02 October, 2009

Twitter


Tom has been tweeting for VO for a few months ( http://twitter.com/Velo_Orange ). I just set up my own account and will also tweet about VO related, and other, stuff ( http://twitter.com/ChrisKulczycki .)

I'm still a little unsure about this whole Twitter thing, but Tom says it's very useful and has convinced me to give it a try. My thinking is that it will provide an outlet for announcements and thoughts not worthy of a full blog post.

Anyone have experience with or thoughts about Twitter?

UPDATE: I've added a twitter feed over on the right, so you can read everything here. No need for a Twitter account. And the blog is now fed to the store home page.

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'd rather you just keep it all on the blog. I don't like having to check two different places for my VO news.
Maybe if you could somehow integrate the tweets with the blog? Not really sure how it works, though.

Donald said...

I second that motion. I love your blog, specifically because you have more than 180 characters or whatever in your posts. They have real information, and real detail, and I value this a lot, personally.
Twitter feeds are hard to read and feel like a waste of time to me.

Kathryn Cleveland Hall said...

Twitter is a ridiculous nuisance in my opinion. I signed on some time ago, quickly came to the above conclusion and concur with the previous comments. Now I can't get rid of them, even though I've unsubscribed. And I get lots of those unpleasant foreign "I've got this to sell that will enhance your..." as well.

leaf slayer said...

Please don't tweet. This blog is great. Twitter is like an envasive species. You don't want to do anything to encourage it.

leaf slayer said...

Please don't tweet. Your blog is great. Twitter is like an invasive species whose growth and expansion you don't want to encourage.

Arthur said...

My 2 cents: don't follow the Harris Cyclery idea. They used to simply have a "news" page. Then it became a blog page. Now, it is a Tweet account. Left in the wake are all these abandoned pages you can still access. Honestly, some of your blog posts are below 180 characters already. What would be "not worthy of a full blog post"?! Keep thing connected---not disconnected. Isn't that what a "news" or "communication" forum is supposed to accomplish?

Chris Kulczycki said...

The blog will still be the primary VO news source. Please check out the tweets to see the sort of stuff I'll use Twitter for.

I'm not convinced this Twitter thing is a great idea, but I do trust Tom's advice and will give it a shot. We'll see how it goes.

Tom said...

Twitter is not a replacement for the VO (or any) blog. What I have been doing with the twitter account is to tweet the blog posts that Chris writes. It presents it to an audience that otherwise may not know of or otherwise overlook our blogs, websites, and other online outlets.

Plus, it's fun.

Social media is firmly established now. Blogs are one part of that. Social networking sites like Facebook (yeah- I know...but we have a presence there too), Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Digg and others are another part. We will not ignore it and pretend it doesn't make a difference or hope it will disappear when The Revolution comes.

Kathryn- If you are having tweetspam filling up your inbox or cell phone, all you have to do is turn off that feature in twitter, or delete the account. It's really very easy.

and judging by the dozens of new followers in the last 2 hours, I suspect many more are enthusiastic about Twitter and Facebook than the detractors.

Don't be hatin, yo....

patates frites said...

I'm kind of a knuckle-dragging luddite to begin with (I have never owned a cell phone and resisted CDs until LPs were no longer easily available), so when a friend showed me what he was doing on Twitter and how it worked, I was instantly turned off. I agree with the rest of the gang here.

Rick @ Bicycle Fixation said...

I've got a Twitter account for Bicycle Fixation that supplements my blog. Of course 140 characters isn't going to let you say a lot, but it's perfect for short announcements that are too minor for a complete blog post but still ought to be noted in passing for the many who might be interested. I Tweet a lot of heads-ups to bicycle-related news articles, events that are fully explained on their web sites (which I link to in the Tweet), and of course new articles or products of our own.

Many of BF's followers re-Tweet our Tweets to their own followers, so we keep finding new folks who are interested in our products, articles, or blog through Twitter.

