It’s O.K. to Never Tweet

Dick Costolo gives us all permission to NOT tweet.

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo

In a recent New York Times interview with technology writer Farhad Manjoo, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo made what was considered to be a controversial statement.

I meet people who say, “Oh, I don’t tweet.” I think there’s still a misconception that the reason they’d sign up is to tweet. When I meet them, I tell them, “No, you don’t have to.” [emphasis mine]

As somebody who is an active blogger, I like to stay active professionally on Twitter, LinkedIn and even Facebook. But I talk to many business intelligence professionals who either don’t have a Twitter account or have one but seldom use it. I usually hear objections to Twitter like “I don’t have the time” or “I don’t have anything to say”. But read how Twitter’s own CEO describes Twitter. From the same interview, Dick Costolo says:

Everyone wants to know and stay up-to-date on what’s happening in their world and be connected and know what’s going on. That’s what Twitter provides. So I think that irrespective of whether you want to tweet, everyone can get value out of Twitter right away.

Twitter is like a 24-hour news channel where you get to pick the news. You don’t have to be a CNN anchor head, a revolutionary in Egypt, or a mommy blogger to appreciate the news ticker scrolling at the bottom of the screen. Think of how many times you’ve read a news ticker while watching TV at the airport, at the gym on a treadmill, or watching sports while munching wings at Buffalo Wild Wings. Twitter is currently the fastest way to get news about SAP analytics. Or any topic, for that matter.

Nearly Everybody is on Twitter

Your favorite analytics expert is probably on Twitter.

Your favorite musician is probably on Twitter.

Your favorite book author is probably on Twitter.

Your favorite restaurant is probably on Twitter.


Your favorite sports figure is probably on Twitter.

Even Ashton Kutcher and Kim Kardashian are on Twitter.

But back to analytics. Twitter is currently the fastest way to get news about SAP analytics. From news that a new support pack of SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1 has dropped, a new must-read blog post has been published, or the date and location of a new conference has been announced, it’s all happening first on Twitter.

Getting the Most Out of Twitter, for non-Tweeters

Here are five additional suggestions, if you follow my first suggestion to sign up for Twitter.

Find a Twitter Client that Suits your Style

There are many apps for Twitter besides the official Twitter app. And most mobile apps and even desktop operating systems like Apple’s Mac OS X allow you to receive notifications from social media channels. So you can stay in-the-know wherever you are. Be sure to find a Twitter client (I prefer Hootsuite) that makes it easy to follow #hashtags, because you should…

Follow #Conversations, not People

It’s OK to follow people via their Twitter account. I currently follow 905 accounts. But the chatter can get a bit noisy. It’s more efficient to follow conversations via their #hashtags. Every day, I’m watching conversations about the SAP BI platform #BI4/#BI41, celebrity BI tools (#SAPLumira, #SAPDesignStudio, #SAPHANA), and conferences (#SABOUC, #BI2015, #HANA2015, #SAPPHIRENOW).

Keep an eye on your vendors

You should definitely follow the Twitter accounts of software companies whose products you use everyday. Keep in mind that a large company like SAP will have multiple Twitter accounts, some of which will be more valuable than their main feed. For example, following @SAPAnalytics is probably more useful to a BI professional than following SAP. Follow the major database vendors that you use, like Oracle or Teradata. It’s a great way to learn that critical patches have been released. And it never hurts to keep an eye on the BI landscape by following Tableau, Qlik, or analysts like Gartner and Forrester.

Identify Yourself

You may not tweet often or ever, but take a few moments to write a short biography about yourself. And replace that silly egg picture with a selfie, ideally the same photo you use on other professional social media outlets like LinkedIn. I’m grateful that there’s not too many Dallas Marks’ in the world (but there is more than one- see here). But if lots of other Twitter users have a similar name to yours, the photo and biography will help others know that they’ve found the right “you”. Be sure to include your Twitter handle on your LinkedIn profile.

Consider Retweeting

Even if you never compose an original tweet, you should periodically re-tweet messages that you personally find useful. It’s not only helpful feedback to the original tweeter, but you may find yourself attracting your own following by other like-minded people on Twitter who don’t like to tweet. And that’s not a bad thing.

Do you love or hate Twitter? Has it made you a better business intelligence professional? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Author: Dallas Marks

I am a business intelligence architect, author, and trainer. I help organizations harness the power of analytics, primarily with SAP BusinessObjects products. An active blogger, SAP Mentor and co-author of the SAP Press book SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence: The Comprehensive Guide, I prefer piano keyboards over computer keyboards when not blogging or tweeting about business intelligence.

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