It’s been bothering me for a while.
I have been up nights wondering, surfing, reading old message boards, trying to figure it out. Sleepless nights and unproductive days; I was truly at a loss and the question still gnawed at me.
“Who is the Alpha?”
There are some fundamental truths that we know in the world.
Al Gore invented the Internet. This we know for sure.
Sen. John McCain invented the Blackberry. Again, this is an absolute truth.
But who is the Twitter Alpha? From where is the beginning of all-positive twitter knowledge, business and marketing information that daily lessons “experts” rehash?
Each day I see “7 ways to use Twitter to Market effectively” or “4 ways to use Twitter to make more sales” from different people and different sources, but they all have the same basic information — like a retelling of a Grimm’s fairy tale with Lightsabers: the plot remains the same, but the props are different.
Where did it start?
I had been haunted by this for so long and paced such a groove in the parquet flooring at the TweetReports World HQ that I dispatched my #2, the Business Development Guy with one simple task:
Find the Alpha. Reveal to me the secret.
I didn’t see him for almost six weeks. Reporters had spotted him at the Vancouver Ice Dancing Prelims, then at Carnivàle. The Washington Post reported that he was thrown out of the Library of Congress after hysterically demanding to see all of Guy Kawasaki’s (@guykawasaki) tweets from 2007. Finally I was able to confirm that he was dog whispering, learning the way of the Chihuahua at the @thebrandbuilder compound.
And then poof, he was gone. Until last night. We found the Alpha. And it isn’t who you’d expect.
Trygve –- the Business Development Guy — was calling from a high mountain top in Turkey, bouncing the signal off TweetReports1, our orbiting satellite. It was late, so most of it was static, but I could clearly hear this:
“Michael, I met the Alpha, he gave me the secret of Twitter. And his parachute pants are so shiny.”
I got the e-mail this morning, and I have to share. It’s so simple, it’s genius. On the top of a mountain in Turkey is an ancient monastery with one inhabitant, playing David Bowie and Queen music. It’s him. Much like all geniuses, his was before his time and misapplied. He had three simple lessons to use Twitter optimally.
All success, all other lessons, flow from these:
You do not control who and how you are talked about. Attempting to do so is folly without a true understanding of the conversational nature of your customers, current, past and potential.
Before taking a serious action, a company must ask itself one simple question that demands a difficult answer: “Are we doing this because we think it’s best, or because our customers and the marketplace has demanded it?” Business is not an ego trip, cashing checks is, and the way to cash big checks is to give the public what they need, not what you think you want to give them.
Stop. Take a deep breath, and ask yourself: “Have we really reviewed what people are saying before taking this big step?”
The speaker who speaks to no one has no audience, and an audience without a speaker is bored. Only when you work together with your audience, by speaking to them in a manner that they understand; about topics they want to hear, will they fully work with you. If you sell to no one you are not a company, you merely have a product. Collaborating with your customers by learning and monitoring the industry, determining the best practices to succeed, and how best to work with them, only that path leads to success.
Only when you pay attention to what people are saying can you truly respond. Those who do not listen, or have the proper abilities to hear what is being said about them, their brand, their company, or their competition, will fail. Listen to what is being said; monitor and track how the world around you is talking. Only by listening and monitoring will you be led to true victory.
In the coming days we will be offering a simple way to follow the way of the Alpha: to give you the ability to Stop, Collaborate, and Listen. You will be able to hear what people are saying, when they’re saying it, and how they’re talking. While you really shouldn’t take the Alpha’s fashion advice, his Twitter tome is brilliant in its simplicity. Listening, monitoring, and knowing what’s being said leads to the best possible business practices you can make.
Until next time,
P.S. If anyone has frequent flyer miles they can spare, we do need to get the Business Development Guy back from Turkey. It doesn’t have to be on a commercial airplane, he can fly with chickens, grain, whatever.