140 Insights From Twitter (In 140 Characters Or Less)

I haven’t written many posts about Twitter here because everyone else seems to be covering that beat just fine.  But I’m going to join in the buzz today.

Instead of writing up tips for using Twitter (there are entire blogs devoted purely to that), I thought it might more compelling to share some personal insights from using the network.

And to make it interesting, everything is 140 characters or less:

1.  Good news travels fast.

2.  Bad news travels even faster.

3.  We are addicted to what’s new – not just news, but in each other’s lives.

4.  There are a lot of meta discussions on every single social platform on the Internet, and Twitter is no exception.

5.  We’re teaching everyone to get creative with linking.

6.  Popularity is not trust.

7.  Limiting yourself is a challenge in and of itself.

8.  Sharing our lives is a natural.

9.  The mundane, aggregated, can actually be interesting.

10.  You can get to know people 140 characters at a time.

11.  Everything is important to someone.

12.  People are equally cliquey online as they are offline.

13.  Simplicity spawns creativity.

14.  People are willing to share intimate thoughts with thousands of others they don’t know, and everyone is okay with that.

15.  Sociology and psychology students/professors must be having a great time studying all of us.

16.  …while at the same time, we also all study each other.

17.  Many people are confused by something as simple as 140 characters.

18.  There are more marketers than you think, and many don’t even realize they are marketers.

19.  Tweetups are the new LAN parties (some of you remember those).

20.  Some people keep score by numbers, but numbers are irrelevant.

21.  FriendFeed And Twitter Have *Not* Killed Blogging

22.  Smart newspapers, blogs and other media benefit from Twitter, which is actually the ultimate link blog.

23.  Twitter by itself is not social proofing.

24.  Needles in the haystack are found, and felt by more people than you think.

25.  Trends are fascinating.

26.  Conferences will never be the same again.

27.  People love to read snack-sized content, but it is still just an appetizer.

28.  Emoticons never go out of style.

29.  Between following just 800 people’s thoughts globally, there is always someone sharing ideas…24/7.

30.  We’re infinitely inquisitive.

31.  Simple and/or seemingly obvious ideas can change the world.

32.  Everyone gets frustrated at the airport.

33.  Listening is still far more valuable than talking.

34.  Cowboy hats are back in style.

35.  If you post a negative comment about someone, you can guarantee they’ll read it.

36.  Clever, fun and random memes will grow and spread in all areas of the web, large or small.

37.  Valuable relationships have nothing to do with platforms and can be built anywhere.

38.  Twitter is Metcalfe’s law in full effect.

39.  Communications professionals not trying out Twitter put themselves at a severe disadvantage by not testing ideas in the ultimate petri dish.

40.  Twitter makes other web apps seem stable by comparison.

41.  For many, AIM is a dead technology which logically should have become Twitter…but screen names live on.

42.  Twitter users prolifically produce content because 140 characters is easy – writing deeper content is still the valuable skill.

43.  Age is not a factor in adopting new communications tools.

44.  Mainstream media should stop writing the same stories on Twitter and consider covering other apps as well – FriendFeed could use more love.

45.  We’re willing to deal with imperfections if something is useful or interesting enough.

46.  Minimalism is a trend in music, art and communications as a natural response to the onslaught of excess.

47.  There is always value in connecting people in unique, useful ways.

48.  We love to turn nouns into verbs.

49.  Twitter has become the place people throw ideas they don’t know what else to do with.

50.  Reading things through RSS is not killed by Twitter or any microblogging services, it is a far too useful tool in and of itself.

51.  I find Twitter’s most powerful and interesting use for me is as a link blog – but that’s the neat thing, it can be anything you want it to.

52.  Social science experiments are fun, you should start one of your own.

53.  It’s fashionable to hate on Twitter – but in reality it is neutral and can be either useful or a waste of time, depending on how you use it.

54.  Number 53 is exactly 140 characters – all the Twitter addicts just eyeballed it and wondered if it was too long.

55.  What spreads on Twitter is more art than science.

56.  …and is actually far more democratic than what spreads on sites like Digg.

57.  Good marketing ideas and content always transcends social communications platforms.

58.  A few companies are so responsive they’re setting the bar high for the rest of brands, and those brands probably don’t realize it (yet).

59.  The digital divide is both growing and shrinking, depending on who you ask.

60.  Some people feel overwhelmed, some empowered by the ability to ping thousands of others simultaneously.

61.  Creating a clever parody video, comic, or article about Twitter users today will probably to be a hit.  But it’s bound to become overdone.

62.  If you’re ever giving a presentation and want to know if people are engaged or bored, scan the audience for people Tweeting vs. listening.

63.  140 characters is often more than necessary.

64.  The argument of blogs vs. Twitter is pointless, they’re different tools with different uses and actually complement each other.

65.  You don’t need to ask people to Tweet your blog posts, they’ll do it naturally if they are interesting.

66.  It’s not about you, it’s about your network.

67.  Twitter is the perfect place for your clever Haikus.

68.  People are getting hired and fired 140 characters at a time.

69.  The world was missing a cartoon whale being lifted by birds, we just didn’t know it until we had it.

70.  You can’t fit entire blog posts into Twitter, but you can bring Tweets into your blog.

70 – 140…

I know what you’re thinking – that’s only 70, the title promised 140.  

This is where I need your help…

While I could write up another 70 insights, what would be even more interesting is hearing your thoughts and sharing them with readers here.

Here’s all you need to do: write an insight on Twitter tagged to @AdamSinger with one thing you’ve learned using the network – about marketing, about communications, about life, about anything.

That’s it (simple, right?).

I will compile the first 70 responses as the second half of this in their own post (and credit you for your work, of course).


  • Top 10 most creative responses will have their Twitter bios and pictures included with their Tweet.

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments.  I’d love be able to get 70 responses, but even if I don’t receive that many I will still aggregate what you write to connect everyone that participates.

This post will be updated to let you know when all responses have been receieved – so until then, submit away.

Update – view the insights from the community.

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