Finding Humanity on Twitter

This is not just for brands. This is for everyone who uses twitter or any other social media tool.  I was a little torn and confused about an issue (which was probably only an issue in my demented mind).  A few weeks ago, I wrote how Brands need to be on Twitter; which was kind of a written rebuttal to a Mashable post. Then I was bummed that we (Intel) didn’t make it on Mashable’s “Top Twitter Brands” list and expressed my concerns here.

And now, I really don’t care anymore. It was more of an ego thing that I/we/Intel didn’t make a top ten list somewhere.

Don’t get me wrong. Brands are important and the Intel Brand helps pay for my mortgage; but in social media ‘brands’ are less relevant than human beings.  I recently came across this post via a comment left on Conversations Matter from Jesse Liebman.  The post titled, Brands Are Not Allowed To Make Mistakes, But People Are, written by Collin Douma is completely right on.  Here is an excerpt of the original post:

When Scott Monty (blog/twitter) from Ford or Richard (blog/twitter) from Dell make a mistake, they correct it. People respond, trust is earned, the brand is protected and everyone moves on.

When Motrin, Wal-mart, Target, Hasbro, Ticketmaster or any other brand make a mistake in social media, credibility is lost. Consumers lose trust and the offending brand becomes a slide in one of the countless number of PowerPoint decks detailing what *not* to do.

It goes back to humanity and the idea that people relate to people; not a logo or brand.  Of course, there are always exceptions (i.e. I relate extremely well with my beautiful iPhone). But the fact of the matter is that when I think of Dell, I don’t think about Dell.com, the Dell Kiosk in the local mall or even my old Dell Inspirion that died a year ago.  I think of Richardatdell and some of the conversations we have had in the past.

A recent comment from Deb Schultz at the OMMA Social conference hit the nail on the head. During a panel discussion, Deb said, “think like a human, not as a marketer.  There no such thing as a social media marketing campaign. It’s building relationships.”  I hold true to her sentiment; and I am certain that most companies will eventually understand this really basic concept.  I know at at Intel we do and we are still learning every day.

I am on twitter for several reasons. One being, that I am a very social person and I enjoy to Iearn/share/laugh/LOL/LMAO/IMHO/Retweet with all my friends, colleagues and acquaintances.  It’s fun and I am building relationships; and to be completely transparent about the issue, I do post links to Intel related content.  I am just careful that I follow an 80/20 rule (well more like 90/10); whereby 90% of my tweets are personal and 10% are Intel related.  Still though, with everything I do post, I try to be as human as possible.

As I browse through my twitter account and read all the conversations about this and that; I see a lot of humanity in each and every tweet.  It’s actually pretty awesome to see. If there is ever a time that I am not displaying the basic principle of humanity, I hope that one of my friends will call me on it.

ps. not sure why I chose this title for the post. I guess it just sounded good. : )

If you enjoyed this post, please follow me on Twitter.

About Michael Brito

Michael Brito has been making things happen online since 1996 with a legit hustle. He gets mad when the 49ers lose, really mad. Feel free to follow him on Twitter.

  • http://www.usa.philips.com/index.page Michelle Martinez

    Michael,

    Such a brilliant post. Thank you for providing your expertise in social media. Perhaps you shoul also be writing in Mashable. : )

    ~ m

  • http://www.clickware.com Bob Cusick

    Michael – TERRIFIC insights. I wish more people would “get it” like you obviously do. Thanks for the post!

    Bob

  • http://TribalSeduction.com @CoachDeb

    1st – No need 2 apologize for “ego” in re: to wanting to be included on top recognized PR channel on the WEb. It’s why we’re in business – to help as many people with our products/services and our job to get the word out to help as many people as possible. It’s what all successful entrepreneurs and executives are responsible for.

    2nd – Oh the Humanity! YEEEEES!!! It’s all about being human and thinking like a human as opposed to a robotic marketer. No one wants to hear a commercial (typical USP) these days it’s alllll about the conversation. If you think of how you’d act at a party or in person networking event when interacting on social media channels – you’ll do alright.

    ’nuff said

  • http://fearlessblogger.com Faryl

    The humanity is what I love about social media in general. I love the opportunities the internet gives up to connect with each other.

    Some people think technology is isolating. I disagree – I think, depending how it’s used, technology empowers us to connect with each other on an entirely new level.

    Beautiful post! Thank you!

  • http://www.radicaltrust.ca collin

    Oh the humanity!

    Thanks for the props. Great additional thoughts on the notion. In this space, we judge people by the character of their content, not by the colour of their logo.

