Experiments in Social Media Number 2, Part 2: Conversations with Power


Earlier this month I shared with you about an experiment that I wanted to do on ‘conversations with power’ via Twitter. The idea came about partly as somewhat of a celebration of the fact that, with Twitter, communication barrier between so-called power players and the majority (us ordinary mortals) appears to have been broken down. There is the possibility to engage with anyone you want to – and people you may never really have had the opportunity to reach before.  Pretty hypothetical  but I figured it was worth a look.

The challenge:

In a broad sense, I wanted to flex the biceps of Twitter.

The method:

With the help of some very helpful tweeps we curated a hit list as long as your arm, with the likes of Lily Allen and Richard Branson (and yes, Nick Clegg) making an appearance. And then I took it to the tweets.

The Process:

I thought I’d build my confidence starting slow, ticking two of my list on the first day. First I asked @BillBailey to tell us a joke. No response. At first we gave him the benefit of the doubt because apparently he was on tour and was perhaps in different time zones. So I scheduled a retweet to reach him where he was. I even told him a joke first, hoping he would reciprocate. Still no response.

Maybe I wasn’t funny enough.

Then I asked @jamie_oliver what he was having for lunch. Three times. I saw you tweeting, Jamie, don’t pretend you didn’t hear me.

Needless to say the experiment wasn’t off to a good start.

Throughout the experiment I asked @richardbranson about business and even complemented his mother.

I suggested @lilyroseallen try @mooli’s to satisfy her cravings. I also replied to her comment about that #meatdress and said she could totally pull it off.

I asked @dianebirch where she gets her hats from (which I still really want to know, and if she says they’re ‘vintage’ I’ll cry).

I checked in with @kanyewest to see how he was doing since his meltdown on Twitter.

I shared a really cool link with @tyrabanks. Bitch.

I asked Mark Watson why the chicken crossed the road and @Nick_Clegg if his favourite colour really was orange. Yes, Nick Clegg.

Eventually I openly approached ‘celebrities’ asking them to ‘help me with my experiment’… in their own language!

I figured the hashtag #pleasetalktomeimnotmad might of come into play in moments of desperation. Not sure if it worked…

The Result:

Well, I wouldn’t call the experiment a failure, but then again, some of the best lessons are usually learned from failure. Basically, no-one (from the list) really talked to me.

So what lessons can we take away from this experiment? Well in the words of existential psychologist, Rollo May:

“Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing.”

While the celebs didn’t respond to my plea for attention – something even better happened. It was my existing friends and followers (my Tweeps) that got behind me.

I had Tweeple, some I had never met in person, taking the time to suggest celebrities which celeb would be interesting or more likely to respond. Most of the time I had no idea who they were talking about (I’m not from here, Toto), but we gave it a shot. In some situations this required guest Twitterer @AntDLewis to create some relevant content…

It was so much fun to see people getting involved, retweeting my messages and sharing what I was doing (big thanks to @PinkTipi).

And those translated messages – they were in Welsh! Translated by the very beautiful and very talented Lucy Payne aka @rubylup, who I met (through Twitter) in the flesh that same afternoon.

It was this that was incredibly encouraging.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is, as a business, remember to not forget those in your immediate network because they are potentially your best ambassadors waiting to be involved in what you’ve got going on, and to be engaged with. Thank you, real people. I will not forget you. In fact, we’ll probably chat very soon.

By Jill Ruthenberg

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7 Responses to “Experiments in Social Media Number 2, Part 2: Conversations with Power”

  1. Great blog post and fab experiment. Thanks for the mention too, I sooo wanted someone to respond to you. Really like the way it tuned out though. The power of twitter really is the network of people you build around yourself and interact with.

    Sill there be more experiments? (I am so impatient I know)

    Tweet soon

    Robyn aka @PinkTipi 🙂

    • Thank you Robyn!

      I must say I was a bit disappointed at first – I was especially looking forward to Bill Bailey’s joke. But then, like you say (and I couldn’t have said it better myself!), it’s about the people around you! A good lesson learned and easy to forget sometimes!

      More experiments are on the way, for sure. The next one will be on Twitter rationing and *cough* your patience… it won’t be for another couple of weeks yet! 🙂

      Have a great week! See you on the tweets

      Jill x

      PS I’m still secretly hoping someone will respond. I’ll keep at it.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Red Cube Marketing, Ann Holman, Jill Ruthenberg, Jill Ruthenberg, Jill Ruthenberg and others. Jill Ruthenberg said: Wise words 🙂 "The power of twitter really is the network of people you build around yourself & interact with"-@PinkTipi http://ow.ly/2GHJl […]

  3. Hmmm, I think you would have gotten much more of a response if you had asked them something sensible or intelligent. I dread to think how many times comics get asked to “tell me a joke” or Jamie O gets asked what he had for lunch!

    Talk politely to celebs, listen to what they are saying and respond to them in exactly the same way as you are asking them to listen to you. I have had some lovely responses from Stephen Fry and many other celebs as well as follow on engagements with people that follow both the celeb and myself on the same topics.

  4. I love the experiment! – I’m all for celebs being on twitter – it’s a public forum, they can do what they like, and say what they like – but they have to remember that some people really do want to ask questions, and engage with them in a way they couldn’t otherwise (in a non-stalky way, that is). Public figures have, well – `expectations` to fulfil, if they are going to take the time to be on twitter.

    I would have suggested Tim Lovejoy, David (Bumble) Lloyd, Jason Manford, Lee Boardman, Dom Joy (to an extent), Claudia Winkleman, as `celebs` who do communicate pretty well on Twitter – but the point derived from the experiment is that our real idols are the people who take the time listen, comment, and join in what you do. They hold celeb status, eh?

    Love it. Looking forward to more experiments from Wisdom World!

    Steve

    • So true what you say about the fact that there are expectations to fulfil if they are going to take the time to be on Twitter. It’s always nice to have your expectations exceeded!
      Thanks Steve!

  5. Some celebrities don’t really get it. Some just talk to other celebrities.

    That said, I probably won’t talk to you either.

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