What Are You Missing?

Occasionally, I deviate from the topic at hand on this blog.  And, this is one of those times.  So, hopefully you’ll take a few seconds and hang while I ponder this….

I’ve been conspicuously absent from twitterville over the past several weeks.  Or, at least I thought I was.  Then I got to thinking.  Hey, the conversation is diminishing.  The @ mentions and DMs are coming fewer and farther between.  Then I went through what I’m guessing is a type of withdrawal.

First came fear.  Fear that the connections are fragile.  That the conversations are fleeding at best.  That out of sight really is out of mind.

Then, I starting thinking about the connections I’ve made that have flowed from twitter outside, all the way to face to face connections with amazing folks from whom I’ve learned so much.  Made real connections.  Created real value.

Then, came the realization that this twitter thing is actually a lot of work.  It requires an incredible investment in energy, effort, time and personal commitment in order to realize value in return.  What did I really want from this relationship? 

Was it that the time I was spending was just filling a void?  Or was it distracting me from some other purpose?  Was there other work that could create greater value?  What did I want out of my investment?  After all, it is my investment.  I don’t let others manage my dough (what little there is).  I’m in control.  So, why should I treat twitter any differently?

As of late, the work, I mean the real work, the stuff that gets me jazzed up every morning, has been so incredibly challenging, captivating and rewarding, I’ve come to a place where maybe many of you already have past on your journey.  Will I still be on twitter?  Of course.  But in the endorphin game, I’ve found a new high.

If you stopped tweeting for two weeks, what would fill that void?  Would you be missed?  What do you think you’d be missing?


  1. You're absolutely correct about the investment in time and effort as a cost you have to weigh against the benefit of what you get out of Twitter. Or any Social Media, such as this blog. Or running regularly or folding laundry, for that matter.

    Befor you (or anyone else) engages in this type of committment, you should be asking the questions about objectives – What do I want to get out of this? Will engaging in this activity help me do that? Is it the best activity to help me meet those same objectives?

    I'll apply it to myself: For Twitter, I am engaged to learn from service industry experts that I might not meet through my regular day-to-day, to gain additional perspective – even contrary perspectives that help round out my own. Additionally, I hope to add in some small way to the summarized body of work that is still evolving around service marketing, service management and customer service.

    I'm not selling anything. I'm not looking for a job. I'm not looking to be the most popular kid on my block.

    I do it for the personal growth opportunity, which, frankly, has been declinging somewhat recently. Now that "everyone" is on Twitter, it has become a bullhorn for people that have those other objectives, drowning out much of the good dialogue. As much as I think there are some great perspectives shared in the #custserv group, I also think that it suffers from groupthink from time-to-time, and could use a contrarian opinion to be explored.

    For the blog, while I hope that others read it, get something out of it and engage me now & then, I actually do that for me also. I see these wonderful examples of service excellence and service failure all around me, and the blog is my way of forcing myself to think critically about what I see and commit to capturing those experiences. In short, I'm just a service geek who practices my craft in my off-time.

    My theory on Twitter these last few months – completely unsubstantiated and with no base in fact: Twitter was benefitted by the economic crisis. As good people across industry types had less to do (maybe they weren't out of work, but things were at least slower at their workplaces) they turned to Twitter to expand their understanding of new media, brush up on industry knowledge and engage some people they may have never met. They had the time, so why not. As recovery began, these were the first people that got busy. The people that were left were the ones that still had more time on their hands, the ones that were truly committed to the medium, and the ones that use social media to push their product or service (usually themselves). That leads to a reduction in the quality of dialogue, which further distances people from the medium. I don't know this to be the case, but I am applying my own experience to the mass which may be wholly inappropriate.

    My theory for where this goes: Twitter (and all social media) will find balance. Just like in business, the people with nothing but a bullhorn will have a hard time making it work, and will look elsewhere. The people that have objectives that look like learning, connecting and contributing will find the medium to easily do that. Put simply, wheras today the objective of the masses seems to be to have your voice heard by a million people, tomorrow the objective will be to hear what the hundred most important people to you will have to say.

    Good news is, that if you decide to re-engage (and I sincerely hope you do) that the tools exist to make this your operating mode today.

    Hope all is well.

    I remain a fan of what you do.

  2. Chris,
    Man! Wow! I think you nailed it. I emphatically agree with the experiential evidence you present here on the drivers of twitter over the past 36 months. I've found myself in the same place and observing the same trend. Even on some of the hashtag chats which we've both been apart of have evolved into something that is less interesting or worthy of my time.

    So no. I'm not going anywhere. But I have definitely a different strategy for extracting the most value from the media I can. And hopefully continue to raise the bar on the value I deliver to those that care to listen.

    Thanks for your connection and thoughts.

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