obscene amount of CDs (yes, I still buy CDs), and owning every Monty Python movie and every episode of Flying Circus.

  6. In regards to being mocked for using Twitter and blogging:
    Twitter and blogging have been the cause of some mockery, but I’m finding that my friends and family are becoming more and more supportive. I think, as with most anything, the reason why Twitter and blogging are being poked fun at is due to ignorance and lack of understanding, rather than any actual opposition of their use. When people see how it works and get a demonstration of what comes from putting yourself out there, then they start to come around. I do find myself having to explain that I’m not using Twitter or blogging as a self-promotion tool, marketing exercise, or request for validation that I don’t get somewhere else. I find a lot of the people who are mocking are skeptical because they have encountered spammers, braggarts, and salespeople who have little or no regard for the community and who don’t bother to engage with others.

    In regards to “private” versus “public” social media outlets:
    What I’ve come to learn is that there is no such thing as “private” social media. If it’s in print on the internet somewhere, someone will find it and someone can reproduce it. Even your “private” updates on Facebook can be duplicated and posted elsewhere. As employers long ago discovered, Facebook is a great place to mine information on potential and current employees. However, the response from many is, instead of ceasing behavior or speech that would reflect poorly on their reputations, people tend to “lock it up” and only let it out in a “personal” context, thinking it will never cross over into their professional lives. The problem with this is that no one can live a double life without eventual consequences. The bottom line: your online self is the same as your offline self; your personal self is the same as your professional self. You are one person. The more comfortable you are with that, the better off you’ll be.

    1. Such a great point about “private” verses “public”. I was at a meeting yesterday when a reporter referred to everything you post on SM as posted to a *global audience.* Even with privacy settings whatever you put out there is now there for everyone to see. Love the comment about your online self…

    2. So true about privacy. We like to think that we’re protected when we use security locks on our accounts, but it doesn’t mean that SOMEONE won’t find us. I measure social media in my job, I know better than anyone what you say online can always be found. I see Tweets that if I try to view them on Twitter tell mt the account is “locked.” So much for that…

      And I couldn’t agree more about the idea that we’re all one person. It’s too hard to keep anything separate anymore, and it’s best to just be you all the time. I love that!

      1. Plus, you know, when you get right down to it, isn’t the whole individual much more interesting than *just* the girl who likes horror movies or the guy who works for such-and-such PR firm or that friend of a friend who you met at a baseball game? There’s a reason why people carry business cards at social events and why people are social before/after/during business meetings – even if we respect others for professionalism, people are relational beings and we like to be able to know others as people, as well as in the sense of their job titles.

    3. Well said.

      I think any form of mocking of another person is caused by one of two things: humor (as with friends, usually) or ignorance. To make fun of someone for something they do obviously means you have no idea why they do it. People do things for a reason. If you don’t agree with it, it’s probably because you don’t understand why they’re doing it.

      I don’t think people can keep their personal and professional lives online separate either. Especially as we age and develop our careers, and the people we work with become our friends outside of work as well. It’s impossible to contain information online.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts guys.

  7. Hi, David! Great to see this post after we touched on Twitter-teasers in the #u30pro discussion last night.

    There’s been a fair share of slack tossed my way for using Twitter, even my Aunt has teased me about tweeting. It’s nothing I take personally. However, at one point, it did begin to affect how much I’d talk about my online interaction with my friends. It used to seem like there was no point in bringing it up when mockery would soon follow. In doing so, I was letting the taunting ensue. As I mentioned last night, people seem to make fun of what they don’t understand. The trend was proof to me, at least.

    Shortly after Lauren Fernandez came to talk to my PR class, and spoke of how beneficial Twitter actually is, I became a lot more vocal about things I read on Twitter, a tweet that caught my eye, and things of the like. I noticed that the more I talked about Twitter, the easier it became to break my friends’ shared notion that people only tweet their daily whereabouts, such as, “Going out to eat,” “Shopping,” and so forth.

