One Way to Do Twitter Wrong

Some people don’t get it.

Last night, before going to bed, I took a moment to check Twitter notifications. I found two tweets from someone I didn’t know who had mentioned me without actually tweeting to me.

I’m not going to embed them here because I don’t see any reason to give this idiot any additional attention. But he’s a perfect example of someone trying to use Twitter to move markets — when he only has 49 followers.

Here’s the first one:

Idiot Tweet

He was referring to a blog post I wrote years ago about Groupon. I think he’s trying to say, in his semi-literate way, that if I advertised on Groupon, I could fill otherwise empty seats on my aircraft with Groupon customers. Apparently, he thinks these people will appear just when I need them and be willing to sit around and wait until I do.

Of course, his theory doesn’t apply to my business because I only fly by appointment and I don’t have seats that are not paid for. So why would I be willing to discount flights by 75% — which is basically what Groupon requires* — thus taking a deep loss on every Groupon deal flight? That was the point of my blog post.

He then replied to that post to add this:

Idiot tweet 2

Not very bright? Well, at least I can string a sentence together, buddy.

My response was simple: “Fuck off.” I then responded to the first tweet by thanking him for the link and following it up with a simple “LOL.”

And that’s when I discovered just how dim this guy is.

He responded:

Idiot Tweet 4

Not personal? He said I wasn’t very bright. That isn’t personal? And does he honestly think being a Twitter user with 49 followers gives him any clout? Enough clout to get me to delete a 6-year old blog post with dozens of comments?

I responded “Is there something about “fuck off” that you don’t understand?” (Yes, I know. I can be a real bitch. But if you had any idea of the kind of trolling I’ve dealt with over the past few months on Twitter, you’d understand why I now have zero patience for idiots on Twitter.)

But it was his response to my tweet thanking him for the link that proved how really dim he is:

Idiot Tweet 3

He didn’t realize that by including a link to my blog post, he was actually sharing it in his Twitter stream. Giving it more exposure. Best of all, he’d done it with a #GRPN tag, increasing the exposure beyond his 49 followers. Anyone looking for the #GRPN tag — people actually interested in Groupon — could potentially see it.

And bash him? Why would I want to do that? If I wanted to bash him, I could do it here by simply embedding his tweets without redacting his identity. But I’m not. Instead, I’m ridiculing him while keeping his identity anonymous. Truth is, I feel sorry for him. He’s so amazingly clueless.

So, to sum up, this clown unwittingly shares my blog post about Groupon with a #GRPN stock tag, says I’m not very bright, and then offers to delete his tweet if I delete the post.

I went to his profile to take a look. It was full of Groupon company and stock related tweets. They guy is an investor — that’s clear. For some reason, he thinks he can use Twitter to influence the price of Groupon stock or get more people to sign on for their “deals.” He’s big on tags like #ecommerce, #investing, #socialmediamarketing, #stocktips, and, of course, #groupon. He could be a bot, but even bots aren’t that dumb.

So I blocked him. He’s still probably trying to figure that out.


* Do the math: Groupon wants a 50% discount “deal” and then keeps 50% of the discounted price. That leaves me with a total of 25% of the original price.

14 thoughts on “One Way to Do Twitter Wrong

    • For those who can’t Google the translation, I get: “With the stupidity Gods themselves fight in vain.”

      Forest Gump said it better: “Stupid is as stupid does.” Or did he say “You can’t fix stupid”?

  1. It’d be one thing if you had a scheduled service where you flew regardless of how many seats were full, but as an on-demand operator it’s a whole different story. I suspect in any case that many “groupon” discounts are along the same lines as the perpetual “half-off” sales, half off a markup of 100%.

    • It could work great for an outfit like Papillon at the Grand Canyon, which flies 11 helicopters all day long and often has one or two empty seats on a ship. If they break even on 50% capacity (3 out of 6 passenger seats), putting another 2 or 3 people on board at 75% off (their take) wouldn’t hurt. Not financially, anyway. But what happens when everyone realizes that if they just go on Groupon they can get their seat for 50% off? And then more passengers show up with Groupons than without them? Ouch.

      My 2011 post about Groupon covers all of this in a lot of detail. I re-read it after this Twitter exchange and it’s actually quite detailed and one of the best analyses I’ve ever written. I think that’s why “not very bright” really pissed me off. I make a solid argument against Groupon that it would be nearly impossible to poke holes in. There are exceptions to everything but, in general, I think Groupon and its ilk do more harm than good in today’s economy.

  2. Schiller is fine, but I think Wittgenstein nails it with his final proposition:

    “Wovon man nicht sprechen kann daruser mus man
    Schweigen.”

    • ‘About which one cannot speak, thereof, one must remain silent’

      Ludwig Wittgenstein, 1921, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.

