Drunk on Twitter

Some time ago back in my wild youth, I found myself getting drunk three nights a week. What was the cause? Too much alcohol. A pretty simple cause and effect equation. Good news. I don’t drink anymore (and if you want to know the story of how that happened, drop me a line at [email protected]. Bad news, I’m finding some alcoholics on Twitter.

Recently, I’ve been looking at http://twitaholic.com/. It’s amazing what it tells you about Twitter accounts and their followers. For example, as of this post, Lady Gaga has more followers than President Obama. Ellen DeGeneres is more popular than Oprah Winfrey. CNN is not even in the top 10 anymore after the well-publicized challenge that Ashton Kutcher against the news network.

I connected with someone who has one of the top 1,000 Twitter accounts in the world (based on followers). This person was asking me for public relations help. and was frustrated that this top Twitter account was not helping their business development efforts. While I’d love to help this person, I’m beginning to see a trend  with people involved in Twitter that somewhat resembles drunken behavior: Followers/following for the sake of followers/following.

I do understand the value of Twitter, especially for consumer products and services that want to get the word out about a special or limited time offer, but for the business-to-business community I see people getting “drunk” with following and being followed for no strategic reason. The fact is that unless you are giving away something free to consumers, it’s often a poor tactic for finding new business.

Look, I’ve read the blog posts of social media experts and I respect the value of Twitter for business to business client development. However, quality will always trump quantity. Why? Because relationships mean connections, not just some clever 140 character posts. How often does the average business have the type of breaking news like a plane going down in the Hudson River to justify their followers attention?

The laugh for me is that so many people are getting “drunk” on Twitter because they feel they have to join in. However, few people have more than a couple hundred contacts that they can stay in touch with in any meaningful way. Why do they need to keep signing up for platforms beyond Facebook or even a simple email group?

While I see the value of instant communications channels, I see much more of the garbage of businesses jumping on Twitter’s bus with a DUI driver.