Why most domainers don’t get Twitter at first…

March 12, 2009

confused

Twitter has an image problem, whether they realize it or not. I’ve been reading about how great Twitter is since 2006, but originally had no desire to use it. Here’s why…

  • The name doesn’t inspire confidence. Twitter. As in ‘Twitter your time away’. Like the rest of you guys, I’m pretty busy and am looking to save time, not find new ways to spend it.
  • The big ‘What are you doing now?’ question on the home page. I figured no one really cared what I just had for lunch or what TV show I am watching. And I was right.
  • The amount of data seemed overwhelming. Follow a bunch of your friends and family and be interrupted throughout the day every few minutes – not exactly a selling point!

As a result, I passed on Twitter back in 2006. And so did many of my domainer friends and associates.

But I was wrong. I started actively using Twitter this year and realized that it is being used for far more than what it was originally created for. Twitter has evolved into a very powerful micro-blogging platform. Since each post (called a tweet) is limited to 140 characters, most posts are either links to interesting sites or short questions and answers. By limiting my Twitter feed (list of subscriptions) to domainers, most of the posts were of interest to me and I was able to connect with a core group that I had a lot in common with.

I quickly built a following of over 250 users passionate about domaining – including many of my favorite domain bloggers. To start off, I ‘followed’ each of my favorite bloggers and read the profile of each of their followers. If their bio mentioned domaining (or looked interesting), I followed them too. This took some time, but was well worth it. Within minutes, people were checking out my profile and many were following me back. Pretty exciting, since I could now follow the daily updates of a great collective of domainers. And since many were following me back, they would see my updates as well.

I started receiving breaking domain news and exclusives before they appeared in the major blogs. Domainers commonly twitter about interesting news and domain events in real time – no more waiting for daily recaps. And since I could select the people I was following, I could tune out anyone posting spammy updates and just follow quality tweets. As an added benefit, many high profile domain bloggers tweet about things they don’t mention on their blogs and often offer bonuses to followers.

I started using Twitter to answer problems which Google couldn’t. Twitter is great for researching timely issues and reaching niche audiences. When one of my registrars suffered a major outage, a quick Twitter search showed tens of users confirming the problem – Google wasn’t aware of the problem yet. And if I had a domaining question, my group of Twitter domainer friends usually answered it within minutes.

I connected with a lot of great domainers that don’t maintain a regular blog presence. There are many professional domainers who don’t blog and don’t attend the major conferences. Many of these domainers have bought and sold hundreds of names and have a lot to contribute. As a result of my Twitter presence, I now have a number of valuable new contacts.

And there were a couple of other cool perks too…

  • Bypassing customer service hassles. I had a question for a major parking company and received a reply back from their VP within a minute of asking.
  • Domainers are a fun crowd. I’m enjoying getting to know a bunch of new ones and following their daily updates.
  • Tweeting about a mini site I was working on and having 20 people visit and comment on it within seconds.

Are there any downsides to Twitter?

Sure, just like blogging – following too many people can get overwhelming. And it requires some discipline (just like e-mail and Youtube) to use it as a business tool and not randomly surf all day. But used properly, it is a great tool and one which may become as important as email in years to come.

If you haven’t tried it yet, consider opening up an account and trying it for a week. And be sure to send me a ‘tweet’ and let me know what you think!

Related Link: Domaining on Twitter Part 2 – How to avoid being a Twitter Twerp!

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristoff 03.12.09 at 12:50 pm

Great inaugural post and congrats on launching the blog…keep it simple, stay focused on what you enjoy and have fun!

robb 03.12.09 at 4:12 pm

Twitter is really catching on the last few weeks, I am enjoying it too. Got the names of a couple of major cities as usernames for Twitter and am posting news about each city – like a mini media site. Also have an account for the small town I live in to post news and get traffic to my local city website. Now just opened a personal Twitter account to post whenever something strikes me, and to follow people I’m interested in. Twitter is simple to use and forces people to keep their posts short and to the point, not like having to read a long email. I hear Twitter is still in start up mode, with around 30 employees – I wonder if Google or Microsoft will end up buying them out – will be interesting to see how they try to make money from the site, so far they haven’t but are just trying to get the eyeballs for now.

Peter 03.12.09 at 7:00 pm

Good post, I have had a similar experience, not getting it. The thing that made sense to me was when I followed a small number of people that I had been reading about – mostly Internet Marketing types – as long as the content is relevant to what you are interested in – its good.

Morgan Linton 03.12.09 at 8:11 pm

Great post – very relevant and some really good points. Glad to have you as part of the community and looking forward to your future posts!

Jeremy Armer 03.13.09 at 1:48 am

Great post, I’d like to add one thing.

I hear a lot about people getting overwhelmed by Twitter updates. Once you follow more than 200 people or so, it turns to mush.

First: Don’t try to read everything. That’s like trying to listen to 100 radio stations.
Second: Tweetdeck, tweetdeck, tweetdeck.

Get Tweetdeck and start creating groups, then turn off the “All Friends” feed (it eats up your API requests). I mostly want to hear from domainers but domaining is about *everything else*. If I only listened to domainers, I’d wouldn’t hear about a lot of the new trends…until after that perfect trending .com has been regged.

perchboy 03.13.09 at 5:46 am

Finally..a good explanation about why Twitter is so popular AND why I may want to re-consider the benefits of this phenomenon.

Good job!

perchboy

admin 03.13.09 at 6:26 am

Thanks for the warm welcome everyone!

Jeremy – couldn’t agree more about Tweetdeck and great point
about monitoring non-domaining tweets as well.

Domain Superstar 03.13.09 at 8:05 am

Great points and over all very nice post. Hope to be hearing some more from you in the future!

wannadevelop.com 03.14.09 at 1:49 am

I started using Twitter few weeks ago… It’s “OK”

Not ready to abandon….yet.. Still experimenting with it.

So we’ll see how it goes. It does serve a purpose though:)

All the best,

Mike

Blake Worthington 03.14.09 at 4:12 am

Well you may have just convinced me to at least proceed with twitter. I have the same feelings you had in 2k6 but after reading this post it has changed my mind on things. Going to signup and see what is going on right after I post this comment.

Thanks again for sharing the information about twitter thought i was the only one hehe.

Will McCulloch 03.30.09 at 7:38 am

“What A Good Analysis” of Twitter , why many ( like me ) didn’t take it too seriously at the beginning – and why it’s now catching on …big time. Will be interesting to see how Twitter develops over the next weeks/months/years.

Best wishes & great site by the way

Will

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