Stop Twittering and Focus on Your Business

By | January 3, 2008

UPDATE: April 3, 2009 – I still don’t like twitter, but I’m going to give it a try. In the 16 months since I wrote this article, twitter has become the hottest and most talked about web 2.0 property. I plan on writing another article about twitter soon. But I need to give it a “fair try” in order to give more credibility to my new article. Maybe I’ll become a twitter convert. I doubt it, but we’ll see. Feel free to “follow” me in this test:

Edition #146 – 01/03/2008

Happy New Year to all the wonderful readers of this newsletter! Thank you for reading Eric’s Tips. It would be kind of pointless to write it if there was nobody reading it, so thank you for giving me a reason to write!

In 2007, I more or less put my marketing business “on hold” so that I could focus full time on producing an internet reality show.

It was a tremendous investment of time and money, and intangible resources like emotion and determination. It was one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced in my life to date, and it was an experience from which I have learned and grown immeasurably.

If I had lost focus of the goal at any point during the year, there’s a good chance the project would have never been completed. So today I’d like to rant a little about staying focused and avoiding the ever-present distractions of the internet.

More specifically, I’m going to pick on Web 2.0’s current hot phenomenon–Twitter–but this message also applies to a myriad of other potential distractions (including all the social networking sites).

In case you’re not familiar with Twitter, it’s basically what I would describe as a “micro blogging” platform, upon which you are supposed to communicate with frequent bits of information.

Now, before I launch into the reasons that will probably get me labeled a “Twitter hater”, let me tell you some things that I think are good about Twitter.

First of all, it’s a good idea. It seems to be a natural link in the evolution of social networking, and it has enough traction that it will be around for a long time. I crunched some numbers recently, and determined that my 17-year-old sister in law spends approximately 50 hours per month sending and receiving text messages on her cell phone.

For those who are spending their time on “social activities” anyway, Twitter can be a more efficient way to do it.

But when it comes to those of us who are using the internet to make money, I think Twitter is about the worst possible use of our time, with a couple of exceptions.

If being a social icon IS your business then you have to do it. My friend Charles Trippy is a good example. He has over 88,000 MySpace friends, 36,000 YouTube subcribers, and his online identity is tied to his prominence in the social networking sphere.

But that’s a rare individual. Out of the 24,000 subscribers of this newsletter, I’m guessing there’s only a small handful who have the potential of becoming the next Web 2.0 “celebrity”.

So what about using it as an internet marketer? I’ve received a dozen or so requests in the past month from various internet marketers asking me to become their friend on Twitter.

Perhaps the reason why so many marketers (including Joel Comm) are embracing this phenomenon, is because it’s a legitimate way to further expand their online presence.

Email deliverability is at an all-time low, and a service such as Twitter could be just the ticket to growing a highly responsive list of “followers”.

But I say at what cost? Sure you can start slipping links into your micro-updates, and your followers will click on them. But will the revenue generated by your Twittering equal what you COULD have made if you had focused on income producing activities instead of socializing?

For one thing, it seems to me that you HAVE to Twitter very frequently if you want to be an effective Twitterer. And when I say frequently, I mean like several times a day.

Sure, the Twittering itself doesn’t take very long, but you have to think about it throughout the day, otherwise it won’t happen. Maybe it only takes 20-30 seconds to post your latest “tweet” (via the web, or cell phone, or whatever), but I guarantee that you are thinking about it more than just the time you spend doing it.

Next, the more you become entwined in the world of Twittering, the more likely that you will start “following” other people’s Twitters. I spent some time surfing through Twitter profiles, and discovered that most people are following HUNDREDS of friends.

And if you’re receiving updates from hundreds of people, it will be likely that you will spend time reading some of them, and the more you read the more tempting it will be to RESPOND to those other people.

Let’s say you spend a very modest 10 minutes a day on Twitter-related activities (reading, writing, replying, thinking…). That’s over 60 hours in a year… 2.5 days of your life (more than an average work week)!

