Communication Failures – Social Media isn’t the Culprit, Humans Are.

June 26, 2012

When I learned Latin in Junior High School, I was truly astonished at how a new language was being imparted. Mr. Nionakis was gifted in multiple languages AND in how to get students to understand them. It was an experience in communication that I’ve yet to duplicate.

Flash forward a billion years to 2012. People are using dozens of social tools (likely only three or four) to share status updates and thoughts with various audiences. These social tools function very well because they have been coded to do so. Where social tools fall down is the same place all humans fall down – in true communication.

Right now, I’m a finalist in a Magic Hat Brewing contest. To qualify, I had to write a quip that fits under the cap of Magic Hat’s product (beer) and then be selected by the team. To win the contest and a Magic Hat-branded iPhone, I need to get the most retweets of my quip on Twitter. My quip is the last one listed – “My thinking cap is a @magichat #underthecap”

Sound simple? On the face of it, this proposition is simple. In reality, it’s not. And it’s because of poor communication. I found out a little while ago, the only retweets that are being counted are the ones of my original tweet (on June 22) and these retweets have to be posted using the NEW Twitter retweet function.

Trouble is, the folks at Magic Hat have been unclear about this and only said that any RT that is posted using a Twitter client is qualified. So, I took that to mean any traditional or new RT that is posted via Twitter, Tweetdeck, Hootsuite or any other Twitter tool would work.

HERE’s a link to my original tweet on June 22

What Magic Hat SHOULD have said is that only retweets made using the new retweet function would be counted…as all the Twitter clients offer users the choice of doing a new retweet or a quote tweet. And for anyone who’s been on Twitter for more than four months, a quote tweet is the same as a retweet as it used to be the ONLY way to retweet a status update.

Is this the end of the world? Hardly. Is there a right way or wrong way to use social tools? I still contend there is not. Are people still horrible at communicating simple ideas? You betcha. Not sure if I’ll win the contest. Not sure if I care. But I am a bit miffed that I furthered the miscommunication of how to participate because the contest sponsor started the ball rolling by not knowing how to describe the functions of Twitter.

Some social media campaign this turned out to be. Although, Magic Hat has tweeted a grand total of only 4000+ times, so I should cut them some slack for not really knowing how Twitter works.

What do you think?

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