A letter to @jasoncalacanis about how I see/use Twitter

Last month, Jason Calacanis (entrepreneur, and most recently founder of Mahalo) wrote in his newsletter about how he was willing to pay twitter for exposure, and he then asked his readers three questions.  I chose then to reply to him and, after waiting a respectable amount of time, have chosen to repost segments of my response here.



First thank you for all your newsletters and emails that you share with the world.  As a business professor at Penn State, I find it refreshing and useful to see a business person not only being successful and touting their success, but sharing the inner-workings of their decision processes.  Certainly this most recent email with the Twitter/$500K explanation is great to show students how to actually conduct an analysis for a business decision.

I did want to answer your three questions, and then as for what amounts to a “favor” from you (to someone you don’t know.)

First, the questions:

1. Am I crazy, or crazy like fox?

Crazy?  Well I would say not–but if the choice is simply either/or, then crazy like a fox.  I actually believe you are far from crazy.  You have conducted a detailed analysis of the situation, evaluated what history has shown, and made a deliberate and informed decision.  All decisions have risk, but it appears you have worked to limit the risk (or at least understand it.)

2. What’s the value of a Twitter follower?

This one, honestly, is a “it depends on the follower.”  Of course, you have accounted for the “it depends” piece by eliminating group after group, and working down to just how many out of a million followers with be “valuable.”  I have found that followers, AND following, are quite valuable for the ways I use Twitter–and I use Twitter in different ways for different groups.  I use Twitter to connect with at least 3 (sometimes overlapping) groups.  First, there are the “supply chain” professionals actively engaged in my profession and field of study.  Then there are the educators, specifically those that are using technology to reach students.  Finally, there is the geo-specific group of folks here in Central PA, that I reach out and touch to stay connected with my community.  ed: (Of course there always exists that 3rd group–actual friends and family!)

Each has value, but in different ways.  Can I monetize this? Perhaps–but that’s not quite what I am about in a direct sense.  Although I would like to think that, as we all improve our skill sets, learning from one another, we all enhance our earnings, potential and kinetic (to steal from Physics).

3. What’s the value of of being one of “The Suggested?”

This is an interesting one.  I think being one of “The Suggested” is great in your type of area, where you are offering services that are of value to nearly the full range of Twitter users.  I suspect if I were to show up on the list, I would end up with a large number of followers with whom I have little in common, and that “twitter-stream” would cloud the engagement with the communities I have worked to develop.
This discussion is actually what I like most about Twitter–it allows us to develop our own communities, meeting nearly an infinite set of needs and desires truly providing a platform for community.  The communities are no longer bound by time, or space, and can grow organically as people connect with what is of interest to them.

The “Requests”

//**requests deleted–for I hope obvious reasons**//

Thanks for perhaps reading this far down–I realize your time is far more valuable than mine.

Best wishes.

While I haven’t heard back from Mr Calacanis I wanted to at least share these thoughts with you, my reader.