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The 5 Most Important Skills Twitter Teaches Us


Picture this: one day, a company comes out of nowhere to introduce a service that renders Twitter obsolete. Overnight, all of those hours you spent cranking out tweets are useless. Or are they?

Let’s face it: Twitter is not so much about our follower counts, retweets, or mentions. Those are just numbers. Here’s the real deal: Twitter prepares us for the future by teaching us valuable, real-world skills.

So even if Twitter dies tomorrow, here are the five most important skills we can learn from it.

1. Networking

Twitter is simply a tool we use to nuture our social and professional networks. Effective networking involves keeping track of what your colleagues are doing. That includes industry figures, friends, clients, and fans. Furthermore, we keep our networks fresh by staying engaged with people.

2. Engagement

Suddenly, social networking isn’t just about connecting. Now, it’s about engaging. Basically, real engagement just means we talk with our fans rather than at them. Now we’re treating followers like real people! Artists are speaking directly to fans instead of issuing a blanket press release written by someone outside of the band. Musicians are using this skill to resolve problems, show appreciation for kindness, and display interest in others’ personal lives.

3. Communicating Succinctly

Believe it or not, communicating succinctly is an incredibly valuable skill. After all, college journalism classes devote much time and energy to the art of the headline.

Twitter’s 140 character limit forces users to communicate efficiently. Concise communication helps people understand what you want. It lets them know exactly what you’re asking them to do.

4. Seeking Out Best Practices

There are thousands of articles that advise us on the best Twitter practices. Absord them. Implement them regularly. Before you know it, you’re conditioned to seek out the best practices in other areas of your business.

5. Adaption To Change

Forces outside of our control can change the whole playing field in an instant. Look no further than your own Twitter feed. New trends and opinions are constantly flowing in and out the landscape.

It’s not just important to take notice of these changes. The deeper skill is recognizing which changes apply to you, and how adapt your business accordingly.

It seems unlikely now, but the forces of change can bury Twitter alongside MySpace and Google Buzz. Depending on your perspective, that’s the wonderful thing about change. It doesn’t discriminate, and it can happen in an instant.

So going forward, take the larger lessons of Twitter and apply them to your music career.

Wes Davenport is the publicist for Nashville electro-rock band Vinyl Thief. He writes about ways modern artists can thrive at his blog. Follow him on Twitter @wesdavenport for more music industry insights.

Reader Comments (8)

I like the immediacy of Twitter- I've adapted to finding and using info that's pertinent to me, and I've learned to quickly disregard the fluff. It's also great for reinforcing/refining the work I do within my niche. Nice article, good observations - thanks Wes & MTT! ~Tom Hitt~

January 24 | Unregistered CommenterTom Hitt

Wes! Awesome post! I just figured out the cool secret for bands to use Twitter. And it's exactly what you said. No blanket tweets on your shows or whatever you think is so cool about your band. It's about talking to other people!

Media heavily uses Twitter. And the cool thing I learned that I've used with success with my own band is joining a conversation without self promotion. Bands really want to get featured on blogs and radio, and Twitter is the best way to get there!

Bands just need to not spam the gatekeepers! I get spam on my Twitter and Facebook from my music marketing stuff, and it sucks! Just be genuine and contribute to the conversation that others have started. That's the way to go.

It works. I have local bloggers wanting to go to my band's shows. Simply from retweeting them and replying in a genuine, non-promotional way. Super powerful!

Thanks, Wes! You rock!

Great article! I already found myself using Twitter Strategies outside of Twitter.

January 24 | Unregistered CommenterDJ Ron

I thought the limit was 140.....?

January 24 | Unregistered CommenterTodd

Tom: That's a great mindset to use. It's always helpful to look at the underlying principles of these strategies and see if they can apply elsewhere. Thanks for the kind words!

Seth: Everything you said is spot on. If anyone has this stuff down, it's you! People appreciate it when you can give instead of asking for something. I think everyone has something to offer others. It can be anything from a unique perspective to a technical skill.

DJ Ron: Thanks Ron! Hopefully those Twitter strategies have been serving you well elsewhere. I'd love to hear more about your experiences with that. Post a comment or shoot me an email at

Todd: You're right, the character limit is 140. It's a typo I caught after it was too late to correct the article. Sorry about the inaccuracy! And thanks for catching that!

January 24 | Registered CommenterWes Davenport

There's always something to be gained from noting the success of others. When it comes to Twitter, you hit the nail on the head here, Wes! You looked past "the fluff", as Tim mentioned above, and really brought out some insight that isn't too obvious at first glance. I also like how you followed your own advice and kept your points succinct - perfect for reaching out to today's audience.

January 24 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Tucker

Yikes... the limit is 140. Do your research!

January 25 | Unregistered CommenterSam Hanson

Sorry for the typo, Sam! I was pretty mortified when I caught it.

February 1 | Registered CommenterWes Davenport

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