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How Do You Twitter: Guy Kawasaki?

interview guy kawasaki

Another Twitter interview with an Internet guru, this time with Guy Kawasaki, writer and co-founder of digital magazine rack AllTop.com.


How can you trust a big name brand on Twitter? You never know who is tweeting, it could be anyone from the CEO to an intern.

guy kawasaki twitter
Why does it matter who is doing the tweeting? Either the content is good or not good. I’d rather follow a smart intern tweeting for a CEO than an dumb CEO tweeting for himself or herself.  Twitter is great that way: Everybody, no matter who they are, gets 140 characters. Then you have to earn your followers and keep earning their allegiance with every tweet.


You co-founded AllTop, a fantastic online magazine.  Do you feel the Internet is really killing print?

guy kawasaki twitter
I hate to say this, but the Internet is killing print. If this wasn’t bad enough, now we’re in a recession. Still, I’d rather be a newspaper than a car company making SUVs. The thing to do is separate “print” from “journalism.” Let’s hope that the latter will prevail.


Will we still be tweeting in 5 years time?

guy kawasaki twitter
I hope that I’m not. Or at least that I’m just tweeting for the sheer pleasure of it–about stuff like my cat rolling over and the line at Starbucks.


When people ask you ‘Where were you when Obama was elected?’, will your answer be ‘On Twitter’?

guy kawasaki twitter
Yeah, except that doesn’t really say much because I’m always on Twitter. I was tweeting my usual links to cool stuff on election night and several people criticized me for tweeting on such a “special day.”  I voted for Obama, and I am very hopeful about what he can do, but right now, people are judging Bush’s results against Obama’s intentions. The work is only beginning. Every day starting Tuesday is a special day.


Does AllTop benefit a lot from Twitter?

guy kawasaki twitter
This is like asking if Hawaii benefits from the surf or Aspen from the snow. Twitter is making Alltop. The Twitter community suggests topics, suggests feeds for the topics, and then spreads the word about Alltop. Alltop wouldn’t be nearly what it is without Twitter.


Did you find out about US Airways Flight 1549 crashing into the Hudson on Twitter or on the news?

guy kawasaki twitter
I found out via a CNN email alert, but I love the fact that just about wherever news happens these days, someone on Twitter is reporting on it.


Should every business be using social media tools in some form in 2009?

guy kawasaki twitter
“Every” is a strong word, but most businesses with a significant online presence should use social media tools. For example, I don’t think that your corner Shell service station needs to be on Twitter even if the Shell station has a web site to provide its location and hours.


Are we losing our ‘real life’ social skills because of the increase in social media tools?

guy kawasaki twitter
I could make the case either way. In one sense, if you’re glued to a monitor and never get out, then your real-life social skills will decline. However, email and social media tools enable me to connect with thousands of people. I could not do this with only face-to-face meetings.  I can tweet that I am going to be in many cities in the world and organize a tweetup. I’ve done this in Istanbul, Moscow, Mumbai, and Honolulu so far. In this sense, social media is increase social skills–to the degree that a tweetup is social.


What are your thoughts on the power of the ‘Retweet’?

guy kawasaki twitter
Do you know the old saying, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”? Now the operative saying is, “Retweeting is the sincerest form of flattery.” Using various techniques, one can gain followers, but it’s much harder to game retweeting because people either like what you tweet and spread it or they don’t. Here is the place for checking retweeting.

I’m sure people will figure out a way to game retweeting too but until they do, there is no better measure of the quality of a person’s tweets than retweeting. This is especially true if you believe that the number of followers doesn’t necessarily increase the number of retweets. You would think that the more followers you have, the more retweets you’ll get, but I don’t think that’s true.


You have almost 50,000 followers on Twitter, what an achievement!  How did you get up there?

guy kawasaki twitter
One fascinating tweet at a time. :-)


How do you tweet so much? It seems like you tweet 24/7.

guy kawasaki twitter
This is the most common question that I face. I have several things going on.

First, I use a Twitterfeed from the Alltop announcements blog, but this is only one per day or so. These tweets only announce the availability of new Alltop topics.

Second, I have a Twitterfeed from Truemors. Any story that is posted at Truemors is tweeted because I have such confidence in Annie Colbert, the editor of Truemors. She always puts out interesting, well-written stuff. This accounts for ten to fifteen tweets per day.

Third, there are two people who tweet on my behalf. One, @amoxcalli, is a grandmother in LA who has an exquisite eye for the interesting and controversial. She adds about five tweets per day. The other is @billmeade. He is the best beta tester of books that I have ever met. I wish he would do more, but he does about one tweet every two days or so.

Fourth, the rest is me. I scour the web looking for interesting stuff. I use email newsletters as well as StumbleUpon. However, the bulk of what I find is through Alltop–specifically, mostpopular.alltop, psychology.alltop, science.alltop, marketing.alltop, and neuroscience.alltop. This accounts for another fifteen or twenty tweets per day. Basically, when I’m on a computer, I’m tweeting.


Why do you tweet so much through all these methods?

guy kawasaki twitter
Two reasons. First, I enjoy pointing people to interesting and cool stuff. Second, I tweet so much to earn the privilege of promoting Alltop to my followers. To be interesting to them, my tweets answer the question, “What is interesting?” not “What are you doing?” I’m like PBS: if it didn’t have such great content, no one would tolerate its fund-raising telethons.

Thus, Twitter is not a “social toy” for me–it’s a marketing weapon. There is no a better way that I know of to instantly and cheaply reach tens of thousands of people. If you believe Twinfluence, I can reach 19,000,000 people–though that number is way high because it counts the same people over and over.


If you could only follow one person’s updates, who would it be and why?

guy kawasaki twitter
Yours if you will follow me back.

Thanks!

Thanks Guy! Again a fascinating insight into the mind of a great twitterer.  I would encourage everone to follow Guy on Twitter and check out AllTop.com, where there’s bound to be a page for whatever you are into.  Personally, my homepage is WebDesign.alltop.com.  Make sure and check out the AllTop Announcements Blog to keep updated with this brilliant service.

Oh, and you can also follow me on Twitter @paddydonnelly :)

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