Catching up on my RSS reader (I’m woefully behind), I came across this post from Dirk Singer’s Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics.

It looks at an eMarketer assessment of why regular Twitter users, though relatively small in number (when you compare them to Internet users overall), make the platform I love – and many still love to hate – important:

A common answer to ”˜why Twitter, it’s not a mass market tool?’, is ”˜because the people who do use it matter.’ The influence over numbers argument.

That’s backed up by an ExactTarget study, reproduced in emarketer. US Twitter users in April 2010 were far more likely than general Internet users to post to forums (75% vs 25%), blog (72% vs 14%), comment on blogs (70% vs 23%) and post ratings / reviews (61% vs 20%).

The eMarketer article also says:

According to 360i, 75% of marketers’ tweets are informational, suggesting brands are responding to what consumers want””though they largely neglect to participate in conversations. Such deeper engagement might help them harness the power of frequent Twitter users across their other social activities as well.

This, it seems to me, is a lost opportunity for marketers or, for that matter, for any brand. Twitter is at its best when used as a conversational platform, rather than a means to push out information.

Because we tweeps? We like to talk.

And we’re not “twits,” thank you very much.

Nor are we twaddles or twerps, btw.

And then, what “happens on Twitter” really doesn’t stay on Twitter, but seeds several other platforms and networks ultimately supporting the company’s business objectives.

Unless, of course, what they’re saying (and/or doing) really sucks. In which case they need to relearn the whole conversation thing.

Virgin America is a company that gets this. So does Southwest. So do many others, but they’re still relatively few and far between.

So, dear marketers. Please start talking to, not at, us.

Because, doncha know, what happens on Twitter doesn’t stay on Twitter.

Image: John Roberts, Creative Commons

Shonali Burke
Founder and publisher of Waxing UnLyrical, Shonali Burke helps purpose-driven brands bring big ideas to life. She teaches at The Johns Hopkins University, has gone back to school herself with the Harvard Business Analytics Program, and is creator/lead instructor at The Social PR Virtuoso® online training hub , where ambitious PR pros learn how to unleash their inner Social PR superheroes. Owned by Lola the Basset Hound, she's mad about ABBA, bacon, cooking, dogs, and Elvis, though not necessarily in that order. Wouldn't you like to be in her kitchen?
Shonali Burke
Shonali Burke

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