48 ways to explain Twitter to skeptics

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Twitter  |  Personal branding  |  Research and Analysis

Christmas09 On Christmas Eve with my family, my brother Peter brought up Twitter and expressed skepticism.

Rather than try to explain Twitter myself, I tweeted to see what others had to say.

I just love the answers that came back! I'm still laughing at some and others are simply profound.

Isn't it amazing how nearly 50 people can answer something, each in 140 characters or less, and in just a few minutes you have a better explanation than any one person could possibly think of in a lifetime! And people jumped in from all over (Coogee, Australia and Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic to name two).

Here are the answers I received.

I've pasted them reverse chronological order (like a Twitter stream). A few times I jumped in (with Peter over my shoulder) so I made those replies italic. A few people proposed links which I made easy to click.

The reply from Henry Posner was especially interesting to Peter because he met Henry at the very speaking gig in NYC that Henry mentioned.

Peter is still skeptical. But he understands more about Twitter than he did before.

My original tweet
My brother Peter doesn't understand Twitter. "It's weird - who cares what you do?" Can you guys help explain please!!

Replies (newest to oldest).

CoCreatr: @dmscott those who wish to help you care what you do. Pure magic, mostly. Happy holidays.

cfcs: @dmscott Try the 61 word message defining social media; now shorten it to 140 characters!

ProfS: @dmscott It's a conversation with friends....

jennselke: @dmscott I don't care so much what you eat for breakfast as your thoughts on business and social media. Merry Christmas my Twitter friend.

TinaValant: @dmscott Tell him to go to Target & get Twitter for Dummies in the $1 section!! Really helped me!

sdanielleon: @dmscott it's not what you do but why you think.

ctanowitz: @dmscott it's a search engine for life. You want to find people who like to do what you do? Search, listen and connect.

mab397: @dmscott we're more interesting than you Peter ;-)

Brainzooming: @dmscott Twitter's great because I have thousands of smart, cool people pointing me to smart, cool ideas! BTW see you at #bma2010!

heykeenan: @dmscott it'll take more than 140 characters!

StarrGazr: @jelias27 @dmscott ...or is that weirdly fascinating? ;)

StarrGazr: @jelias27 @dmscott Fascinating and weird. :)

chris__pc: @dmscott twitter is like personal hygiene. You only find out about the benefits after you start...

chad4404: @dmscott I like to learn, it is like taking advice and learning from experts 24/7

askymi: @BarbaraNixon @dmscott Tell him it's a community, a conversation. If you don't want to talk, there's a lot of interest to find as well.

JohnKinATL: Tryng 2 expln 2 relatives myself! Via @BarbaraNixon: RT @dmscott: My brother doean't get Twitter. "who cares what u do?" Can u help explain!

angelaguichardo: @dmscott Hi friend, tell your brother, believe it or not everybody cares and love to know what other people are doing! Merry Christmas!!

nigelwalsh: @dmscott what's his fav hobby/interest & who are the key people in it. Are they on here? Has he ever spoke directly with them? now he can!

victor_ruiz: @dmscott Twitter is not weird. It's another communication channel, broader, without control, honest, but not weird.

DR4WARD: @dmscott Cheers

emironov: @dmscott it's gone far away from its original rather foolish concept. Used right, it delivers the right information. We all need information

michaelflavin: @dmscott My brother doesn't understand Twitter either...

EtchUcateChris: @dmscott Have you shown him your following? If that doesn't make sense to him nothing about twitter will.

dmscott: @DR4WARD Not at all - we're still looking

barbaranixon: RT @dmscott: My brother Peter doesn't understand Twitter. "It's weird - who cares what you do?" Can you guys help explain please!!

patrickbjohnson: @dmscott show him the benefits of it. I show my friends how its a community rather than a status feed and that changes their mind.

DR4WARD: @dmscott 0ops. Too late

victor_ruiz: @dmscott Twitter is the largest focus group in the world, and also free! You can know exactly the thoughts of your prospects in real time!

JuliaMak: @dmscott because it's not exactly about what you "do" but what you think, what you have to say, and how its relevant to what interests me

admore: @dmscott Tell/show him how to find people that talk/discuss topics that interest him. Give tweepsearch a whirl.

kseniacoffman: @dmscott Hah! it takes a while -> perhaps: Twitter gets you access to ideas from 100s of ppl - in any topic that interest you

DR4WARD: @dmscott does your brother appreciate the value of professional networking, continous learning & improvement?

kvashee: @dmscott Communication and connection with like minded people

dmscott: RT @StarrGazr: Nope, he's right. It's weird. We're weird. Life is weird. There we go, full circle. ;)

kvashee: @dmscott Share and discover interesting stuff, find interesting people and follow their interests - filter best stuff out

dmscott: Thanks all. Not convinced yet, but making some progress.

DonnaTocci: @dmscott It's a great way to share ideas and connect with all kinds of interesting people. And, it can be fun. Happy holidays.

AdamSparke: @dmscott it's not so much about what you do but more around what you think.

clintonskakun: @dmscott To really "get it" I think your brother needs to try it out. Most people think we're a bunch of fanatics until they try it themselv

bandhphoto: @dmscott I recall being on a panel of yours w @gregverdino at NYU and saying the same. A year later I have 1000+ followers and 1700+ tweets.

mosterman: @dmscott One thought: Twitter is the replacement for the people that you'd like to talk to and learn from when you can't be there with them

nigelwalsh: @dmscott check out what I have discovered about Twitter here. Part of the #montwit experiment

Zbijelic: @dmscott Information at your finger tips if you are following the right people & sources (ex. CNN, NBA, HBO, Blogs, etc) Amazing tool!

clintonskakun: @dmscott The simplicity makes it easy and quick to use, especially for busy people.

MattMcGee: @dmscott If he's into sports, show him the @espn stream. Or @nytimes if he's into news.

clintonskakun: @dmscott Twitter, for me, is more about quickly sharing ideas and picking brains of other people.

patrickbjohnson: @dmscott its not what you're doing but what engages you! whats happening vs. what you're doing

StarrGazr: @dmscott Nope, he's right. It's weird. We're weird. Life is weird. There we go, full circle. ;)

UpbeatNow: @dmscott Replying just to show Peter that people are listening :)

doctorious: @dmscott Twitter is like mingling at a party with some people you know, others you don't, and many more you have yet to meet.

clintonskakun: @dmscott The twitter community has swayed the way we use Twitter in a different direction.

dmscott: @smrosenberg Good one!!!

isaacramirez: RT @dmscott: My brother Peter doesn't understand Twitter. "It's weird - who cares what you do?" Can you guys help explain please!!

techpr: @dmscott It's not about caring what ppl do, it's about caring who they are. Twitter helps with that.

smrosenberg: @dmscott hmm. has he read your book? ;o )

rickbraddy: @dmscott It's socializing without getting drunk (online) :)

wimrampen: @dmscott search #MonTwit and you'll find plenty of good reads that explain.. good luck :)

dmscott: My brother Peter doesn't understand Twitter. "It's weird - who cares what you do?" Can you guys help explain please!!

Please feel free to add to the ideas here. But if you comment, how about doing it in 140 characters or less?