The Great Twitter Experiment of 2014

Remember when Twitter was fun?


I joined Twitter in the first half of 2008 and quickly started enjoying meaningful conversations with people from all over the world. It was energizing. It was exciting. And it was unlike any other way to communicate.

As relationships formed in real ways over 140 characters, savvy marketers and business people began to see the opportunity of this new world. Quickly, my Twitter stream filled up with promotional links and nonsense. Worse yet, my direct messages were beginning to fill up with spam links and random requests. The original conversational culture was becoming a “what can you do for me” community.

I backed off in many ways. It was too crowded, too noisy, too market-y. I pushed my own stuff. I started to promote more. And I missed the old days. I missed finding interesting people just by random conversation.

A few of us “old timers” would lament at conferences how we missed it.

None of us were sure what to do about it.

Maybe this was the natural evolution of things. Maybe Twitter was a billboard more than a coffee house. Oh, sure, we could stay connected a little bit through well-run Twitter chats like #blogchat with Mack Collier and #cxo with Natasha Bishop. But those are limited to an hour a week when you may or may not be available.

Twitter’s new embassy

And then author Tom Martin (The Invisible Sale) came up with a brilliant idea to share with the world. And I’m really excited about the possibility of it.

Tom’s idea is a place where ALL DAY LONG we discuss a topic. It’s called #daychat, and Tom wants it to be an embassy on Twitter. And there are rules, which Tom outlines here. Spammers and professional Twitter nuisances will hate these rules. Anyone who truly wants to connect will be thrilled.

They include, but aren’t limited to, the following:

  • No hashtag abuse. It’s not about using the hashtag to promote your stuff.

  • No links. This is a really challenging rule. But anyone who has seen a hashtag abused by an over-aggressive promoter gets it.

  • No retweeting tweets. Yes, it’s a difficult one, but the goal is to keep the hashtag easy to follow and clean.

Each day, a topic will be posted around 8am Central time. Then all day long, the hashtag #daychat will serve as a guide. It’s a safe place to have real conversations. It’s spam free. And it’s what Twitter used to be all about.

I’m excited to see where Tom goes with this, and plan on hopping in and out of some great conversations along the way. If you’d like to join, check out Tom’s original post about #daychat and then set up your own search. I look forward to chatting with you there!

Image Credit: Rosaura Ochoa via Creative Commons

Jeannie Walters is the Chief Customer Experience Investigator™and founder of 360Connext, a global customer experience consulting firm. As the mom of two young sons, you can find her at tee-ball games or stepping on Legos. Tweet her at @jeanniecw.