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Are you a backseat tweeter? Diagnose yourself in 3 easy steps

During last Thursday’s wildly popular #smmeasure chat [1], I was astonished at the flurry of activity and volume of tweets, and amazed that hosts and participants managed to keep up with the frenetic pace for the full hour.  Amidst the onslaught of RTs, =)’s, comments and questions, I realized there was actually a conversation going on during this Twitter chat:  Folks posed questions and got answers; they shared opinion and insight, and they talked about best practice and trends.  Dare I say it…folks were E-N-G-A-G-E-D!

There’s no question that the number of folks joining the ranks is increasing at a dramatic pace, and that Twitter’s growth and stickiness as a communications channel [2] continue.  But there are many folks without an account or Twitter handle. And though they are fascinated by the medium and the people within it, they continue to sit on the sidelines and avoid direct interaction.  Sometimes, they even ask people to tweet FOR them, or tell others how and what to tweet.  These are the “backseat tweeters.” Like backseat drivers, they enjoy giving instructions and directions but don’t actually do the driving, instead preferring to enjoy the ride from the comfort of the passengers’ seat.

Are you a backseat tweeter?  Take this simple test and find out for sure:

Question #1:  Are you a Twitter voyeur? Do you treat TweetDeck, Seesmic or Twitter Search like a TV; a one-way communication vehicle?  Are you watching what folks are doing and saying, but not actually engaging them directly?  Do you think about RTs and DMs, but lurk in the shadows and not actually do anything about it?  Does it just seem easier to look through the window and gaze at the landscape without actually gripping the steering wheel and dropping the hammer?  If you answered “yes” to these questions, you, my friend, are a backseat tweeter.

Question #2:  Are you addicted to “tweetables”? Tweetables are what the backseat tweeter thinks to be perfectly suited for a tweet; little golden nuggets of information that are just *perfect* to share with the Twitter masses, so long as they don’t actually do that sharing themselves.  Tweetables are frequently passed along via email, with a possible suggestion like: “Oh, hi, this is a PERFECT thing to tweet.  Just sayin’ it’s SO interesting!”   Tweetables are only sent to legitimate drivers (those with Twitter accounts).  If you are guilty of any of these offences, you are a backseat tweeter.

Question #3:  Have you ever used a paper tweet? Okay, okay — I’m kidding with this one, but it was too good not to include.   (And if you HAVE used one of these, there is no hope for you, I’m afraid.)

paper tweet [3]

I hope this simple self-examination shed some light on your Twitter behavior, and perhaps your social media activity in general.  The great thing about Twitter, and other social media channels, is that they are like a great conversation:  There’s always room for more great, intelligent and witty input.   What’s more, it’s never too late to get yourself into the driver’s seat — our Social Media Fitness Program [4] (SM 10X30) has all the instructions you need.

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