Why Should I Be Interested In Your Status Update / Tweet?

Posted by Matt LeBlanc

facebookI am a big fan of social media – I have profiles and use many of the social networks (click on CONNECT at the top of the page) in both professional and personal capacities but I need help in understanding why I should be interested in reading pointless status updates / tweets.

Maybe it’s just me but I have never found the fact that someone is going to return a pair of shoes, watching a Pepsi commercial, going to lunch, or waiting in a doctor’s office very interesting. None of those would warrant me picking up the phone to call a friend and say, “hey, guess what I’m doing!”

Please help me understand why people insist on updating their status (on Facebook, Linkedin, etc) or tweeting those types of mundane things. If you are going to let people know what you are doing, thinking, or working on at least make it interesting or worth reading.

In my opinion a good status update / tweet does one of the following -

  • Provides information that some (if not all) would find valuable, humorous, uplifting, etc
  • Asks a question that provokes a response
  • Provides a review of (good, bad, or indifferent) something that others would be interested in
  • Asks for advice or information on a personal / professional project without appearing desperate or completely lost
  • Promotes a product or service that you have to offer that is unique
  • Lets others know how you can assist them

With the economy being in the state that it is, a status update or tweet can also be used as an effective tool in looking for a new opportunity if you have the right audience. Here are some examples of how you might use them as part of your search -

  • Interviewing at ____ on ____ for a ____ opportunity. Any thoughts or ideas on interview best practices for the company/role?
  • Came across a ____ opportunity at ____ and would welcome a warm introduction if one can be made.
  • Searching for information on ____ – any insights and information would be appreciated.

There are very few people that I have come across that do an outstanding job of putting together tweets and status updates that fit into one of the categories above and draw me into responding. For every one of those there at least 100 that put things out there that seem pointless and out of place.

Give me your thoughts – what makes a good status update / tweet and why should I or shouldn’t I be interested in why someone “is,” or “craving ice cream,” or “picking up some apples at the store.”

Until next time good hunting and good luck!

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30 responses to “Why Should I Be Interested In Your Status Update / Tweet?

  1. Pingback: Why Should I Be Interested In Your Status Update / Tweet?

  2. Hey,

    I had written a blog post on this topic ” How to use status updates profitably” – Do read the same
    http://windchimesindia.wordpress.com/2008/12/13/statusupdate/

    Nimesh

  3. Probably the reason most tweets are too-personal status updates is that Twitter began as a “social,” not business, medium. Much like Facebook initially was used solely to help friends and family (especially college students) keep up with one another’s goings-on.

    Your observations/recommendations make perfect sense for people who tweet primarily for business and career purposes. I suspect most users are still mainly tweeting for their personal friends…and even many business/career users haven’t fully made the transition from personal socializing to exchanging business information via their tweet-stream.

    -Jon Jacobs,
    eFinancialCareers

    • Great point Jon – but at the same time the only person that I care to know that much detail about is an immediate family member. I have people that I grew up with that I am very close too but I could care less if they are going to the store or to look at new shoes.

      That is what I need help understanding – who cares and why.

      • Matt,

        Great topic for discussion. You may simply be missing the true beauty of Twitter/FB status updates. If you don’t care what people are “tweeting” or it’s too personal pr is useless information all you have to do is unfollow them. I would put the ownership of the information that you receive in your hands and not in the hands of the person providing the tweets/updates. It’s up to you to decide what type of tweets are worth your time, who produces those and whether or not you want to see them. No one is forcing you to follow people you have chosen to follow them.

        Just my 2cents,
        mv

      • Matt –

        Thanks for reading and adding your two cents!!

        Matt LeBlanc

    • Hey Jon –

      Good point and I compeletly agree on it being a social application – but on the other side of that there are only a four (soon to be five) people that I am interested enough in (my wife and children) to know every detail of what they are doing.

      I think you can be social and not take it to the extreme (going for ice cream, picking up bread, etc) – who really cares that you are picking up basic everyday needs – that is what I need help understanding.

      Thanks for reading!

  4. I do agree with your thoughts. It all originates with how the social web has evolved. Many people do not understand the question Twitter asks in its entirety. As a Twitter newbie, I took an introduction webinar with Irene Koehler (http://www.almostsavvy.com) who gave great insight as to how this social networking tool can be used. The question Twitter asks begs for a status update; I think unless one investigates all the ways to really answer that question, the answers will always be mundane. According to Irene, the question can be much more than, ‘I am going to pick up dry cleaning.’ It can invite intellectual discussion and inquiry. I encourage you to attend her next webinar for a bit more advanced users to learn more about how to use Twitter for ones best interest. You may just learn a few things to pass on to those in your support group.

