Thursday, July 23, 2009

Build Brand Equity on Twitter: Same Crap as Real Estate Market

So we are all pretty familiar with the housing crisis. Yeah, nobody saw it coming. Then everyone was the smartest guy/gal in the room because they totally saw it coming. With the benefit of hindsight people recognized that the same antecedents that led to the dot-bomb were evident in the roof collapsing on the housing market. Now I want to be the “smartest guy in the room” and make the connection between the real estate market and Twitter. That’s right, people, I said it. Don’t believe me? Check out these four levels of comparison.

Moving into more house than you need…but I’ll grow into it.
Some marketing genius told you that Twitter is this cool new neighborhood. The price is right and the opportunity is huge. It may seem overwhelming at first, but you’ll get used to it. Like that new house with a bigger yard and way too much square footage to be useful, Twitter is appealing because the price per square foot is great. Why not go all out? Who cares if you don’t know how to care for the bigger house? Who cares if it is stretching your resources to maintain it (I thought Twitter was free).

You were convinced that the market was right for the move, not because you were ready for the move, but everyone else was upgrading to this cool new neighborhood so you should too.

Do you even qualify?
When the real estate market started taking off, all of these tools entered the market to make sure people could qualify for the home of their dreams. Remember? Interest only, ARM, Stated income, 80 first + 20 second, Zero down. People laughed if you actually bought a home with a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. Hell, people couldn’t qualify based on credit worthiness, so the market changed the credit vehicles.

Twitter is facilitating the creation of tools in the marketplace that allow
brand to be managed with very little money down. Let’s automate everything. People are not Web 2.0 or Twitter worthy, but let’s get them a tool so they can at least get in the game.

Then the market will change and the rates will adjust. The truth will be exposed and those who should have not been in the space will be ousted.

Sure you got in during “phase I” but, my how the neighborhood has changed.
I have noticed that freaks are all over Twitter. It’s like a nice neighborhood that goes to shit because the wrong element infiltrates. This sounds harsh, but when the wrong mix in a neighborhood exists, the sense of “community” is compromised. As with my last point, making tools available so every dumbass can explore the Twitterverse is very annoying. I’ve signed in a number of times to my Twitter account, looked around, and said to myself, “Well, there goes the neighborhood.”

In the housing market’s hay day, people from all walks of life were moving into neighborhoods with little regard to cultural or value alignment. People/brands are also doing this on Twitter. When a negative element infiltrates, the founders/early adopters of the neighborhood begins to change its behavior. Heck, sometimes they leave and subsequently change the original dynamic that made the neighborhood attractive in the first place.

Building equity the wrong way.
The housing market gave people a false sense of worth—financial and social. If a person earned $50k per year in salary and was able to (easily) pull $20k out of their house each year to fund a new pool, vacation, boat, car, etc., then they were living as if they made $70k per year. When the ATM (their home’s equity) dried up, they were left is a situation of having a $70k lifestyle on a $50k budget. What to do? What to do? They did not build equity by paying down the principle (hell, they probably financed 125% of the purchase price just to get things started). They built equity by relying on automation. The equity in the housing market was automated. Don’t believe me? How else can you move into a house, make no improvements, pay nothing toward the principle, and actually generate equity? Automation.

Twitter is now doing the same thing. Maybe not Twitter itself, but the Twitter real estate market. Followers can be automatically added because of weak similarities. Toys R Us started following me the other day because I mentioned the store in a single tweet. Really? I will probably not mention them again…will they unfollow me? Probably not. Twitter equity is being fabricated by adding followers and following others. But where is the real value.

I am not an alarmist, but I do see Twitter becoming less effective. Can it do more? Yes. But that was the pitch to move into a bigger house. Some of you who made the move probably looked around the new digs and said, “We can host family holiday dinners here,” or “Look at this backyard. We won’t have to take anymore vacations,” or “This is the last house we will ever need…it’s perfect.” Then the bottom fell out. Beware…Twitter is getting shaky.


  1. I disagree cause you don't have to follow Toys R Us back. You can un-follow the people bringing down your property value. You are the only one that can see what your yard and house looks like, unless people specifically come to look at your house. At that point, twitter win because your network has made a circle.

    However, your point is valid as is a valid concern. I have purchased and use no twitter tools. I drink my twitter neat. I think others do as well.

    One more thing, you can also block people. Either way, I'm not offended by you asserting that twitter is doomed. If it is, it has failed to change with the times. At that point, something else replaces it.

    Just my take

  2. I think you are reaching a bit but nevertheless... in regards to your summation.
    In real estate, equity is the difference between what a property is worth and what the owner owes against it. What the house is worth is not what a lender, appraiser, or real estate agent tells you it is. It is what a buyer pays for it. In relation to twitter... anybody who believes 'twitter equity' is based on how many followers they have is simply going to be the next foreclosure.

    Personally I feel wealthy in twitter. Why? I engage. I go out of my way to meet the people I follow. I don't care who follows me, but what I do care about are those people I follow.
    cheers! @Fresyes