      That was his final thought in the Tractatus. It had a huge influence on western philosophy of language for fifty years. His ‘Blue Book’ thinking was less astringent.

      My point was simple. When dealing with a twit, such as
      groupon guy, the best response is silence. Any other response will encourage a meaningless dialogue with no beneficial outcome.

    • I usually ignore the trolls, but this guy wasn’t really a troll. He’s just plain stupid. Sometimes I need to call someone out on their stupidity. This is one of those times. Was it a waste of time? Probably. But it did give me something to rant about in my blog. And, better yet, it got me to re-read the post written by someone who was “not very bright.” It’s actually a fine example of my work and I’m glad he reminded me about it.

    • Well, if it did all of those things it must be good.

      My only worry about Twitter is that its 140 character rule artificially amplifies the chances of misunderstandings.
      Full explications are impossible and evidence-free assertion rules. Which might explain why Trump loves it, and has so many enthusiastic followers.

    • I tend to look at the sunny side of things a lot lately. That plus low expectations keeps me happy. ;-)

      There’s a trend now on Twitter to do what’s called “threads.” You basically string together a bunch of tweets by replying to them. Some people completely abuse this feature by stringing together dozens of tweets to make a lengthy dissertation. I occasionally string 2-3 tweets to make a longer than 140-character point.

      Don’t be fooled: Trump likes it because it gets him the attention he craves without having to have his words filtered by a press secretary or anyone else. But it’s made him a target for ridicule on Twitter. Some of the things he tweets are outrageous and really show off how clueless and out of his depth he is.

    • It really isn’t a rule as much as it was an early limitation. Twitter, which has been around since 2006, was designed primarily as a SMS-based system. Back in those days, SMS messages were limited to 160 characters. To accommodate Twitter user names, they limited the actual tweet to 140 characters.

      Obviously, text messaging and Twitter have evolved over time. Very few Twitter users still access via SMS; instead, they mostly use apps on their smart phones, tablets, or computers.

      Twitter’s management has floated the idea of allowing longer messages but Twitter users — including me! — consistently oppose it. I LIKE the idea of short communication. I think that if you have a lot to say and can’t say it in a tweet or two, you should have a blog or use a service like Medium and fully develop what you want to say. I go to Twitter for short commentary, links to interesting articles, and the occasional photo. To me, it’s a great way to check in with friends and people whose opinion I respect without losing a whole day wading through a lot of text. And I absolutely LOVE the time-based format where I can see ALL of the tweets by the people I follow in the order in which they were posted. That’s something you can’t find on Facebook, which too many of my real world friends really seem to prefer.

      I used to say that because I work at home alone, Twitter is like my “water cooler”: the place I go when I need a social break from my work. The short format communication is perfect for this.

      As you’ve probably figured out by now, I’m VERY fond of Twitter. The way I see it, you either “get it” or you don’t. I get it and have been using it for more than 10 years now. Most people don’t. The guy I blogged about here is a good example.

    • Thanks for that full explanation. I had no idea about the origin of Twitter and the reason for the character limit.
      I also ‘get’ your comment about Twitter being your ‘water cooler’ moment.
      I once contributed to the BBC message boards and found them superb but they were actively moderated to keep them polite and informative. Alas, the cost of that moderation lead to the demise of those threads which were controversial, such as Middle East history, politics and Islam.

      My remaining concern about Twitter is that one can never be sure whether one is interacting with a real person or an algorithm-based ‘tweetbot’. These definitely exist. They mimic inter-correlated opinion clusters and attempt to copy a real person’s actual values. These are dangerous as they have huge potential to skew and manipulate social and political attitudes. I find that Orwellian.

      Twitter exists to make money for its shareholders via advertising revenue. The thought that my attitudes might be being manipulated by robotic re-tweets is very worrying.

    • Moderation is VITAL with any forum. The comments here are moderated by a spam checker, blacklist feature, and me (in that order). I don’t allow abuse. I think that makes this a much more pleasant place to share comments and get a conversation going.

      The tweetbots are a huge issue lately. I don’t even bother interacting with someone who has an opposing view but can’t express it with a minimum amount of respect. I’ve blocked hundreds of Twitter accounts — mostly in the past year — and I’ve found that it makes Twitter a lot more enjoyable. Simply said: I don’t let trolls (or trollbots) get under my skin.

      Understand that Twitter (the company) is not the source of tweetbots. So it really isn’t fair to connect advertising revenue with bots trying to get you to see a different point of view. All ads on Twitter are clearly identified as such. And if an ad is abusive or offensive, you can report it to Twitter and they’ll act. Really. You can also report offensive accounts, but they have to be pretty bad to get removed.

What do you think?