Posts Tagged ‘guy kawasaki interview’

Is Ghost Tweeting wrong? – An Interview with Guy Kawasaki

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

interview guy kawasaki

It’s not often you get to interview someone of Guy Kawasaki’s stature once, let alone twice! Guy was great enough to find the time to answer a few more questions between running and commanding an army of over 110,000 Twitter followers. I first interviewed Guy back in January but this time we get to hear his thoughts about the ‘ghost tweeting‘ issue and the numbers game on Twitter, while he also has a few questions for you entrepreneurs out there.

There has been a lot of talk since our last interview about ‘ghost tweeting’ and how you allow other people to contribute to your stream.  What is your take on this issue?

guy kawasaki twitter
I was surprised by the reaction of a few people. Essentially, my two primary ghosts were providing me leads that I turned into tweets: one was sending me suggestions that I always used and another was running Truemors which I had set up with Twitterfeed to go into my Twitter account anyway.

In the case of the former, I wanted to be more efficient and just let her post as me. In the case of the latter, she left Truemors, so I jumped at the opportunity to get her to help me. When this all occurred, I disclosed that I was using ghosts when many people asked me how I could be so prolific.

People should look at it this way: Who else cares so much about high-content tweets that he’s willing to pay people to find good stuff? Perhaps I’m a pioneer in taking Twitter this seriously–I’m like the first people who hired professional designers to create websites!

What are your thoughts on the obsession with getting more and more followers? People are clearly viewing Twitter as ‘quantity over quality’.  Perhaps it is the language used? Gaining followers (instead of gaining ‘friends’ with Facebook and MySpace of the past) has affected people’s egos and is warping this social community.

guy kawasaki twitter
You’re talking to the wrong Guy. I’m all about increasing the number of followers because I use Twitter as a marketing tool. The more people who follow me, the more effective Twitter is for me, so it’s a numbers game for me.

Admittedly, this approach isn’t for everyone, but what’s interesting are the self-appointed experts who “know” how people should use Twitter. Today, a person with seven followers who has tweeted four times even admonished me for my tweets with links. He told me that I was ruining Twitter. Holy kaw!

Twitter is pretty much mainstream now, how soon will the ‘web geeks’ and innovators abandon Twitter for the next new thing?

guy kawasaki twitter
I don’t know if they will, or can, abandon Twitter. I know that I cannot abandon Twitter for another service because my 110,000 followers won’t go with me. You could make the case that these folks “abandoned” their websites for blogs and their blogs for Twitter, but I haven’t seen the number of websites and blogs implode.

How will this then change the Twitter community left behind?

guy kawasaki twitter
If it happens, and it’s a big if, I don’t think it will matter. This is like saying twenty years ago, “What will the Internet be like if the Arpanet scientists don’t use it anymore?” Most Internet users don’t even know what Arpanet is.

What is your take on celebrities using Twitter?

guy kawasaki twitter
Twitter is a platform. The more the merrier. This is like asking, “What’s your take on celebrities using the Internet?” Or, “What’s your take on celebrities using cell phones?”

Do you think you will eventually get bored of Twitter and social media in general?

guy kawasaki twitter
Perhaps. For example, if I strike it rich, would I tweet as much? Nope. But then maybe I’ll change my tweets to the “my cat rolled over” genre, or I’ll hire myself out as a ghost tweeter just for grins.

In what ways are the businesses who hear ‘You have to be on twitter’ using it ineffectively?

guy kawasaki twitter
I don’t really know. Mostly I come across companies that use it well. Life is too short to look for incompetence.

Are there any businesses using Twitter in a creative and effective way that you have seen?

guy kawasaki twitter
Many companies are using it well: @Zappos for extending its brand, @Comcastcares for service, and @Amazondeals for promoting deals. I like these kinds of uses.

If the Internet is really killing print, how do you think The New York Times, for example, will make money in 10 years time? Surely advertisers will eventually realise that banner ads and interruption marketing isn’t the way to go?

guy kawasaki twitter
People need to differentiate between “print” and “journalism”. Print is in trouble because of the economics of killing trees, putting ink on paper, and physical distribution. However, I hear that the Village Voice is doing well in the ink business, so maybe the death of ink is exaggerated.

I hope that “journalism” doesn’t go away–by journalism I mean in-depth, researched, and thought-thru stuff like what the New York Times, NPR, BBS, and Washington Post do.

Twitter is great to find out about events like a plane landing on the Hudson, but it’s not great for investigative journalism. There is more to hardcore news than simply tweeting about something that you saw happen. And let us not forget: so far the New York Times has generated more revenue than Twitter.

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.

What are the most fascinating apps you are using right now?

guy kawasaki twitter
“Fascinating” apps? That’s a high bar. The really cool stuff is happening in iPhone apps. The desktop world is boring these days.

You have conducted countless interviews and surely get asked all the time ‘What advice would you give to entrepreneurs?’. Instead I want to know if there’s anything you would like to ask the world of entrepreneurs? Anything you are struggling with or can’t wrap your head around?

guy kawasaki twitter
This is an excellent question. Here’s a list of things I’d like to ask entrepreneurs:

1) Why do you think venture capitalists will sign non-disclosure agreements?

2) Why do you try to use sixty PowerPoint slides in a one-hour meeting?

3) Do you really believe that venture capitalists can add value to your company?

4) Why do every one of you think your business is “revolutionary”?

5) Why do you believe that the wireframes and prototype that you cobbled together is better architected than Amazon, Oracle, Microsoft, and Apple (pick any big company)?

6) Do you really believe beta sites when they tell you that they “love” your product?

7) How can you create a forecast that shows you will generate more sales in the first five years of operation than any other company in the history of man?

8 ) Why do you believe you and your co-founders are “proven entrepreneurs” when you’ve never been successful as an entrepreneur?

When was the last time you had an apricot?

guy kawasaki twitter
I have no idea. I do love apricots but not enough to remember when I last ate one. The next time I eat one, I’ll tweet about it.


Thanks Guy, I really appreciate you taking the time! Be sure and follow Guy on Twitter and check out Make sure and check out the AllTop Announcements Blog to keep updated with all the happenings over there also.

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Follow me on Twitter @paddydonnelly to find out first about future interviews and hear the daily ramblings of an Irishman in Belgium.

How Do You Twitter: Guy Kawasaki?

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

interview guy kawasaki

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

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 Guy! Again a fascinating insight into the mind of a great twitterer.  I would encourage everone to follow Guy on Twitter and check out, where there’s bound to be a page for whatever you are into.  Personally, my homepage is  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 :)