    1. Lauren will have that effect on people ^_^

      I also try to limit myself from mentioning twitter or things that I’ve done or found online simply because I don’t want to hear it from my friends. I can never keep everything in though and I usually end up letting out a “You know what I heard on twitter” once in a while. haha

  8. Twitter for losers?
    Yes, please, bring Farmville, Mafia Wars, exchangeable hugs & gifts to twitter quick so we don’t remain losers. 🙂

    Twitter, at the outset, looks a lot like a flock of birds flying aimlessly in flocks between trees, like a thousand swallows in one fell swoop.
    Upon looking closer you find that the flock is made up of many individual birds, and some look quite interesting — might even want to talk to a few, or some have great voices. And so you, too become a tweeter. It’s almost a natural progression.

    I can’t remember a single person I’ve spoken to directly that approached twitter and had a look without saying “oh boy, that’s not for me”. If they returned, even only for a second look, they quickly changed their mind. I know I did.

    And David you are correct in pointing out the issue of private/public differences – twitter is most valued, by me, for it’s openness. Gated communities have their place, I guess, but it’s not really where the action is, is it?

    cheers.

    1. Thanks for the comment Vince.

      Agreed, people who sit on facebook and do those stupid games have a lot more to be ashamed of than people using twitter for real things.

      I know a lot of people who have tried twitter once or twice and decided it’s not for them…but they’ll probably be back.

  9. Thanks David for writing about this. It was heartening to learn that everyone on the chat was mocked for using Twitter (and not just me). I agree with Valerie, Sheema and Meredith that our friends mock in part because they don’t understand. Somewhere they’ve picked up the idea that Twitter is only for mundane status updates. This attitude elicits a desire to explain to them the many uses of Twitter. But people are amazingly close minded about the subject. It usually just leads to more mocking.

    I’d never really thought about Rebecca and Teresa’s theory about people mocking because they fear putting themselves out there and maybe are jealous of us for having the guts to do so ourselves. That’s definitely probably true about my friends and family, and understandably so. Having been a newspaper reporter, I’m used to being out in the public eye, so it wasn’t a big deal for me.

    Finally, I think some Twitter haters think that Twitter users are conceited for broadcasting themselves (“do you think anyone really cares what weird thing you saw on the bus?”). Of course, it’s not really about that. If you simply use Twitter to broadcast and never interact, that’s a little conceited. But in a way, those who resist Twitter because they don’t want to be like us conceited tweeps are kind of conceited themselves. It’s like they’re too important to lower themselves to sharing with an online community (“you can only enjoy my company and perspective if you are lucky enough to know me in real life.”)

  10. David-

    Great post. I wish I was around for the chat last night!

    Everyone mentioned great points in their comments aboce. I’ve definitely been mocked for using Twitter and having a blog, but that might be because they just don’t know how to use these tools effectively and for networking. I think your point about Twitter being an open network is especially good, and true.

    I’m with you though- who cares if you’re mocked? We have a great community here and we’re all in the same boat 🙂

    -C

  11. I can’t think of a person I know that hasn’t mocked me at some point or another for my open use of social media.

    That’s ok – most of them have become so interested that they call me for thoughts at times and others have even leveraged conversations we’ve had to lock down jobs.

  12. For me i get a lot of people with the “Why would people want to hear what you have to say on a blog?” type response to blogging. Of course with Twitter you get the “Tweet tweet” or “Why don’t go to twit/twat that?” For the most part though, it’s not something I broadcast unless it just comes up in conversation with my friends. For the most part, even if they were on Twitter, I think they’d probably be a little weirded out by how I use it.

    But hey, it’s fun, it’s rewarding, and we’re all way cooler than them anyways.

      1. No clue what you’re talking about, David…

        My friends’ idea of a good night out is checking into the bar on foursquare, shouting out to the ladies who also checked in on foursquare, and then discussing the ROI of social media over a cold beer. Every now and then, things get a little craaaazy and someone shoots a video that they post on their Tumblr the next day.

