Open Letter to ‘Promo Twitter’

2016-08-29 10:28

Greetings to all members of the Twitter community, irregardless if you belong to the black division or the others. I’d like to also greet distinguished members such as @IamClaro, CIC of Promo Twitter; not forgetting the Divine Committee of Gawdly Groove, @untiluntil_za, @Cantare_Monte and lesser event organizers in the Twitterspora. All protocol observed.

It is my hope that this open letter finds you and your loved ones in good health. This communique is not intended as personal criticism against you or your colleagues. If anything, I’m trying to provide guidance about how to approach the changing landscape on social media networks.

The birth of ‘Promo Twitter’ came soon after people realized that if a couple of tweeps started posting tweets together with the same hashtag, they could ‘game’ Twitter and start trending. Event organizers more than any other parties started relying on ‘Promo Teams’ to send out messages about their events. I at first gave praise to this innovating group of tweeps that found a vacuum and used it for their commercial benefit. But as with many things that aren’t properly regulated, it became an irresponsible free-for-all with people's timelines getting spammed every weekend.

A lot of Twitter users are exhausted by this and have even started making a conscious effort to block it out of their feeds.

It reminds me of those people that hand out flyers on the side of the road and flick them right in your face as you try to pass by. Flick harder, shout louder, and they’ll stop scrolling, seems to be the message on Promo Twitter. I once intervened when someone I know told me they were asked to send broadcast messages to their Whatsapp friends and families. This attitude of disrespecting people's personal space hasn’t worked well for the flyer people, and I don’t see it working for Promo Twitter.

It hasn't surprised me to realize lately that it's been a while since I saw hashtags about certain club events trending. The reality of the so-called Attention Economy is catching up to Promo Twitter. Once people associate your account with unsolicited sales messages, they immediately switch off. Over time the effect of Promo Twitter erodes because people don’t have an authentic connection with the content creators.

A lot of people that decide to sign up for Promo Twitter jobs do it for that extra bit of cash. But truth is, Promo Twitter is notorious for paying badly.

The best example of a successful promo I've come across was the result of a genuinely fantastic event. Even the way it was promoted involved more than just copy-pasting hyped up tweets from the last Promo gig.

I’m not going to sit here behind my computer screen pretending to be a self-appointed Twitter Guru, but I'm an avid consumer and creator of stories and experiences online and offline. And the most successful storytellers I've seen, are the ones that don’t leave you feeling like you wasted your time listening to them. Unless Promo Twitter shifts it's thinking in this direction, I fear that it may end up being another of those things we collectively choose to leave in 2016.

Kind regards,

Skhumbuzo Tuswa

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