Twitter = More Dirt, But It Is Fun

Three months ago I posted an item about how annoying Twitter was and how I just didn't want to face it. I was determined only to publish into Twitter links to our stories and never look at it again. For some reason I can't get the dang Twitterfeed to work for all content from's free newsletters, but glitches aside, it is pretty amazing how quickly a content producer can generate followers with no effort. has 383 followers and we did nothing.

So, Twitter is a great tool for the dissemination of information. But after reading more on blogs like TechCrunch about how Twitter is a real-time search engine of people's thoughts, I started paying more attention.  [more]At, I started following people. Have I heard actual news from any of the 94 people I'm currently following? Eh. Mostly I think the top three to five Twits have been communicating heavily with one another.

But as many have observed, if you're a marketer or brand guardian, you must use Twitter. You should plug in and subscribe (using RSS) to a keyword search of your company's name. It will seem overwhelming and there's a lot of dirt, but it will offer some gold, too. Now you're sharing a role with me, your trusted information provider. A big part of what journalists do is try to deflect or minimize information we find to be least valuable to you--and vice-versa for the good stuff--from among a relentlessly growing number of sources.

So I've added Twitter to the list of sources pouring dirt into my sieve, and my observation thus far is that you're not missing much that is important. There's some fun, but little to nothing that should change how you work. [With greater scale, this assessment could change.]

My main experiment was to follow the keywords "business travel" and "corporate travel," and after three months of daily attention, I have come up with a few semiprecious gems on the nature of business travel and its impact on people. Are they things you didn't know? No. Are they quotable and entertaining? A little. But even these words would not have been worth sorting for a travel professional, methinks. You can probably leave that to us junkies.

Note, I left out the vulgar slams of specific vendors, but some of those are really funny ...

• "Business travel beats going to the office everyday . . . Canada is a slightly odd place." ~ DrGerg

• "Just used Priceline to book a 4-star in Memphis that meets our corporate spending guidelines. Take that travel department!" ~ ncrown

• "After going on 3 business trips with me, my assistant no longer says 'u travel so often. oh, how nice!' " ~ sleeplessinkl

• "One of my biggest travel regrets is having been to Japan (twice) and Korea on business and seeing so little" ~ downesy

• "I travel for business - I received a marriage proposal while collecting my luggage on my last flight. 40s really are the new 20s! ;-) " ~ dnamae

• "Airplanes + business travel + lack of sleep = I feel a cold coming on." ~ one20steve

• "I am about willing to concede defeat at the hands of the company travel policy and will grudgingly be taking a connecting flight to save $2" ~ shayman

• "... is in love with her hotel room. Maybe there is an upside to business travel." ~ nataliestone

• "I hate business travel. it's only rated highly by the people who've never done it" ~ peterosbornuk

• "About to cash in miles so wife and daughter can visit friends in NYC. Business travel giving back to the family...Hooray!!!" ~ travelingparent

• "Downside of parenting: kids wake me up at random hours. Downside of business travel: I miss the kids waking me up at random hours." ~ bostonwriter

• "Ok corporate travel agent, what part of 'Yes, that's the flight I want' means don't book it?" ~ the_dave

• "Business travel with a family. About the same, except in super slo-mo." ~ rsingh68

Some of you might know that last dude.

As you can see, there's a little bit of life and a little bit of fun in there, and a whole lot of cracking on business travel and travel management (what else is new?).

I suspect one fun part is simply the act of publishing. Even two decades after I started doing that, I still get a little buzz when I click "Send."

On Twitter, I don't know what my followers hope I might say. On any given day, reporters uncover as many as dozens of tidbits of information that could qualify as a good tweet--and I don't mean about how a dog crapped outside my office door, although a quick search told me that's actually a fairly popular thing to tweet!

Will I publish tidbits on Twitter? On occasion, I suspect. Occasions, that is, when I have absolutely no chance of working on something that has a higher priority, such as this, this, this and this ... oh, and this, this and sometimes these, plus the blog you're reading.

I think those are the things you want me working on, but who knows, maybe I'll look back on this post in six years--or six months--and laugh about how wrong I am.