Saturday, 27 June 2009

I was wrong about kindness on Twitter.

I have been byyanto on Twitter for a few weeks or so and its has been an interesting ride to say the least. I was excited by the numbers of people that suddenly wanted to follow me. I agonised over what to tweet, wondering if it was entertaining or profound enough. In fact I got to about 360 followers before I came to the conclusion that in the case of many of my community I was really tweeting at them and not to them. It was also the same the other way around in that I was not really interested in tweets promising me business models and more followers. It was clear that I had no connection with a part of my supposed audience and I likewise with them. One night in a state of disappointment that people really weren't that interested in what I had to say, I purged my followers list.

I then received my act of kindness and that got me thinking that even marketeers and business gurus might have something worthwhile to contribute to an exploration of kindness. I therefore started following everyone who followed me and accepted the automatically generated DM which some follows generated with good humour.

I sat and read most of the tweets that I was presented with over a couple of days and realised that over 90% of tweets were again related to business and gaining followers which got me thinking. I had tweeted on several occasions asking for examples of kindness but had received only a single reply. That coupled with the usual content of the tweets I was receiving made me assume that kindness was not a topic that was entertained on Twitter.

In an epiphany moment I decided to do an anecdotal test using Hootsuite. I would send out a number of tweets proclaiming better business and more followers by following a link and also a similar number offering stories of kindness again following a link. I assumed from my experiences that the former would gain a greater click through rate than kindness.

I was very wrong. My business related tweets only generated 35% of the total number of click throughs I received. The ones offering examples of kindness were far more popular than I imagined. I assumed that I would get a similar split as the types of tweets I had been presented with but I was so very wrong.

Could it be that amongst all the deal propositioning that goes on that people are drawn to random unusual acts of kindness?

Although my study is by no means scientific it gives me the conviction that it is worthwhile collecting examples of the kindness we can give and receive. My faith in people is growing by the day and whilst Twitter seems to be a good forum for business, it is also the home of a whole lot more.

I do wonder therefore, why do I not get more examples from tweeters to post on this site?


  1. I dont know the answer to your question, but there are some kind people on twitter. Here's my post about a random act of kindness that happened earlier this month and brightened my day:

  2. ps. should have said, have only just come across you on twitter and here.... and am now a follower on both :)