So in order to justify Twitter from a business standpoint, it would have to create more results than you would get from a week of working on your business (or more than a week if you spend more than 10 minutes a day Twittering).

Of course that same principle applies to virtually anything you spend 10 minutes a day doing. It’s something to think about.

I think the biggest reason that Twitter has gained such popularity is because of our innate desire to feel that our lives are significant. If others are willing to read about the mundane details of our lives, then we must be significant, right?

In one respect, friends are worth infinitely more than money, and in that regard social networking is a way to leverage the internet to gain a wealth of friends.

On the other hand, I truly feel that most of our online “friendships” are ultimately superficial. Yes there are examples of sincerity, particularly in the younger generation who speak the language of SMS and Web 2.0 (and I’ve seen my wife gain closer friends through MySpace), but when it comes to business networking I think the superficiality is even more extreme.

I have no doubt that if I started Twittering, I could get a few hundred “friends” pretty quickly. But at the same time, I know that I can count my really good friends on one hand… and even they don’t care about the mundane details of my life.

So what will I be doing INSTEAD of Twittering?

I’ll be focusing on three simple steps that Kris Jones outlined when he taught on The Next Internet Millionaire. Those three steps are:

1) Find something that works
2) Replicate it
3) Scale it

Growing a successful business really is that simple when you break it down to the most fundamental level.

In fact, I’ll mostly be focusing on just #2 (replicate it). I’ve already figured out what works for me, so I can skip #1. And I’ll be doing some scaling, but my scaling will be different than Kris Jones’ scaling, because I don’t want to be the CEO of a big company. I’ll be scaling it in a way that fits my lifestyle.

If you do want to scale a big business, be like Twitter. If you read their parent company’s blog, you’ll see that they had planned on creating more products. They created a Web 2.0 site prior to Twitter called Odeo, which was not very successful. But then they found something that WORKED (Twitter), and they’ve devoted all of their resources to scaling it ever since.

They have not even begun to monetize Twitter, and I’m sure it is costing them hundreds of thousands of dollars per month to sustain it, but that doesn’t matter because its user base has already turned it into one of the most valuable Web 2.0 sites which means its founders will likely become VERY rich if they decide to sell it.

I’m heading out tomorrow morning with my family for a much needed vacation. I won’t tell you where I’m going, but I will say its warmer than Colorado. I’ll fill you in on the details when I get back.

As always you are welcome to leave your comments on here my blog.

Have a great day!

68 thoughts on “Stop Twittering and Focus on Your Business

  1. Ulla H


    Isn´t this twittering timeconsuming?
    Does it really pay off compared to the time it takes to do it?

    Well, it sounds interesting anyway.
    I stay focused on the 5 D´s – Decide – Determine – Diligently Do – Detach !

    In Inspiration,
    Ulla H

  2. Joselito Mendoza

    Happy New Year Eric.. Yap, I got your point. I may or may not disagree with your opinion. People now a days are becoming lazy in many aspect of life from laundry to texting. For me “Time Is Gold” and we should spend times with real people and share it those people who really needs our help. In my case I am becoming lazy in reading e-mails not because I hate it but because there are so many unsolicited e-mail coming from now where. Sometimes a person can only become useful if he/she really knows his/her trade regardless of works. Anyway I am writing you this letter to tell the world that your work is not put in vain. I always adhere to these sayings “That Every Man I Meet Is My Master In One Ways Or The Other.” I love reading books, magazines and newspaper. I also love reading e-mail especially coming from your site because not all people in this world has your site and I consider myself lucky because I am receiving this advise and ideas from people who has experience and masterpiece of his work. Keep up the good work Eric, I always salute you…. Thanks and have a good day. One thing more, regards to your family and friends….

  3. Frank Kilgore

    Happy New Year-

    I agree. Wasting so much time twittering and checking emails is a productivity killer.
    You have to use tough love and just limit your incomings and cut the ropes on some.
    Also, many times you must work offline to get away from the distractions.

