This beautifully sunny Sunday morning I lost it. I lost my patience for the noise that my Twitter stream has become. Between desperate invites to check out the latest merchandise, to hashtag overload and cross-syndicated updates, these days my Twitter stream is mostly a distraction from the important things.
Being a self-aware person, I blamed myself for the poor “curation” of my content stream. Therefore I decided to take a closer look at the list of 2,300 names I follow. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy many of my contacts’ updates, but I find them largely outnumbered by promotional messages and noise. What I quickly realized was that most of what caused me the annoyance on this peaceful sunny morning was coming from the brands I followed. So I asked myself, why did I follow them in the first place?
When I joined Twitter back in 2007, there were almost no fashion or beauty brands on the platform. There was a sense of a small community of innovators who often engaged in conversations. When fashion brands started joining Twitter, I almost automatically followed each newcomer, cheering them on with my follow. Some of them had a human side and we became friends (like @dkny), but most of them never interacted with me, or even provided any valuable piece of content (I don’t count retail discounts as valuable content, sorry).
They stayed just logos to me, and it’s tough to have personal connections with logos. I recently noticed that I started tuning out and/or skipping messages that didn’t have a human icon next to them, or at least a virtual character I could relate to.
This morning I realized there is no reason to continue pretend like I care about what most brands are saying. Posting your “exclusive discount” and “first look” of your own merchandise just doesn’t cut it anymore, because everyone else does the same. Asking questions about how my Sunday is going doesn’t trick me into thinking you really care. Maybe it’s because I know too much, and I know that your intern pre-scheduled this tweet question on Friday afternoon before leaving the office for the weekend.
Today I unfollowed most logos in my Twitter stream because I’m not willing to waste another second consuming the noise. These days I rely more than ever on my close circle of contacts to provide valuable information to me. If you are a brand and have something meaningful to say, I’m sure this will be shared among that circle, and from there will find its way to my information stream.
My advice to brands? Find your personality. These days your brand needs it more than ever. The only way you can participate in online conversation is as a human, not as a logo – otherwise how do you expect anyone to feel a connection? So, how do you find that personality or personal voice of your brand? Look around your company, from top to bottom, define the human DNA of your brand and translate it to the social medium. The good news is once you found that personality, it will be easier for you to adapt to new online platforms, which are popping up almost every day. If you don’t do it now, it will get harder for you going forward, as all of our interactions online will eventually become social.