Hi David I’m going to “steal” your piece for future reference. I have already retweeted the link from yesterday to @doctorsblogs as Annabel taught me a fine approach to Twitter saying to use it just like a radio. You “can turn it on and off.” Having just started with Hootsuite they seem to be good at this only delivering the lastest 25 tweets when you come back on line. “A great Tweeter will ‘find’ themselves” How very true is that. I think the web has offered those online a great opportunity to engage with their own identity in an increasingly conscious way. I suspect you are of an age to remember Noel Edmonds! Now whilst I am not “in” to his TV and radio work he did make a profound comment possibly 20 years ago when he said, “We are moving from an era of broadcasting to one of narrowcasting”. I don’t think he could ever have imagined quite how “narrow” the broadcasting channel could become. David’s piece follows the original is here:
Sunday, 2 October 2011
Why is Twitter so much like radio?Word economy matters. Twitter’s 140 characters is a remarkable discipline. Just when you think you cannot tell a whole story in so few words, you manage it. Wow. How many bits of radio could have been just as powerful with fewer words. If not more so.
Every single word matters. Changing one word for another in a Tweet will affect whether someone bothers to smile or find it interesting; and whether they choose to respond or re-tweet. Or unfollow. It’s the same in radio. One changed word in a topic proposition is the difference between getting a listener bothering to respond – or not. A different phrase in a promo/trail is the difference between it working or not working. Don’t get me started on badly written promos.
Teasing works. What makes you bother to click on the Tweet link to the article, audio or video? The way the intro words on the Tweet ‘sell it’. Sometimes you get dragged into reading something which is not that interesting, but the sell words made you, at least, try it. Again, the same as radio: ‘throwing forward’ is all very well, but is what you are saying really going to make someone want to listen? Would the same words have made them click on an attachment? I always remember Eddie Mair doing the ‘Later, we ask one of the Labour leadership contenders – would you sack your brother?’. I can think of a million common and less powerful ways that interview might have more typically been flagged up – but few more powerful. Eddie teases on-air with the skill of a gifted music radio presenter equipped with years of making the rather more mundane (songs and sponsored activity) sound interesting.
Your personality really matters. A great Tweeter will ‘find’ themselves. Some broadcasters never do. A great Tweeter releases often a combination of their personal and professional lives. They are known for their richness of consistent yet surprising character and they are always true to it. No character or no consistency equals few followers. Similarly, those who have no discernible genuine ‘personality’ on-air will never become a personality listeners want to spend their valuable lives with.
You have to put your head above the parapet. When you stand for something, then you stand the chance of losing some followers. You must accept that. But, the gains are probably greater than the losses if your topics are of sufficient appeal. Great broadcasters may well be divisive on air, but on balance the appeal of what they do is great enough to generate a larger audience than those they irritate. In every great broadcaster, there’ll be something not to like. Always be bland and you’ll never have lots of followers; and you’ll never be a memorable broadcaster. But watch the mix.
Context. Just like in real life, you don’t need to justify starting a conversation on Twitter. You just do it. If it is interesting, people join in. The same art is best demonstrated on-air by presenters who do not feel the need to justify why they are talking about something. Thankfully, protracted journeys from song title to topic are nowadays rare on British radio. But, we do still get presenters feeling the need to explain the tortuous or simply needless journey to a topic when it has long ago started to set its own context.
Observe. Some of the greatest Tweets are abstract yet thoroughly real and relatable observations on life. Am I the only one to feel that some presenters send funnier Tweets than their links? Those same real-time thoughts make great radio. Daily life has always been a better source of entertainment than ‘The Sun’. Great radio broadcasters realised that.
Unfollow is turn off. Says it all really. You’ve been dull or mis-judged your audience.
How is Twitter different from radio? On radio, you don’t know who’s listening. Thank goodness. Imagine you are just about to open your mouth on-air and you realise you have just been joined by two new listeners. You know who they are and what they look like: one very attractive person who lives down the road and seems to be interested in what you have to say; and the Controller of Radio One. It might rather affect your next link. Mind you, the great thing about radio is that you never know. Those listeners may indeed have actually just joined you. Follow me on Twitter @davidlloydradio