    Frank Kilgore

  4. Graham in the U.K.

    Hi Eric
    good post -‘ twits for twittering’
    I guess this is a new programme for the youngsters but I would think that most of us will stick to squidoo and blogs( for the grown ups!). Some will follow the gurus as another avenue for more exposure. Similar to My Space and Facebook I guess – full of useless content that google will love?
    I will be concentrating my time on focusing on getting my websites together!
    Your blog is much more interesting than trawling through the new rubbish on web 2
    Graham in the wet and cold U.K.

  5. Sharon

    “Twitter” sounds like a good name to me—all these distracted people twittering about everything! Seriously, though—I’m sure it has it’s place among the younger crowd, and will be very well received. I am also sure that there is money to be made from it. That being said, however, I still prefer the “old fashioned” way of communicating–face to face! It is still–for me—the best way to build a business that I know of.
    Eric, have a good time wherever you’re going. Maybe you can bottle up some sunshine and send it CT’s way! 🙂

  6. Saundra Jackson


    Joel Comm is the culprit to my twittering. He speaks people listen. I try not to waste too much time, I don’t have any. I dropped my space, squiddo works great for me, I use Plaxo and Linkendlin for better relationship building. Lisa, I have always thought highly of you, so I will take another look.

    I use my wasted time for my grandsons (3).

  7. Rafiuzzaman

    Thak you Eric for sending me your valuable tips almost every day but I think I will not be able to get benefitted from your hard work.
    Thanks Eric any way.

  8. Sujit Singhamahapatra

    Dearest friend
    Wish you a happy new year, will be one most rewarding year 2008, friend I am not getting any right tips to start a really possible internet marketing business, in my country India, there are internet business is not so popular, I want to do business worldover, you please help me in this respect

  9. matt

    from a business standpoint, twitter is a waste of time, but people need social interaction. yeah, I got an invite from joel, but I also got one from another marketer as well. Not everything you do online has to be business related, we are human and need human interaction. I have seen some of what certain businesses do on social sites, and been the subject of it, and most is more annoying than anything else.

    Now consider this, you spend time building up a site on the social sites. You make honest posts, give good information, maybe offer your friends a free item that you think is very useful, be it an ebook or a program.

    On your site you have a link to your hub page, that has links to all your other sites. your friends see you as an honest person, who shares great stuff with them, so they click on your page link, check out your products, decide they do not need any of them, and leave.
    A couple weeks later one of their friends posts about needing something that you happen to be selling. Wanting to help out a friend, they reply with “My friend Eric has just the thing for a great price. Here is his page”
    Now you have not only two links to your hub page, but now two people who may recommend your site to others.
    After all, if a friend suggests something you are more likely to get it. Plus all of THAT persons friend who sees the post will out of curiosity click that link, visiting your site and at least some will subscribe.
    going out and making friends can be profitable.

    As for twitter, if you take a few moments each day to make a quick post, as people follow you, get to know you, you then make a post like ” i just finished uploading my new page at -url- and those people will click on that link, because if they are reading you, then they are curious, and that will lead to a click. which can lead to sales or sign ups.
    you have to think long term advantage, not just short term distraction.

  10. Heather Livignston

    I am tired of being taken for a ride so need proof that things really work seeing is believing and I havent see anything to work in my favor yet so how do you think I should react when ppl are asking me for money everytime and I have tried numerous things and didnt get anywhere so if anything I will start when im ready and make my own website with my own things

  11. Pete Mastroianni


    Your comments about Twitter are not much different than your original post about MySpace. Some people with purpose are marketing successfully with these tools and although Twitter is still unproven, MySpace has the potential for scalability.

    I still don’t have an account there, I read your original post and I agreed that I did not have time for socializing without a purpose, like Nancy Boyd says “it requires discipline”.

