Leo LaPorte, Buzz, Twitter and Facebook

by francine Hardaway on August 23, 2010

As someone who has followed Leo LaPorte on every platform and listens
to a couple of this shows regularly, I was pretty surprised by his
post about what a waste of time social media has been for him.  After leaving Facebook over its privacy rules, he now leaves Twitter and Buzz because no one saw his posts (a Buzz error) and no one noticed (not even him.)Although he recanted on TWiT yesterday, I still think Leo has a
fundamental misconception about what some of these platforms do, and
that is because,as he himself points out, he’s somewhat disengaged
from his own posts. I love Leo, but I am surprised he doesn’t know
what Dave Winer taught me years ago, that Twitter is a river, and
whether your post sparks a conversation is serendipitous: it depends
on when you post and what else is going on, as much as it does what
you say. That’s why, personally, I expect my tweets or buzzes to be
ephemera, and I don’t spend my life carefully crafting each tweet. My
tweets are jottings from my day, my reading, other people’s stuff —
anything I think someone else might like to know.

Admittedly some experts have a Twitter “strategy,” as Guy Kawasaki
does. He posts every 8 hours. That raises the odds that a given tweet
will be seen, and it’s call to action heeded. But for me, Twitter
isn’t about each tweet, but about the incredible people I have met and
learned from, the way my horizon has opened the issues facing people
in Iran and Pakistan, the way I felt able to share @queenofspain’s
illness or the special occasions of friends. My Twitter friends
(although of course not all of them), are a sort of family. And I find
this family helpful and supportive. But it’s because we are listening
to each other –not necessarily to each tweet — but over a long
period of time.

And as for the brands on Twitter, unless they are like Frank Eliason
and prepared to be truly useful, I ignore them.

The ephemeral quality of Twitter is the reason many people liked
Friendfeed. You could have a conversation there. But Facebook bought
Friendfeed, and it languishes like a ghost town.

However, where did the Friendfeed guys go? Facebook. And they took the
conversation with them. The conversation is on Facebook, no matter
what you think of it’s privacy rules, or Mark Zuckerberg, or the
upcoming movie. Every time I post on Facebook, people spend hours
responding: long, intricate responses that share their own knowledge
and increase mine. Many evenings I have gone to bed and in the morning
found that the conversation has gone on all night in my absence!
Between my brother, and a friend of mine who disagree. Among women
trying to help each other on my wall. Among people who disagree with
my politics.

Facebook has the larger conversation that is outside the echo chamber
in which the geeks (and I am an interloper in the geek world) rant to
each other about whether the conversation should belong to me or to
you. The people on Facebook, even my intelligent, literate, educated
friends, only care that a conversation exists.

Leo, go back to Facebook. The conversation is waiting for you there.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

jeremyvaught August 23, 2010 at 8:34 pm

Well said. And I agree. I don’t expect anyone to do anything with my Tweets, and am pleasantly surprised when they do. I figure most people are like myself. I probably reply to 5% of the tweets I read. So mine are getting read, I’m positive, just not always interacted with. In fact, I’m always amazed when people ask me about stuff in person, that I tweeted about. They read it, didn’t interact, but it had enough of an impact on them that they retained that information, and brought it up in person. I would say that is a success.

hardaway August 23, 2010 at 8:44 pm

That’s just how I feel. More important, I love to be able to reach out andrnshare knowledge, or comfort someone, or help someone. That’s what I lovernabout Twitter.

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