I remember when I first set up my twitter account in March 2007 just after the company turned one and was all the rage at SXSW. I don’t mind saying how nervous I felt.
At the time, Twitter seemed like the great big unknown to me. And while I was fascinated, I didn’t understand how it worked and got too hung up on the literal idea of followers. Why would anyone want to follow me when I hadn’t said anything? I came to the conclusion it was both dumb and a mess.
My first tweet wasn’t until August 31, 2008 – I’d lived an introvert’s life on Twitter for nearly 18 months. Because while I had a curious fascination with the platform and social media, I wasn’t prepared to adjust my outlook on communication. I knew how the world was supposed to work. And frankly, I was happy with the status quo.
Recently, Twitter started ch-ch-changing and felt a tweetstorm of anger from many social media types who loved the platform and simply didn’t want their experience to be altered. You can follow the angst under the hashtag #RIPTwitter that, of course, trended on Twitter.
Doesn’t that sound a lot like the reaction people had to social media in the early days?
Sure Twitter’s gone through its share of mini-makeovers: the human-curated Moments that summarizes big stories of the day; showing more feed to non-signed in users, video ad formats like First View; and the upcoming increase the characters from 140 to 10,000.
Of course, the biggest shift is its new algorithmic news feed that breaks up the reverse chronological flow when you log in. It offers a mini recap of things you wouldn’t otherwise see. Hit refresh and it goes back to the regularly scheduled stream.
Personally, I like it because it helps me catch up with things I’m interested in that I would have otherwise missed.
I also get that we want to hang on to what we know. But we forget that digital is a disruptive technology not only to legacy media, but also to itself.
So how can we get a little perspective before flying off the Twitter nostalgia handle?
Accept the inevitability of change. There was a time when issuing a press release was the answer to virtually any PR question. Not anymore. Change happens. It’s not going to stop. So, follow a rule of improv by going with the flow and enjoying the ride.
Learn and apply. That means getting into a perpetual student mindset, hopefully without all the loans. Be curious. Test things. Stumble. Having to find a new way to work may feel frustrating, but it can lead to wonderful aha moments and we’ll never be bored.
Know your head is in a permanent tail spin. That means you wake up every day with the realization that there is no, ‘I’ve got things under control’ anymore. We’re always going to be one step behind. That’s okay. Just go back to number two and learn a few new tricks.
Is all change good? Of course not. But, instead of being dismissive, let’s embrace fresh thinking in the hope that it makes us smarter, sharper and less smug.
#RIPTwitter? #NotYetIDon’tThink. #CommentsThoughts??
A version of this post was originally published in Marketing Magazine.