I posted a Tweet about Brompton opening a US distributorship, for example, and it was re-Tweeted extensively; probably not many folder fans read Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, so it got the word out fast and made a lot of folks happy. It wasn't a big enough event for me to write a blog post on--I write mostly about advocacy and political developments, or in-house stuff--but it was obviously worth it to a lot of folks.

As Tom said, it doesn't replace a blog; it's an adjunct that can help get more readers to one's blog.

People said the same kind of thing about blogs when they first came out too.

annette said...

Listen to your customers, especially the first post.

I follow many political blogs that have all the bells and whistles. I check the blogs first, check the tweets in hopes of finding something life-changing, and invariably find that it's all been covered on the blogs. Huge waste of time on everyone's part, as far as I can see.

My prediction: we're not going to attract (or maintain) any more customers with random musings; you'll bag it in a month or two. I promise I won't say I told you so.

Anonymous said...

It is somehow comical to think of people debating the merits of tweeting for a company that reproduces a french bottom bracket standard that was phased out over 20 years ago. You may reach more people on twitter, but they may be the wrong kind of people - will they ask for an octalink french bottom bracket? Will they want porteur bars in carbon? Hydraulic Guidonnet levers?

Dan

jonathan said...

I'm a big twitter fan. Thought I'd comment here to add at least one positive voice so you don't think everyone hates it.

I'm a libraries and through twitter have made some great connections with people in my industry - other librarians, writers, publishers - that I would otherwise never have met.

I keep up with news, get questions answered, converse with friends.

I say go for it.

Anonymous said...

I bet Electra will sign up for your Twitter tweets!

Rick @ Bicycle Fixation said...

Annette: it's easy enough to add a Twitter box alongside the blog in the blog page--it's all set up and ready to go in Twitter's Widgets section ( http://twitter.com/goodies/widgets ), so one could check the blog and Twitter feed on the same page. (We have the Twitter feed alongside our blog at http://www.newcolonist.com, if you want to see it in action.)

Some folks will just want heads-ups on your new products or the various interesting developments in cycling Chris hears about; Twitter's good for them. They may not want to read extensive blog entries, but may still be good customers--if they remember who you are.

I think it makes good business and community sense both. It hasn't taken up too much more of my own time than what I did before. Only 140 characters max, after all!

Tom said...

Product managers, marketing directors, and sales managers from electra, specialized, trek, raleigh and others already follow our twitter feed, just like they subscribe to our blog and troll through our website for the latest ideas to feed their R&D departments. Another channel will not stop that, nor will it make it any more dificult for them if we kill it. I guess we could make the blog,website, and store invite only- a club- and be totally secretive about what and how we sell. But I think that would discourage people from riding more than anything else, not to mention the accusations of elitism that would be posted.

Twitter may not make sense for Chris on a personal level but for Velo Orange it is absolutely necessary, like the blog, like the website, like the shipping station in the back.

Those newbies who want a carbon Porteur handlebar will soon discover the simplicity and elegance of shiny aluminum bits and the farce of chasing grams. @Velo_Orange gets to tell that story, and not trelectrized.

Anonymous said...

Twitter's value is vastly enhanced with a good desktop client like Tweetdeck. You can search the chatter for keywords that interest you. You'll find a lot of things that other people found interesting and *had* to tell someone about. You can also quickly gauge sentiment, and the low barrier of entry to posting removes some of the participation bias.

Chris Collins said...

Twitter has its place. I challenge you to find a regular twitter user who concurs with these other poster that it is inconvenient.

He has never been my favorite, but over the last couple of years Lance has grown on my. (I always applaud more 'senior' athletes).

Lance is kind of a Twitter master. He really shows its playfulness and expediency. Chris you oughta click and follow @lancearmstrong for awhile. He's pretty good.

Anonymous said...

Between tweeting, bloggin, facebooking and running a business how will anyone there at VO find time to ride their bikes. Or read a book.

Chris Kulczycki said...