    … oh my… that may be the title of my next post!

    be well
    collin

  • http://www.britopian.com Michael Brito

    Hey all — thanks for the comments. This is a topic that I am extremely passionate about. I appreciate your participation.

    Michael

  • http://www.direct2dell.com Richardatdell

    Hi Michael

    Thanks for the call out…but more importantly, well done piece. Solid reminders. I try to keep at 80-20 too…human and/or interesting other posts that help us all think learn and get better…so I tweeted this link :-)

  • jamnelson

    Enjoyed the post. While I totally agree with the “think like a human, not like a marketer” sentiment, I personally struggle with the application (of your 80/20 or 90/10) rune. My work is SUCH a huge part of who I am, what I am passionate about that it is hard for me to NOT tweet about it — and yet I can’t.

    warmest regards,
    Jen

  • http://irwebreport.com/daily Dominic Jones

    I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said, but I wonder what that means for Intel on twitter. Who do I follow on twitter if I’m interested in Intel the company? I looked at your twitter stream and it didn’t interest me. As much as I’m sure you’re a personable guy, I’m looking for 80% Intel, 20% other stuff. My interest in Intel is financial and corporate, as a shareholder. I absolutely agree that people should be behind a twitter account and we should know who they are, but I’m struggling to understand where you see Intel as the corporate entity fitting.

  • http://customersrock.net Becky Carroll

    This is how I think of social media in general. It is such a great way to put a human face on a brand, like the above folks listed have done. I can think of a lot of other great people I have met via social media who are great representatives for their brands (such as Frank Eliason at Comcast). This works when trying to improve how we connect with customers because we can relate to Frank at Comcast; we can’t relate to Comcast as a company. We keep buying from certain companies/retailers because we have developed relationships with the people who work there (and their product meets our needs).

    Thank you for this, Michael!

  • http://www.britopian.com Michael Brito

    Dominic — thanks for the comment. If you are interested in the company, we have several “corporate twitter accounts” that provide information you are looking for.

    @intelces
    @IntelSoftware
    @intelblogs

    I am sure there are more. We were thinking about creating a page on Intel.com that outlines all the twitter profiles.

    I appreciate your comments.

  • http://www.programmerhelper.com Programmer Helper

    Michael – TERRIFIC insights. I wish more people would “get it” like you obviously do. Thanks for the post!

  • http://www.homenotion.com/blog Ms. Liz

    For as simple and uncomplicated a twitter post is, I find twitter offers a lot of humanity. After all if you are a good marketer you’ll know that being human and building relationships is what it’s all about. Great post Michael!

  • http://donotreadthisblogunless.blogspot.com/ Nicholas Chase

    Hey Michael,

    Sorry I missed you in Las Vegas, we were both networking in different spaces.

    Respectfully,

    Nicholas Chase
    http://www.twitter.com/nachase

  • http://www.HennArtOnline.com Henie

    Hi Michael,

    When it’s all said and done, no one will remember anything except the way they feel…Feelings is what makes us all human and connected.

    Thank you for a great post and it was a pleasure saying hello.

    Best Always,
    Henie
    “Perception is the driver, belief the passenger.” ~Henie~

  • http://newsworthy.readmedia.com Chelsea

    You beat me to the punch on my next blog post. I absolutely agree that Twitter brings HUMANS back to a corporation. I am so glad you see Twitter this way! (Retweeting this article)

  • http://www.marketleveragetv.com MLDina

    Brands are people too! Clients/ customers of companies like Dell and Apple often forget that the brand couldn’t exist without the people behind it. The company’s personality, values, and customer service skills are all related to the people behind the ‘mistake’. There needs to be room for forgiveness, but only to a certain extent, for brands and individuals.

  • http://www.jackzufelt.com/ Jack Zufelt

    Brilliant post and terrific insights. I too see the “humanity in Twitter. After all, isn’t social marketing all about the human factor, i.e. feelings, connecting with someone and his/her ideas, building relationships ,etc. Some think technology is isolating. I don’t! I see it as empowering and connecting us if it is used properly.

  • http://www.marketingresellers.com Nick Stamoulis

    We can argue this all day long but if John Smith from XYZ tries to connect with someone and engage in conversation many don’t care to talk to John Smith, they want to talk to XYZ so it really works both ways.

  • http://www.24-7affiliates.co.uk Steve, full time affiliate marketer

    Social media in general, is just another name for mass marketing. There is no human face on a brand, and there never will be.
    Like all social media sites, twitter is fast becoming a global marketing stage for everyone or anyone who wants to tell the world about their next up coming product, or how well their business is doing. I remember the days when blogs where the mass way to get your business out there, now it’s twitter, tomorrow who knows maybe some money driven smart guy or gal is working on that right.