You may look at social media as a toy, a giant time sink, or something marginally valuable.
Or something else entirely.
Me? I find it an amazing tool, particularly Twitter.
As @GaryVee noted yesterday in the video conversation between he and Robert Scoble, Twitter lets you do something essential for free that businesses would have paid MILLIONS for a decade ago.
The ability to listen to what people are saying, in *real conversations*, about their products and services.
The ability to engage their customers.
My new “friend” Al
As I noted a few weeks ago, I’m making some business changes in order to position myself to be more flexible as my role as an Alzheimer’s patient caregiver becomes more demanding somewhere down the road.
Fast forward to earlier this week. I’m glancing over at Tweetdeck (a program that “watches” Twitter for you) and I see Guy Kawasaki talking about Alltop.com, one of his startup companies.
Alltop gathers the best of the best on a particular topic and shows you a pile of RSS feeds in a really efficient format on one page (for example, Business is Personal‘s RSS feedÂ is available on marketing.alltop.com).
For some odd reason, it made me wonder if Guy has an Alzheimer’s section on Alltop.
I mosey over to Alltop.com and find out that there isn’t an Alzheimer’s section. I’m a little surprised, so I tap Guy on the shoulder via Twitter.
He replies back a few minutes later, says he thinks its a good idea and asks for some RSS feeds that I like regarding Alzheimer’s. It happens that I only have a few because I’m kinda of new in AlzheimersTown, but I send them anyway andÂ tell him I’ll send more as I find feeds that I like.
An hour or so later, he tweets back at me and says Alzheimers.alltop.com is up and ready to use. In the course of the conversation, he tells me his mom had it as well.
Guy didn’t have to share that with me, but he did. It’s what Twitter does. It creates a personal connection between people with like interests. Now, besides being geeks, we have something else in common. A family experience with Alzheimer’s.
Tell me… Â Before Twitter (B.T.), how would I manage to not only get Guy’s attention long enough to ask him to add a new feature to his product, much less to make a personal connection via something we share regarding a family member?
Remember, Guy’s a celebrity. A former Apple exec. A venture capitalist. A bunch of other stuff.
The walls that fame, fortune and celebrity put up between people (much less the mileage between Montana and Palo Alto) would make normally him completely inaccessible to me.
Twitter breaks down the wall, just like it did when I “caught” him reading my blog last year.
It lets people be people again – even over the net. It lets you get involved in the conversations about issues, products, services and “stuff”.
Ever wonder who might be talking about your product or service?
On Twitter, you don’t have to wonder.
Instead, you can actually join that conversation, just like Gary said yesterday and like Robert Collier said decades ago. When you do that, you can learn more about what really drives your customers to do what they do.
Have a conversation.
What do you think that is worth to you? I wonder.