Ha, the trick is not to watch TV. TV is what really wastes time. I love reading books and do so every night. And blogging, etc, is just old fashioned writing, except now it's on a keyboard instead of on stationary and more people read it.

ToddBS said...

The demographic that is big into Twitter is not generally who you would assume it to be. All the information I've seen on it says the average Twit is mid-30s and up, not the 20 somethings of Facebook, etc. Which I find odd as I'm 35 and not a single one of my friends uses it. Nor do I.

You may bring in some new interest, but I think the typical VO customer is a borderline retro-grouch (like me) and won't be using it. Just my 2 cents.

Tom said...

We have over 600 followers on Twitter. none are spambots. Before interbike and the blog post we had less than 500. Something is compelling y'all to commit to our Twitter feed.

Steve Fuller said...

Twitter will be good for short things. Examples:

"Porteur racks arrive next week."
"Grand Bois tires not available for next three months"
"New blog post - New product suggestions needed"

Think of it as a stock ticker for your people interested in what's going on with you (or your company). Used correctly, it can be part of an effective **toolset** for communicating with your customers.

I'll be honest, I love your company and your products, but I don't always stop by the blog every day. Sometimes I'm too busy, and sometimes I'm not near a computer. I almost always have my phone with me so your tweets will keep your company and it's products in my mind.

For the record, I'm perilously close to 40, and was not a "social media user" until 9 months or so ago. For me, it's become as much a part of my daily routine as checking email.

Anonymous said...

Please no twittering. I'll never read it. Waste of time for you and your readers!

Anonymous said...

+1 on the Hydraulic Guidonnet levers!
mb

Anonymous said...

The twitter phenomenon only serves to cement my misanthropic leanings. It has got to be the most ridiculous, frivolous, idiotic idea ever thought up by would-be entrepreneurs since the development of the personal computer. When a good blog goes twitter, I go away and just ride off into the wind.

Steve said...

I'm not a Twitter fan at all, but other than taking up time for Chris and Tom, I can't see how it can actually hurt anybody. What's happening on Twitter doesn't exist for me, since I never go there. But if it works for you, have at it.

john said...

I don't understand all the hate directed towards Twitter. Twitter can be very useful in getting out information that is too minor to warrant a full blog post. It also allows you to reach out to people who may not want to keep an extensive list of blogs and websites to check daily for updates.

If people don't want to follow you on Twitter, that's their choice. But for them to suggest that you shouldn't bother because it won't be useful for them is just silly.

john b said...

Chris,

I think this is a great idea! I currently follow Tom's feed in my desktop client. I think Twitter serves a very useful place in a communications plan. It would be perfect for comments as Steve Fuller notes. You can also set up your Twitter account so that it posts to Facebook and to your blog (depending on the software). I find that I read more blog entries because of Twitter than I would just consuming straight blogs.

For every change in modern communications, there has been resistance. People railed when the NYTimes went online. Now, I consume the Times exclusively through some excellent Twitter feeds and through RSS. Twitter like any communications method is what you make of it. If you only talk with dolts, you might think talking is a ridiculous nuisance.

I look forward to your posts!

jonathan said...

I'm with John, I don't understand the hatred toward twitter. Nobody is forced to engage with it.

Some of us find it extremely valuable. As a librarian I have regular twitter conversations with librarians and writers I would never have been in contact with were it not for twitter.

As for the argument that VO users tend toward being luddites. I wonder if that's really true, and if so, what are they doing reading a blog?

Anonymous said...

I'm not usre I want to participate in an activity where the users are called Twits. Are they at least Upper-Class Twits?
(tee hee...).
P.S. What was wrong with the website layout? I thought it was great, and if it ain't broke....

Steve Fuller said...

Chris - As an extra point of information on this, I have visited your site and/or blog more since I started subscribing to your twitter feed and seeing the notifications about new stock, etc. I think it's a great *supplemental* way to get information out for those who want to consume in that fashion.

Anonymous - For the record, people on twitter are generally referred to as "tweeps" and not "twits"