  13. Haha my friends mock me all the freaking time. But I that’s part of the reason they love me, I’m their little social media geek…I guess it’s endearing in just the same way that the one is my little bookworm geek, trivia geek, philosophy geek, sports facts geek, politics geek…etc. We’re all into our own thing, and I have to agree with Scott: *I* am the one they call to ask about LinkedIn or how to change settings on Facebook.

  14. Looking outwardly to place the blame on those who tease is entirely un-useful. The only way to take mockery and turn it into insight is to take responsibility for it. Maybe social media shows just how needy we are for connections that we just can’t get enough in real life.

    Maybe it questions our confidence in face to face situation by evoking the archetype of the person who has no one to hang out with in real life but sits on the computer all day talking to people they never met.

    As far as Facebook vs. Twitter, the distinction is obvious. Most people use Facebook to interact with people that they know or have met in real life. Whether or not this is arbitrary in this day and age is debatable, but I’m inclined to see a distinction between “we hang out” friends and “we talk online” friends.

    Of course everybody knows someone in school who had an “online girlfriend/boyfriend” who they have never interacted with in person, and that shit is hilarious. They may have found a love that you or I will never know in our lifetimes but that doesn’t make it any less funny.

    Also, Spinks you were lame before twitter ever existed

  15. I have to admit, when I first started tweeting a year and a half ago, I didn’t get it. I didn’t see why anyone would be interested in what I had to say. I felt the same about blogging, which I started around the same time. Then as I began to actually get involved and read and participate and engage, everything changed. I just found out this week that I will start an internship at Weber Shandwick in Chicago. For the record, I am a senior at Ohio University, and for the last year have been told all about how terrible the job market is. Thanks to blogging and a single tweet back in August, I didn’t send out a single application or unsolicited resume, and got the first position I interviewed for.

    I feel the same way about this as all those that decried the science club students in High School. I’m fine being considered a loser by those who don’t get it if it means success in the real world with those who do.

  16. I’m so upset that I missed #U30Pro last night! In the evening I’m in school for my MBA. Two semesters ago I was in an org. behavior class and we were talking about the changing ways in which organizations/individuals communicate. I referenced Twitter. My professor immediately jerked her head back and asked me if I was talking about a drug.

    Now I won’t even get into the fact that a B-School professor should be at minimum reading mainstream media…and if she had been..she would have been well aware of Twitter.

    At that point I made it my goal to teach her a lesson (not in a sarcastic way, that phrase is overused). We had a group project at the end of the semester where we used twitter to facilitate the class discussion. By the time the semester ended, she had signed up.

    This was a great post!

  17. Whenever someone mocks me for using Twitter, I say, “Fair enough. But Twitter helped connect me to an amazing group of people that raised more than $91,000 for charity last year. What did you do?”

    Usually shuts them up 😉

  18. I’m so glad you expanded on this today. This was definitely my favorite part of the #u30pro chat last night and even though I got some great responses to my question last night (What do you all of you tell your friends who make fun of you for using twitter and/or foursquare all the time?), I’m loving all the other [expanded] perspectives.

    I would say most of the “making-fun” is actually family/friends who don’t understand what I’m doing. They see my focused on Twitter and just stare at the screen in confusion. Or when I’m out and about around town, my friends tend to view using social media in public as rude more than anything else. How can you argue with being rude? I’ve found it pretty hard.

    The biggest take-away from last night was to just explain to people that I’m learning something new, to just bare with me, and that I’m using it to supplement and expand my network. I can’t see how many people could argue with that.

    But trying to explain the benefits to someone who doesn’t use social media just makes me sound like a huge nerd and makes me look less social than I actually am.

  19. I am on the high end of the under 30 professionals. They don’t make fun of me any more now that I make a living with Twitter in Internet Marketing. However, yes, I have had people ask about Twitter, but not really be mean about it. I think that most people don’t really understand what Twitter is and/or they don’t understand how people would have that many interesting things to say to be on Twitter. I would have to agree if you use Twitter for personal use, but if you use it for a business or you are in entertainment, it can make a lot of sense.

