Dear Yves,

So you are on Twitter. Good. It’s reassuring to see that the Prime minister of this gorgeous little Belgian country is up to date and up to speed with modern technology. Not that I would have doubted that you, as an avid user of Blackberry, would miss any opportunity to stay informed, connected and on top.

And you have tweeted close to a hundred times by now, to the delight of your almost 2000 followers (not too shabby by the way, for a rookie :-)). It puts you ahead of @svengatz (just under 500 followers) and in pursuit of Minister Q (@VincentVQ more than 3000 followers).

In your latest post, you apologize that you’re still learning Twitter. You should. Contrary to some of your tweeting political friends you’re still mostly in broadcast mode. Sharing what you are doing, thinking, and doodling is fine. But it will not get you a lot of brownie points. It’s meant for “conversation”, you see?

So start following some interesting people (you follow nine now, which is not at all in balance with your followers ratio), interact with more people (I know you tried a couple of times), and get a conversation going.

Heck, this is wild suggestion, I know: but follow some national and international politicians, journalists, and web communicators. Look how they are using Twitter, and you can interact with them.

Dear Yves, do not make the mistake to use Twitter as a broadband broadcast tool. You have your newspapers, blog, website and co to do that. You’re a busy man, I realize that. But take the time to use Twitter to dialogue with people who care about you, this country, politics and life in general. You’ll see, it will give a complete different feeling at the end of your endless workday…

All the best, let me know if I can help…

@dannydevriendt

4 thoughts on “Dear Yves,

  1. Interesting, but all depends on how you define… for me social is (possible) interaction. Do I have interaction with ALL of my 17000 followers?
    No. But I pay them the courtesy of @ least following them back and listening to their conversation.
    How do you want to trigger any aspect of “social” media when your listening mode is de-activated? How are you going to be able to assess the medium correctly if you’re not using it to it’s fullest possibilities?
    For the moment, Yves Leterme follows 9 (nine) people. That’s not enough to take Twitter as a medium seriously.
    trust me, I’m consultant 😉

  2. Hi Danny,

    Good move to flag this up with mr Leterme.

    But I don’t totally agree with you.

    It would be great if Yves did get involved all the way, but as my fellow RAAKonteur Wessel van Rensburg wrote in his blogpost ‘Conversations don’t scale’:

    “Social media is full of misconceptions, confusion and unexamined clichés. That social media is about conversations is one of these. ”

    (Full post at http://www.wewillraakyou.com/2010/02/conversations-dont-scale/)

    Of course, ‘conversation’ is one potential use of Social Media, but it’s not the only one.

    Following people is totally no guarantee for a conversation. For example: do you really have meaningful ‘conversations’ with all of your 17000
    followers?

    I agree, Twitter is a great listening tool, but Yves doesn’t need to follow people to do that. People could tweet him directly.
    And you’re right in this: he would miss an amazing opportunity if he then didn’t get involved in those conversations.
    Has to be said: he seems to be doing ok so far. Quite a few replies already.

    But I think we’ve come to a point that you could very well argue that Twitter does have a function as a broadcast medium.

    Quite a lot of the people I follow are on my radar because they give me interesting information. I don’t need to have a conversation with them for it to be useful.

    So yeah, here to help.

  3. Right on Danny! I’m as convinced as you are that using Twitter differently, would completely transform Mr. Leterme’s experience.

    The word “follow” “followers” is probably the most misleading word spread around defining Twitter as a communication tool. And maybe this is the reason why it is, unfortunately, still, too often used in a one way, broadcast mode.

    I’d rather say : “People who care about what YOU might want to say or share” “How much do YOU care, the other way around?”. IMHO, this is exactly where the word “CARE” pops out, making Twitter a unique, rich and rewarding “human” experience.

    This said, when it comes to learning, being open and jumping in is already a fantastic start.

    All the best & here to help if I can too.

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