Twitter is not a Megaphone

Twitter Wordle from voice over talent Doug Turkel

Very few books about Social Media are written as authentically and as earnestly as UnMarketing by Scott Stratten. Scott’s smart as a whip, snarky as can be (in a good way – have you ever looked forward to reading footnotes before?) I’ve been a big fan of Scott’s since reading his book last year, and have followed him on Twitter even longer. (Plus, he’s a fellow “UN,” so he’s got that going for him!) But a photo he posted on Twitter the other day got me thinking. It’s a word cloud of the words he used most often during his first 50,000 tweets. Yes, 50,000. He’s almost at 75,000 now, with no signs of slowing down, and my guess is that an updated word cloud from his Twitter stream wouldn’t look much different. (In this word cloud, the larger a word is, the more often it appeared it his tweet stream.)

I wasn’t at all surprised to see that the largest word in Scott’s cloud is “thanks.” And “rt” (short for retweet – re-posting something that another Twitter user has written) isn’t far behind. See, Scott gets it. He knows that Twitter isn’t about selling to people, it’s about talking to them and engaging them:

“Twitter is a community, a conversation, not a pitch platform.” – Scott Stratten

Thinking about Scott’s word cloud, I was inspired to do two things. First, I went through the list of people I follow on Twitter and deleted those who only promote themselves, their blogs and their webinars. The people who only use Twitter to talk, and not to listen.

Case in point: a self-professed VO “guru.” The largest words in his Twitter word cloud include “Class,” “Starts,” “Workshop,” “Today” and “Coaching.” Many of his tweets include affiliate links (though he doesn’t point out that he’ll earn money if you click and buy the products/services he mentions). A little further investigation reveals that this vo “expert” follows fewer than 10% of the people who follow him, making it clear that he’s only interested in broadcasting his message, not in meaningful conversations.

“Authenticity is everything. It’s not about how many followers you have, but your engagement with them.” – Scott Stratten

Next, I wanted to see what my Twitter word cloud would look like (click the image above to get a better look.). You can check yours, too. Just go to, enter your Twitter username, then click through to Wordle.

I was glad to see that “Thanks” is one of the larger words in my cloud, along with “Voiceover,” “Congrats” and “Appreciate.”

If you’re wondering about the best way to use Twitter for your business, the subtitle of Scott’s book says it all:

“Stop Marketing, Start Engaging.”

Edit: To hear Scott explain his views in his own words, check out this YouTube video I just found.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Paul Hernandez July 8, 2011, 1:29 pm

    Eye opening blog Doug. I’ll have to read Scott’s book.

    Thanks for posting.


  • Stefania Lintonbon July 9, 2011, 4:02 am

    This is great Doug. Thanks! I checked tweetstats out. What a great discovery. Fortunately “thank you” is one of my larger words as well, along with “voiceover”, my website URL, and the word “good”.

    • Doug July 9, 2011, 9:00 am

      Hey, Stefania, thanks for stopping by…I’m glad that you liked, and I’m not surprised at all that “thank you” and “good” were some of the larger words in your cloud.

  • Justin Barrett July 9, 2011, 11:59 am

    Great article, Doug! I definitely need to rework my Twitter strategy (more like haphazardry). Part of my problem is that I don’t have much time, so I mostly just toss out the occasional odd thought that comes to mind with the hope that it will lighten someone’s day for a few seconds.

    I’m taking a look at my stats now, but while I’m waiting for that to come back, I wanted to point out that the YouTube link you added at the end isn’t working. It’s pointing to some convoluted link on your own site. Looks like it might just be an errant paste or something.

    Stats just came back. Wow! Not at all what I expected…in a good way. 🙂

    • Doug July 9, 2011, 3:09 pm

      Thanks, Justin, and I know what you mean; Twitter (and all social media, really) can be a huge time drain. Plenty of people claim to be able to show you how to monitor and/or interact on Twitter in 10 minutes a day, but I’m skeptical of such claims. For me, it’s more of a “when-I-have-a-free-moment” kind of thing. I’d much rather spend that time actively marketing myself, but Twitter et al are a small part of that effort, so I don’t see it as time wasted.

      And thanks for the heads up on the busted link…it’s all better now!

      As for your stats, as I told Stefania…no surprise!

  • Dave Courvoisier July 11, 2011, 2:09 am

    Hey Doug…OF COURSE you like Scott Stratten…he’s the UN marketer!! :))

    Love what you’ve said here… I eschew the marketers on Twitter too…

    And as far as the “finding time” question…I think we find the time to do the things we WANT to do…or that we prioritize (though admittedly, it can get away from you).

    BTW, if you like word clouds… try

    Warm regards, Dave C

    • Doug July 15, 2011, 4:29 pm

      Dave, you’re right, it’s always nice to find another member of the “UN” brotherhood! ; ) But my appreciation of Scott’s work goes well beyond his cleverness. He’s a bright, engaging guy who really “gets it” in a way that few others seem to.
      And yeah, is exactly what I used to create the graphic that accompanies this post. And anyone visiting the site should be warned, it can easily become one of those “time drains” that Justin referred to!

  • Paul Hernandez July 14, 2011, 2:38 pm

    By the way, I just picked up the book based on your blog here Doug and so far it’s very eye opening. I tried the tweetstats and found I need some improvement but am thankful that “Thanks” was one of my big words on my cloud.

    Thanks for this post, I’ve found it EXTREMELY helpful.

    Yo da man!

    • Doug July 15, 2011, 4:14 pm

      Hi Paul,

      I’m happy to hear that you picked up Scott’s book, and I’m sure that you’ll find the rest of it eye-opening as well. His perspective and his style are refreshingly down-to-earth, and they make so much sense (at least to me they do).

      I’m glad that you found the post helpful, and I really appreciate you taking the time to comment.

      I hope to see you at FaffCon!