  20. I’m not under 30 so I probably shouldn’t even be commenting here. I’m a journalist, and separately, I write stories on my website. As a journalist, I use twitter to showcase stories on my beat and newsroom. We are encouraged to tweet as part of our job. I have actually had to convince some of my younger, under 30, peers to tweet. I also tweet separately and personally under FabulousFables. To me, twitter showed its ultimate value after the earthquake in Haiti. The outpouring of donations, prayer and goodwill show what a power for good twitter can be. So mock away. This older guy stands firmly for twitter. Sorry to insert myself into the under 30 conversation; I’m only doing it this once, but just thought I would share after I saw @twitter_tips link to this topic. Goodbye.

    1. Hey David,

      This topic definitely isn’t just for u30’s. Our chat is focused on issues that young professionals face but there are many professionals that are older than 30 that participate. Your thoughts and insights aren’t just okay, they’re needed (=

      I agree and I think that anyone who uses twitter regularly, and does understand the value in it, isn’t embarrassed or worried about being mocked. Twitter is a powerful platform that impacts many aspects of offline life (Haiti as an example).

  21. OK, confession time.

    I used to mock people for using facebook. Now I’m rapidly becoming a facewhore.

    Oh. You know I remember being verbally abused and told I was a f—–g Wanker for using the internet. That was in 1995.

    I wonder if that guy has a computer yet?

    1. We tend to mock things we don’t understand. Have to try to keep an open mind but it happens to the best of us ^_^

      I’m sure people used to be mocked for using email…and now everyone does.

  22. For whatever reason, your post sparked a connection I previously failed to make- the similarity of my friends mocking me for tweeting and attempting to blog to what my close friends in high school, “the guys”, mocked me for- having good friends outside of our social circle, or the grade behind us, etc.

    Many people find comfort and security within their social circle. What they don’t want is to feel like someone might leave it, or invite someone in without the group’s approval. I experienced this in high school, and Twitter or blogging is the same thing, but at hyperspeed. For people more set in their ways, ones that aren’t going to adopt as quickly, they see it as a threat to their relationships.

    Great post.

  23. I mostly get the response “I just don’t get it” whenever I talk about using Twitter. But then a lot of my friends don’t really understand what I do for a living as community manager, no matter how often I try and explain! It’s a lost cause for me with my ‘real’ friends so I just indulge myself with my ‘virtual’ friends who understand me!

  24. Yeah, lots of people out there who don’t ‘get’ Twitter. I was one of those people – until I won an airfare to New Zealand.

  25. In my profession – law – not sure if Twitter will generate into more money for my law firm. It may be that 2 years from now lawyers will look back on Twitter and proclaim “what the hell was I thinking that Twitter would help me generate business”

    When it comes to blogging – I will tell you for a certainty that blogging for my law firm has made – and I shit you not – six figures $or my law firm in past three years. Thats with no advertising. People have found me in my niche practice.

    So, lawyers, if you think blogging should be mocked, mock away.

  26. I think people make fun of things they don’t understand. Perhaps they are intimidated by it. Maybe they think they are just “too cool” for it.

    Especially related to twitter – many of my friends and peers “have tried it” and think it is lame. They sign up for an account, post trivial things and aren’t engaged in or seeking out meaningful conversation.

    One of my favorite quotes applies -> Some Will. Some Won’t. So What?

    Keep focus on what you can control and what is important to you. Then make the most of it – no matter the medium.

  27. Mr. Spinks,

    You hit a nail on the head. I just recorded a podcast on the squab where I talked about having my ‘real life’ friends make fun of me tweeting and yet I have met over 300 people in the past 3 months that are some of the best people I have met in my life.. Ya, I’ll be tweeting.

    Feel free to give the 5 min podcast a listen if you want… http://www.thesquab.com/2010/01/a-true-christmas-story/

    Like always, Good post.

    -Shane Mac
    @shanemacsays

  28. “All truth passes through three stages: First it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed and third it is accepted as being self-evident.”

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