  5. Hi Matt, I agree 150%, which is why I ‘almost’ didn’t read your post. :-) If we all spent as much time with the people we care deeply about, or the excellent fit employment, or volunteering to help others/the environment, etc., , then that’s what we’d be reading about — or would we because we’d be involved in really important things and we might be too busy to be in constant chatter ….. and there you have it — from StageCoach.

  6. Matt,

    Personally, I’m not all that interested in Twitter or FaceBook, but given your comments about using Twitter to enhance your job search, I see your point. I’ve always believed that the job search is done best with LinkeIn. If I have the interest or time to use Twitter or FaceBook, it would be for professional purposes, not socializing. Don’t see it happening.

  7. It’s just about being silly and staying in touch.
    I have friends all over the world and like to know what they are thinking or up to.
    Now, “I’m shopping for apples.” isn’t necessarily that interesting but it could prompt a friend to say… “Hey Fuji apples are the best!”
    Or saying something funny and getting a bunch of people to respond and riff on the original statement is very satisfying.
    Not everything has to be work and career oriented. How boring is that?!
    I like facebook because it has helped me get in touch with people that I’ve wondered about for years. But I’m a social person that values every friendship I’ve ever had, even if it was short-lived. I think I’m a little unusual that way.
    I don’t know much about twitter, but it sounds a little too much.

  8. The Connector

    Twitter is another part of Networking, know me, like me and then follow me. So you have to know the person and this is the reason why people post what their doing, the ones that are then interested will be the followers that build up the relationships which then lead to referrals that may lead to business development.

  9. Matt,

    You couldn’t be more accurate, but as others have pointed out, Twitter is more of a social connection than say, LinkedIn. Right now, since I’m about to join the ranks of the laid off and searching, I only care about what will lead me to a successful venture that resembles a job!
    If I want to find out who is picking up dry cleaning or going sky diving, I’ll get changed and jump!

  10. I tend to agree with the “why should I care” comment. Generally, I ignore at least 95% of status updates on any form of media because the are pointless and mundane.

    The examples provided for appropriate status updates are relevant and give folks ideas on how to leverage these tools for a purpose vs. just plain silliness…

    If anyone is interested in a personalized evaluation or consultation about their virtual presence, please feel free to get in touch…

    TalentTalks | Creating a Voice for Talent
    http://www.talenttalks.com

  11. Worthy comments, all. I am more sensitive to frequency of updates. I just breeze right past “Jane Doe’s” right now because she posts too frequently for me. I think, Can she be any good if she has this much time on her hands? How many updates is too many?

  12. I do understand your concern Matt. Obviously it’s a free tool and everybody is allowed to tell whatever they feel like. In addition to your suggestion of “how-to” update your status in a meaningful way, I’d add that the point may be in respecting some “basic twitter rules” (I won’t twitt about my last meal or so) and keeping the followers list updated with interesting people. Or filtering them as some twitter applications or clients allow. If you want to find us we are on @novoseek
    Cheers

  13. I suspect that many people who tweet mundane things are under the misinformed idea that by constantly appearing in print that their google ratings will increase (which is wrong because google doesn’t follow twitter for ratings)

    Additional, some have been told that by being “personal” they are improving online relationships for future work requests which may or may not be true (if you are so boring)

    I tweeted about this very thing a few weeks ago called Are we Tweeting in the Wind which you can find at http://www.TheWriteTreatment.com/blog

  14. Matt,

    I agree with your points. Whatever the medium, it is about providing value to your audience. If your Twitter message is nothing more than what you had for breakfast, you deserve to be ignored. But, if you are sharing information that can be helpful or of interest to some of your followers, then you will be viewed favorably. All of the social networking services are about connecting with people. A person has to understand that’s it not about blowing their own horn or giving trivial information, but it’s more about trying to help others. Using these forms of communication properly will demonstrate that you are someone who provides value and stands out from the crowd.
    Check out our blog at http://www.jobmetrx.com

  15. Thanks for your post – seems to have created an active discussion. I agree that there are some great ways to use these tools/sites to maximize the return and information you can generate. However, what does it really matter if someone wants to post they are out buying apples – don’t respond if you don’t have an interest – or better yet – de-friend or un-link to someone that you are no longer interested in.

