A few weeks ago, I had occasion to pass through Manhattan, and as I observed a passionate Times Square Dude (TSD) standing on an upside-down egg crate, screaming into a multicolored bullhorn, I could not help but notice the striking similarities between this spectacle and using Twitter.
Is the connection not immediately clear? Don’t worry, my wife had a hard time with this one as well (and she thinks she “knows Twitter”). Allow me to connect the dots:
Content is King
After getting past the spectacle of a TSD on an egg crate, I listened to him and learned that he was irked about the plight of homelessness. While unorthodox in his communication style, his message was clear. Not once did he veer away from the theme of his rant. Soon, people begin to gather around; some out of interest, but most out of sheer curiosity.
Takeaway: Have something to say, say it clearly, and stay focused. People interested in hearing your message will begin to flock to you. Continue to provide interesting, informative, or entertaining content, and your following will grow naturally.
About four minutes into his dissertation, TSD pulled out a folder stuffed with fliers, and began to hand them out to the crowd. When he made his way to me, I accepted his offering and saw that it was a photocopy of a New York Times article on the growing homeless population in Manhattan. This corroborated his point of view and earned him some serious cred.
Takeaway: Support your tweets with credible sources. Link to relevant articles that echo your position. Provide your audience with an opportunity to learn more about your message.
A master of persuasive communication, the TSD impressed me by applying the principle of exponential messaging in his presentation. As he began to conclude his speech, he beseeched his audience to carry on his cry of injustice, and spread the word. He recognized the powerlessness of his own lone voice and, in effect, was asking for his audience to “re-bullhorn” (RB?) him and continue to share his message.
Takeaway: Recognize that it’s not enough to reach only your followers with your message. To be recognized as a thought leader, it is essential for others to re-broadcast your words to their own followers. Post compelling content that is positive, catchy, and irresistibly retweetable.
After the presentation, I pulled out my phone to tweet a photo of the TSD as he stepped off his crate. I posted it with the message, “Thanks for the education #TimesSquareDude!” I wish the man had a follow button, as I would have surely pressed it.