Thoughts about hr and management in the real world – extra information I couldn't fit in my books!.

What’s so wrong about being a twit?

While a few of my HR network are very comfortable on Twitter, many, many of the managers and HR people that I meet just don’t see any point in being on Twitter.

So what is so wrong about being a twit? Here’s my two cents worth!

1. Not another thing I need to know about

Baby Boomers have actually gone through what I would consider the most radical technological change of any generation. Imagine going from the latest technology as a kid being black and white TV’s with 1 channel and seeing the birth of cassettes to CD’s to iTunes. From rotary phones to mobile phones to smart phones. From typewriters with carbon copies to personal computers with huge CPU’s to laptops and now tablets. From encyclopaedia’s and having to actually look stuff up in books to the birth of the internet and email.

And with the internet and smart phones – the birth of social media and app’s.

I think for many boomers I talk to they were okay with the internet and email, they got on board with LinkedIn and Facebook. But then things started to get overwhelming. When their kids and grandkids started talking about Flickr, Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram and all the rest….. it just got too much. Not only had Boomers had to learn how to use VCR’s, then DVD players and change from record players to tape decks to CD’s, not only had they gone on Facebook and LinkedIn, now there was this Twitter thing too they needed to do.

I’m a Gen X and even I thought when people told me I needed to be on Twitter I thought: “I’m on enough social media sites already. I don’t have time for another”. So that I think is the first challenge. Enough is enough for many people.

2. The concept is ridiculous!

The next thing about Twitter is the concept of it just sounds stupid. You ‘tweet’ things that are only 140 characters long. What can you possible say in 140 characters? Remember, for those of us who are Boomers or Gen X – we used to have to write letters to people. There was no email when I was young. Cutting things down to 140 characters seems absurd.

And what you hear in the media about twitter if you don’t know anything about it is, that Lady Gaga (or insert other celebrity) recently tweeted she ‘had eggs for dinner’. Quite frankly many people don’t care what Lady Gaga had for dinner and if that’s all Twitter is going to tell them, what’s the point?

3. What’s in a name?

The name Twitter for many invokes the thought of being a ‘twit’. I loved Roald Dahl’s book ‘The Twits’ when I was young but I certainly never wanted to be a twit! Back before the 80’s (which many young people seem to think is when dinosaurs roamed the earth) calling each other a twit was as nasty as it got for many people.

Twittering also has bad connotations. People who twittered on were saying nothing and were not the type of people you wanted to listen to. So anyone who tweets (or twitters as some call it!) is someone you want to stay clear of. Language is important. So the name does put people off.

4. I don’t have time

We’re all stretched for time and so for many spending time on Twitter (or any social media) comes way down the list. Higher priorities are actually talking to people in person or spending time with them in real life. Now I know that for many people who grew up with social media – being on line is ‘real life’ for them and they would consider they had been hanging out with people if they were hooked up on Facebook or Twitter. But this is a totally different world view from older generations.


So what’s the solution?

Twitter isn’t for everyone. I don’t believe you should do something just because some other people are. It took a year of being told by several people time and time again that I must try Twitter, that I finally gave it a go.

Was it worth it for me?

To be honest it’s been more of a novelty to start with. I have enjoyed participating in the #nzlead discussions which focus on different areas of HR and leadership. You can’t have hugely in depth conversations with 140  characters but I have read some interesting thoughts from people and had some good articles and books recommended. I’ve also met a different group of people on Twitter – and meeting one of those people in person at an HR event recently – it was like you already sort of knew each other!

I haven’t got much out of following a celebrity and seeing their comments, but overall it has made me part of a new community of HR people. Wanting to change the face of HR, that’s important to me.

Should you do it?

If you want to give it a try but not sure where to start, I have put together a short guide on using social media from a presentation I ran for the HRINZ (HR Institute of NZ) HR technology group. The guide is for complete beginners and explains what to do and how to do it.

Feel free to email me for a copy of it.

And maybe, just maybe, we’ll meet on Twitter someday!



6 comments on “What’s so wrong about being a twit?

  1. hrmannz
    September 9, 2013

    Great stuff Angela. It’s nothing to be afraid of and the benefits far outweight the negatives of the perceived silliness of the whole thing.

  2. amandasterling
    September 9, 2013

    Great blog Angela and very valid concerns. However, I do challenge this. It is only going to get more overwhelming and there are going to be many more and different means of interacting. With the rate of technological change twitter may be extinct in 10 years and will be replaced with god knows what instead. The skill is not in learning how to use facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, it’s developing the resilience and learning aptitude to cope with the continual pace of change. Getting on board with twitter is not the issue.

    • angelaatkins
      September 9, 2013

      Thanks Amanda! I agree completely that it’s about learning agility and coping with change. But if I can challenge back too – there is also a technical aspect to how to use each new site, because they do all operate differently. While I was setting myself up in Twitter I did feel like a complete idiot that I couldn’t get it to work. Microsoft are also good at that. I now have Windows8 and can’t find anything or take ages and feel like a dolt! Doesn’t make me engage with the site or the software.

      • amandasterling
        September 9, 2013

        That’s a very fair comment – there is a pressure for higher levels of technical capability. You’ve just got to think of how many people have their own websites now and the technical skill required to do anything more than basics.

  3. Tash
    September 9, 2013

    Excellent blog Angela. I agree with both you and Amanda on the respective comments, but building resilience will help when learning a new platform. When learning anything new we all feel like idiots and noobs, but with the resilience we learn to push through until we’ve given it a good go. Each platform isn’t for everyone, but everyone should at least try each platform.


    • amandasterling
      September 9, 2013

      I don’t agree that everyone should be giving each platforms a go. I think there are applications that are more gimicky than practical (e.g. snapchat) and not every social platform is for everyone (I know people who love snapchat – good on ’em). But it’s about the approach, having an open mind to change and new technology. You also need to consider why you are using it. If there is no point, then don’t force it. But don’t say no because it’s new and different and it’s not what you had before, say no because you’ve approached it with an open mind and it still doesn’t fit your needs.

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This entry was posted on September 9, 2013 by in Uncategorized.
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