    Mike Filsaime makes a similar comment to yours about Twitter in his Next Internet Millionaire presentation.

    I am still on step one of Kris Jones’ simple steps, I’m still looking for that something that works for me.

    So back to the board!

    Enjoy your vacation!

    Pete Mastroianni

  12. SteveC


    Well there are so many distracting things out there and i for one am allways getting distracted rather than try to build my website/s.

    I do find facebook annoying, i do like youtube though and you can put videos up there which can help you market things or advertise your website/s.

    Oh one more thing its definately not cold over here in australia at the moment, we have had near 40.celcius days. thats over 100.f


  13. Nancy Boyd

    Hi Eric,

    Thanks for the encouragement. Scaleability is definitely the issue, as is relevance. One of the keys, I believe, is true across the board in marketing anything: niche. Have at least ONE niche where you can shine, that you know really well, and understand your market. Then find as many ways as you can to give them what they want.

    I currently have 3 niches like that, which I can switch back and forth as I please. But then as people get to know me, I can also expand from one of the niches (where they have come to know my “brand”) by making them aware of what else is available. Remember, they have already bought from me in the one niche already; they are a “warm market.”

    The beauty of using twitter as a strategy (NOT the main one by a long shot though) is that I got $500 for under 10 minutes a day average. And THIS is what I can repeat. I believe that the same strategies I use on twitter are replicable and that I can grow it through adding affiliate links as need be, over time.

    But it’s also important to remember that people only buy what they need. If they are not in the market for your product right now, don’t take it personally or give up. Just keep your ears open for what they DO want — and see if you can get it to them. Tweeters appreciate (and reward!!!) those who respond to their needs. (A word to the wise there. . . ‘cos remember, if they know and like you, even if they don’t need your product or service they may refer others to you who DO!)

    And one more thing. I am not a twitter expert. I’m just someone who likes it and has found a way to use it as a tool. My twittername is brightwings. Feel free to follow me, and read my past posts.

    Oh and yet one more thing: I have a kind of self-imposed “rule” about my twittering that seems to work out pretty well. I only post a plug for one of my products or services every 100 posts or so. But there is a subtlety to some of my “non-plug” posting, too. . . I can talk about what I’m doing and tie it in to one of my products or services. It’s not a plug, but a “share” — I’m not selling anything, just saying what’s going on in my world right this minute. Over time, my followers get a sense about some key areas of my business — and who I am.

    As I mentioned before, that’s a really good thing. And I believe it’s one reason why twitter works.

    Just don’t invest all your time over there! Have fun with it, know what it does, and use it well.

    Hope to see _your_ tweets soon!


  14. Murthy

    Wish you a happy new year, Eric. I’m sorry you did not speak anything about the agloco debacle, as I took you into confidence and spent most of the time sending links to near and dear. With all the hype, I received a mail from agloco stating that they are not able to manage the business and hence they are winding up. Aren’t you aware of that? You did not even tender an apology for killing so much of members’ time.

    How do you expect to win the confidence for any other program you refer? Coupons rightly said that most of us lose time and focus in internet stuff. Did you prove it by recruiting us to agloco?


  15. Eric Post author

    Just got back from vacation, and glad to read all the great comments, thanks!

    Murthy- in regards to Agloco… I was waiting to see how it panned out for awhile. Yes perhaps an apology is in order, although I certainly don’t think I lead anyone down the wrong path. There were a LOT of very well respected names in our industry and reputable mainstream bloggers such as John Chow who highly recommended the program. It seemed like a solid business plan and I was as shocked as anyone to see them screw it up.

  16. Ulla H & Social Marketing Directory


    It is disgusting to put videos up on you tube because it is so disgusting to receive all notification from Pay Pal. I wish I never had started this business now when there is so many opportunity to use this for free. But now it is too late when I have got the taste of it…

    Ulla H

  17. Pingback: The State of Twitter: Part 1 | Eric’s Tips

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