I Didn’t Leave Twitter, Twitter Left Me
I was on Twitter before Twitter was cool. At one point, I amassed more than 30,000 followers on the platform, since joining in 2008. In the early days of Twitter, between 2006 and 2009, it was a ton of fun. It was a raucous playground for free speech and sharing ideas. The community was fairly small with less than a million users in 2008. It was an interesting collection of journalists, marketers, politicos, web geeks, and other miscreants. It was fascinating and fun and perfectly designed for someone with undiagnosed ADD. A tweet was short and sweet. At only 140 characters, it forced me to write pithy quotes and creative one-liners.
Long before President 45 became a Twitter enthusiast and later Twitter’s Enemy No. 1, I was also mixing it up with critics and getting into Twitter fights with trolls. It was fun and I enjoyed the banter, but I never took any of it too seriously. In the spring of 2009, the Richmond Ad Club named me Ad Person of The Year. It was a great honor and at the Richmond Show, the screen behind me showed a live Twitter feed where I was roasted in real-time by friends and colleagues.
A month later, Twitter went mainstream. In my mind, it never recovered. Oprah Winfrey sat on a couch with Twitter co-founder JackDorsey and posted her first tweet on April 17, 2009. Typing in all caps, she yelled at the Twitterverse, “HI TWITTERS . THANK YOU FOR A WARM WELCOME. FEELING REALLY 21st CENTURY .”
It was like she was screaming “You get a Twitter!” and “You get a Twitter!” and “Everyone gets a Twitter!” And they did. In 24 hours, Twitter gained 1.2 million users. TechCrunch estimates that between five and ten million new users followed Oprah to Twitter. Through the years, I found myself using Twitter less and less. I continued to recommend the platform to clients, mainly because of search engine optimization benefits, but we never were able to use Twitter as an effective advertising medium for most clients. Yes, it’s still valuable for organic social media, but its ad platform still falls flat.
The site lost a million U.S. daily users in 2020. And in 2021, it lost me. I was on Twitter for 13 years. I hadn’t posted on the platform since May of 2021 and found out two months later in July that my account had been hijacked by a nefarious penny stock picker named @YatesInvesvting. In the last four months, I have sent a dozen requests to Twitter and not a single response. My follower count fell to 23,000 and the hacker that stole my account spams my friends and colleagues 30 to 40 times a day. Ten years ago, executives at Twitter called and emailed me to ask my questions about my experiences on Twitter and get my opinion of the platform. Today, I cannot get a response from Twitter’s customer service robots. Free speech is stifled. Twitter has been taken over by robots and spammers and hackers. Everyone just posts “content.” Conversations have turned into arguments. It was a grand experiment, but I can’t help thinking that Twitter will eventually become an internet relic like Friendster or MySpace. Agree or disagree? Email and let me know your thoughts.
Impressed with the Press
On Monday, we had our kickoff meeting with our newest cMonday, I started recapping all of the press Green Top got for their Hunting & Fishing Expo last weekend thanks to our Communications Director Kent Brockwell. More than 28,000 outdoor sports enthusiasts attended the event and enjoyed the weekend of wonderful weather. Check out some of the coverage — WRIC, The Jeff Katz Show, and WWBT 12 News.
The Right Direction
Speaking of good press, our client COMPASS Entertainment Complex was recently featured in the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions magazine Funworld. COMPASS celebrated its first-anniversary last month, a real testament to their hard work and a great idea. The entertainment center opened its doors during a global pandemic. Congratulations Terri Wesselman and Julien Patterson on a successful year — and here’s to many, many more.
Read Between the Lines
TSr. Graphic Designer Erin Rebmann’s daughter Averly is participating in a Read-A-Thon for her preschool La Petite Academy. Averly prefers to read graphic design-inspired books, and is currently flipping her way through Logo Life by Ron Van Der Vlugt. “Start them young,” as Erin would say. Show your support today and donate in honor of Averly — every little bit helps to get these kids a new playground.
The Day of Derek and Allison
To celebrate Madison+Main’s Sweet Sixteenth birthday, I took the Madison+Main-iacs to the State Fair of Virginia, a tradition we started in 2008. It was a fun half-day of rides, giant pumpkins, turkey legs, racing pigs, scary looking birds, and funnel cake. The day was a huge success and we had a great time celebrating sixteen years of success. Check out this photo of us from 2008 compared to 2021. Molly and Marita look exactly the same, but I have a lot more grey hair.
Who Needs Clark Kent When You Have Brockwell
This Friday, we celebrate Communications Director Kent Brockwell’s birthday. Just like his well-maintained beard, this guy grows on you. Kent took the day off to drink PBR and eat Sugar Shack donuts by the dozen. Kent and I are off to Las Vegas in a couple of weeks for a conference. I have a feeling we’ll celebrate there.
Have ya heard? My two diners in legendary Lynchburg will be celebrating our 86th birthday! Next Monday, October 11, join me at the Texas Inn for 86-cent hotdogs and birthday celebrations at both our locations. I’ll be there all day and if Joey Chestnut received his multiple invites, he might be there too. The event kickstarts an 86-day food drive to benefit the local Blue Ridge Area Food Bank so when you come, bring some canned goods.
A FEW OF OUR FAVORITE EVENTS
Texas Inn’s 86th Birthday
October 11, 2021
To celebrate, we’re rolling back the price of our hot dogs to 86-cents — from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.! Limit to six per person. Come celebrate our 86th anniversary and the opportunity to give back to the Blue Ridge Food Bank at both locations of the T Room — Downtown & Cornerstone.
Perkinson Center for the Arts & Education Performances
New Performances Weekly!
Check out a plethora of performances at Chesterfield’s Premier Center for the Arts & Education — including a new gallery show! Tickets can be bought online.
Got an upcoming event you want to share? Can we come? Send us the deets!
“It’s always too soon to quit.“ — Norman Vincent Peale