    I believe in the freedom of speech and don’t believe we should set restrictions to posting updates. We are all free to choose who we link to or become friends with – we should choose wisely!

    http://www.talentretriever.com
    Follow me at: dbarbato

  16. Cheryl Howard

    Excellent post. I look forward to reading more!

  17. Cheryl Jessup

    I enjoy FaceBook and LinkedIn, never tried Twitter. The status updates on FaceBook gives me a way to learn fun details about friends that they might not otherwise think to share in an normal conversation. On the other hand, LinkedIn might give me information about opportunities that I would only hear about in a casual lunch-room conversation at work (if I were employed). So just weed through the mundane stuff, and look for those nuggets that are fun or useful. Like someone else said, it’s all about connecting with people.

  18. In my opinion, it is all about knowing your audience. From that perspective, the only real criteria for a “good” status update is whether or not it is relevant to some segment of your audience. For instance, your friend (real or speculative) who posted about returning shoes may have a dozen other friends/followers who are serious shoe shoppers. That update could spark an interesting conversation (for them). Now, if that particular friend posts about nothing but shoes, you may want to consider filtering their updates, un-following, or whatever.

    I think that’s another important thing to consider. I think it is fine if a particular update is targeted at only a small segment of your audience. But if all your updates are for the benefit/interest/edification of that same small segment, then either you’re doing it wrong or you’ve allowed or invited too broad a group of people to follow you. There’s nothing wrong with hitting a niche in your group of followers/friends, as long as you don’t hit the same one every time and have some updates with broader appeal. Because let’s face it, no matter what you post, chances are some of your audience is not going to care.

    I guess there is a another case that I didn’t mention, though. There is a chance that you’ll post something no one following you cares about. In that case, you’re just doing it wrong. Hopefully, it doesn’t happen too often.

  19. In a “networking” situation I completely agree with your observations. However, in todays society there seems to be an increasing lack of personal interaction resulting in a type of psycho-social deficit in our psyche’s.
    I think our techno world has left some people so socially isolated that their only connection to humanity at times might be through these, what we might call, “mundane” posts. These posts really aren’t targeted to anyone in particular, they are simple ramblings of a person who has a need at that time for some connection to humanity. If another person should reply that’s just an added bonus.
    With this in mind, we should think hard and long about what we want out of a social network, not only in choosing one; but, also in choosing our contacts and our settings.

  20. Couldn’t agree more Matt. Regardless of the relationship or who can control what settings to filter undesirable information…who cares about who’s drinking coffee right now?!!! It’s not relevant to anything other than those distant admirers who now no longer have to dream of stalking because they can get a visual of what people are doing all the time by reading their updates!!!

  21. Pingback: Networking – With a Reason « Resource Development Company, Inc.

  22. Colleen Kirby

    All this “social networking” sounds like work to me. Thank the Good Lord I’m employed so I’m not job searching. Tweeting just sounds like the techie “flavor of the week” for all of those who are addicted to their electronic gadgets. Me? I like digging in the dirt, growing things, listening to the wind in the trees and the birds sing, so I am turning off the stupid computer and going outside. This is probably my first and last update. Bye now!

  23. That was a thouught provoking read – thanks! I read somewhere that for every four tweets that are informational, 1 can be thrown it to “humanize” yourself, with some info about your personal interests, or what u are doing, otherwise, you seem like a news feed! :) I also find it mundane to read about people’s dietary habits, or how sick they are feeling. I just recently unfollowed someone because they were sending multiple tweets requesting you send in a guess for the upcoming baby’s birthweight and you get a free DVD. thanks again for the tips, now off to apply them! :)

  24. Pingback: Is Embarrassing Your Granny Killing Your Job-Search? « A Recruiters Guide to the Universe

  25. I prefer thought-provoking commentaries to random generated clutter to the Internet; there’s enough of that already. I think it’s more of an egoist thing: “Look at what I’m doing! I’m brushing my teeth!”

    It reminds me that we are coddling our youth; that they expect to be acknowledged in every little thing they do, as if they were still children.

    Or they honestly do think they really ARE that divine…

    Public image creates public impression.

    I’d rather have people thinking I’m perhaps risque, but thought-provoking; than banal and trivial. But, that’s just me…

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