As a digital strategist working with companies and brand managers on a variety of social media communications projects, I can't even begin to tell you how often on a weekly and monthly basis I get the following questions or comments as they relate specifically to Twitter:
- "We have a Twitter account but we don't do anything with it."
- "I'm on Twitter but I haven't logged in since I first created the account several years ago."
- "I keep thinking I (our business) should be on Twitter but I don't understand how and why to use it."
- "Why do we need Twitter? Who the #&*#Q@ cares about Twitter?"
- "Twitter: I (still) don't get it."
Umm … yeah.
I have to say, occasionally I'll get similar questions about LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram or Facebook and other social platforms but the overwhelming "I don't get it" types of questions, resistance and confusion are predominantly focused on (or against) Twitter.
And lately, it seems to me this type of adverse or anti-Twitter chatter is much more pronounced than in previous months or years. Certainly, each social network has its fans and detractors but man, when it comes to Twitter, the naysayers, avoiders and rejectors of this social utility tool can be quite passionate about why they are not Twitter users.
Each time I hear someone express their #grievances #dislikes #frustrations and #confusions with regard to the 140-character microblog which I love so very much (I myself have about 15 personal Twitter accounts of my very own; not to mention the many Twitter accounts I oversee and manage for clients and projects), I want to just cringe.
I lie in bed awake at night often wondering why do so many people seem to be suffering from what I refer to as "Tweetitis"? "Tweetitis" is, in my view, a rather grave marketing condition which I have observed and use to describe an individual or a brand that chronically believes Twitter participation is not a worthwhile pursuit of their marketing time, resources or budget and becomes overly-anxious (and in some cases vehemently opposed) when the topic of Twitter immersion (at any level) surfaces in social media outreach strategy conversations and dialog.
Individuals suffering from Tweetitis often display some of the following unfortunate symptoms:
1. An intense preoccupation with their hatred and/or deep dislike of Twitter; the notion of becoming part of the Twittersphere in any way, shape or form tends to cause protests, anxiety-ridden outbursts and, in some severe cases, nervous vomiting.
2. Intolerance to limiting their content sharing or expression efforts to 140 characters; the idea of a platform truncating their content to 140 characters is just confusing, insulting or downright revolting.
3. Withdrawal symptoms at the thought of abandoning their "I don't get Twitter" stance which they have steadfastly held on to for very long periods of time; and when gently encouraged to create their Twitter "@" handle for starters, Tweetitis sufferers tend to sweat profusely from every single pore on their body under what they deem to be "enormous pressure" to become a Tweeper.
4. Physical dependence to absolutely ANY social network other than Twitter; these individuals tend to recoil when their "Anything's better than Twitter" attitude is or appears to be threatened. One mere look at the Twitter logo on their desktop or mobile devices and Tweetitis sufferers become unglued at the seams and frantically hit the "ESC" key on their keyboards or finger-swipe their mobile screens aggressively to dismiss the little blue bird from their immediate eyesight.
5. Deep denial that the #hashtag is now mainstream and interwoven into the fabric of daily conversations both in and out of social. In more serious cases of Tweetitis, individuals impeded with this challenging condition insist the word "hashtag" is just street slang for McDonald's hash browns. Others outright reject the idea that "a stupid little pound sign" should be incorporated into any marketing aspects or PR lingo whatsoever.
6. Inability to predict how much their Twitter-aversion may impact their overall social media engagement and communications strategies; Tweetitis sufferers can't clearly see the opportunity costs their absence on Twitter may be costing them. They would much rather "make do" without Twitter and, in some cases, may even deny Twitter even exists altogether.
OK yes, I'm using humor and satire to colorfully illustrate what I see on a regular basis: an inexplicable and pervasive Twitter-conundrum resulting in tweet-mayhem and endless confusion by individuals who, for whatever reason(s), have convinced themselves that Twitter is not a social outpost worth participation.
Of course, I do realize not all brands or individuals need to be on Twitter. The social platform you choose to interact with and be part of is highly dependent on where your audience is and/or where you believe you and/or your brand need/should be. And in some specific cases, I agree that a brand may not need to engage on Twitter.
But for the large lot of Tweetitis sufferers, they've usually and already made up their anti-Twitter mindsets independent of any thorough research or social media marketing strategy and planning. They are, in most cases, erroneously concluding from the get-go that Twitter, for all intents and purposes, just sucks and is only for teenagers or celebrities or for nerds, spam bots and so on. These individuals don't once even think about how or why their alignment with Twitter might be of value or, at minimum, an social media avenue worthy of their consideration.
So, how does one combat Tweetitis? Great question. While there is no fool-proof cure on the market to date, there are some known and helpful approaches to mitigate this brand-crippling social media disorder.
Here are a few treatment steps worth noting:
1. Acknowledge there is a #problem
Many people with Tweetitis hesitate to get treatment because they don't recognize they have a problem. An intervention from a social media consultant, manager or practitioner can help some people recognize and accept that they need professional help. If you're concerned about a peer or colleague who exemplifies some of the Tweetitis symptoms as detailed above, talk to a professional for advice and guidance on how to best approach that person as each case of Tweetitis may vary on case-by-business-case basis.
2. Detoxtwification & withdrawal
Treatment for Tweetitis may begin with a program of anti-Twitter detoxtwification, which generally can take anywhere from a few days to weeks and months, depending on the disorder's severity. The suffering individual may need a lot of extra hand-holding, 1:1 consultations and extensive education and trainings to help prevent shaking, confusion or hallucinations or other Tweetitis-related symptoms.
3. Learning skills & establishing a treatment plan
This usually involves expert social media treatment specialists who can help Tweetitis sufferers begin to see many positive opportunities and brand possibilities as a result of Twitter engagement. A Twitter action plan may include goal setting, behavior change techniques, use of self-help manuals, counseling, ongoing follow-up care and education obtained from industry conferences and online seminars.
In addition to the above, one should also consider a number of lifestyle remedies, including the following:
1. Consider your network & professional connections
Make it clear to your boss, peers and professional colleagues as well as your friends, fans and followers that you are backing away from Tweetitis-related activities and behaviors. You may need to distance yourself from situations that impair your Tweetitis recovery such as detracting Twitter as a social network or devaluing the act of tweeting as a form of modern marketing communications.
2. Develop healthy habits
Incrementally do things that positively involve Twitter as an important part of your brand journalism efforts. A few examples include but are not limited to:
--> Perform an advanced search on Twitter and peruse through the results to identify tweets or people of interest.
--> Update your Twitter profile.
--> Clean out and/or better organize your Twitter lists.
--> Perform a follower/following audit and ensure you are connected to Tweepers that are relevant and of interest to your brand communication needs.
3. Coping & support
There are countless of industry conferences and networking groups at the local, regional and national level that can shed a positive light on Twitter marketing approaches and best practices. Seek out any professional development opportunities where you can positively establish and/or improve your understanding of 140-character focused engagement.
I hope the advice on this page helps you to combat your own Tweetitis or that of your clients and peers. While Tweetitis is not always preventable, it is highly treatable and can often be remedied with time, social media expertise and ongoing pro-Twitter education.
Do you know of anyone suffering from Tweetitis-like ailments? Please share your Tweetitis battle-stories in the comments below!