The speed with which I got reactions to a tweet of Saturday showed the power of this medium. That is great if that is what you want, as I did, less so if that was not the intention. My arm is fine, thanks.
It was a short, pissed-off sort of tweet, which read Charlie Dale has broken his arm falling on the ice – just great for a drummer. Most of my tweets are business-related – they are either about eDiscovery / eDisclosure or are meant for people I know, most of whom are friendly members of the eDiscovery world. I put a measured amount of personal information (that is, information about me as opposed to the market) because a commentator’s comments are more valuable if you learn something about him – what you know about his background, prejudices and cultural hinterland affect the weight you give to his observations. Besides, if all I did was copy and paste press releases, no-one would come and read what I write.
In addition to everything else I promote here, I give the occasional push to The Phoenix Fall, the band in which my son Charlie Dale is the drummer (video of latest single here, FaceBook page here, buy from Amazon, iTunes etc.). This is partly a matter of paternal pride in the music, but I am also interested in the way the band promotes itself. The Phoenix Fall have proved pretty astute at using video, Twitter, FaceBook and anything they can lay their hands on, in addition to attractive posters etc to encourage attendance at gigs, follower loyalty and sales, and I read around the subject to see what we can borrow from music industry marketing. Some of you have made kind comments about the songs, and Charlie is coming with me to LegalTech, so it was not inappropriate to tweet about his broken arm.
One does have to give some thought to whether it is appropriate to write or tweet about any particular subject because adverse judgements can be made on the strength of what one writes – that is the corollary to what I said above about the weight to be given to a commentator. I am well aware that my tweets go beyond my Twitter followers, partly as a result of deliberate elections which I have made and partly because Google and Microsoft now pick them up – a powerful addition to the marketer’s armoury, incidentally, and one which those who sneer at Twitter need to think about. If I tweet something, I expect it to travel, and I don’t tweet if that thought bothers me.
Anyway, up went my tweet about Charlie’s arm and one or two kind messages came in from Twitter followers. Then one arrived by e-mail from someone who is not a follower, commiserating not with Charlie but with me about MY broken arm. I wrote back explaining that the tweet had been mis-read. Then another arrived to the same effect. And then another. There was more to this than over-quick tweet-reading.
Thinking about it, I realised that all three messages had come from LinkedIn. I do not get many LinkedIn messages apart from the standard introductory ones, but here were three in an hour, and all about my not-broken arm. My tweets appear in LinkedIn because I have chosen that they should, and LinkedIn in turn passes information out in the form of status updates – I make use of this to announce new blog posts as widely as possible. When I went to look, I could see exactly why people had read my tweet as relating to my arm. Where Twitter shows the author of a tweet in bold blue and with his or her Twitter name (in my case @chrisdaleoxford) at the front, LinkedIn just shows the forename. My tweet therefore read Chris Charlie Dale has broken his arm…, and anyone might be forgiven for thinking that meant me.
The outcome was a positive one: I now know what I had hitherto only assumed – that people who are not Twitter followers get and read my tweets. They will, for example, have seen this Sunday morning’s 7-way Anglo-Australian Twitter correspondence about the relative contribution of technology and bad planning to the expense of litigation – name me another way in which seven people on two continents, all known to me but not all to each other, could exchange views spontaneously on things like that.
You may want to check, however, how far your tweets are going. We now know that FaceBook is a minefield for the incautious – according to today’s paper, even Mark Zuckerberg, FaceBook’s co-founder and recent proponent of the death of privacy, removed unflattering photographs of himself pretty smartish when he found that anyone could see them. We sort of know that tweets can be read by anyone, but it will come as news to some that Google, Microsoft and LinkedIn may be aiding that process. That is a marketing tool so far as I am concerned. Others may have less positive views.