Sunday, May 15, 2011

Twits n Tweets

Last week I scheduled a one on one tutoring session on my new camera. Blowfish and Mermaid gave me this awesome piece of equipment.  As a joke, or an oversight, the manual is in Spanish. I was okay with that for the first few chapters, and the areas with enough pictographs for me to follow. Once I  turned the page on the  technical stuff  on shutter priorities and metering I was in trouble.


On the way to the lesson in nearby Big City, while stopped in traffic,  I observed a sign in a dry cleaners window.  It said:

Help wanted!
Twittery people do not apply!

My pocket sized point and shoot camera wasn't in my purse.  The new Nikon was in the cargo bay tucked into it's compartmented bag with the lenses.  The distance was too far for the  phone camera.  There wasn't time to stop, get the camera, take some pics and get to the lesson on time. Too bad. I think I would have enjoyed interviewing the employer as no doubt there is a good story behind that sign. 

I take that back! There is not a "good" story behind that sign. There is tragedy.  Probably we all have experienced our fair share of  irritation with those who are hired to provide "customer service" but cannot  be interrupted to perform these responsibilities because they are too busy tweeting/texting. I have been chastised by a  teen sales twit for interrupting her obviously personal phone use by asking if she would soon be available to answer a question about a product.  No doubt she had to tweet all her friends about how awful it is they expect her to actually do something to receive a paycheck. It does NOT count as an awesome accomplishment to just show up.


The camera tutorial  was informative.  Not too overwhelming. Maybe.


After the lesson, since I was in  Big City, I went by the largest regional mall to check on a few things. Sometimes clients ask me about the quality of products  at various retailers so when possible I take a look. On the way to Pottery Barn I was approached by a charming young man who informed me my skin was in tragic need of nourishment from dead sea salts which were right over here at his kiosk. Hard to believe I turned this down right? He was undaunted saying,
"I see you keep your nails natural, I can make them healthier". I am sure he could but as I was side stepping and he was refusing to take "no" for an answer his phone barked which made him abruptly turn and walk the opposite direction gesticulating with  abandon and bellowing in his undecipherable native tongue.  For once I was glad personal issues trumped the professional. I did wonder  though, if he would have taken the call   had  I succumbed to  his pitch for a public sea salted massage?


As always, when I walk into a Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, Anthropologie , West Elm or Crate and Barrel, I had that gut squeezing clutch. I CAN damn well imagine what I would do in a store of that size with that endless budget. I will never have the budget. Maybe I should just succumb to the lust and apply to be the "visual designer" for others.


That too is getting phased out. Did you know Restoration Hardware is closing stores? Their E Business is up so there is less need for physical locations. They are spending investment dollars in state of the art automated logistics, not real estate.  They also have a great program for buying designer rooms. Just  scroll through the collection,   pick a room you like, send them dimensions and they will ship it all to you. Rug, art, furniture, lamps, window treatments, accessories. Sort of a high end RTG.
If you see a room you love but you spouse is away, not to worry, you can  tweet the entire package with a single click. If you are a developer in need of a furnished model just contact their commercial division, they'll ship and install.
Just pick you rooms off the website.

Later I was in a department store when I heard one staff member say to another , " Ready? We've got about 90 seconds." I looked around  but everything appeared normal to me.  Had I known what was coming I would have used the 90 seconds to flee! Ignorance is not bliss in all circumstances. What happened was the store had just tweeted  members of their "juniors club" a one hour special on a particular brand of jeans. In seconds I was in a screaming teen mob scene of hellish nightmares. First I cursed the proximity of the shoe department to the teen department . Next I stopped to observe the frenzy and thought, " I need to find a way for this to work in the design industry. I would be richer than Tweet"!


I puzzled on that on my way home.


So I'm asking you bloggers  this question
" Do you sign up to get tweets?"
Say I was  at a market and encountered an awesome company which will turn a photo of your dog into rocking dog art? Or a dog from your past? They do custom as well as  inventory the popular breeds.  Suppose I tweeted this and took pictures and orders for the rockers? Would you do this?








 
Or, say I was traveling in Charleston and encountered an artist who weaves exceptional seagrass baskets. If I tweeted  a  one hour window for orders to be placed, would you do this? Do you do this? How do you choose with whom to do this?




Is this THE way? 

If Chickory is at the Farmer's Market and she has the  e-mail addresses for  persons who  bought apples locally could she tweet them with: I will be here for three hours; 8 paintings, great veggies and amazing flowers available til noon! 
Could Moi and Aunty send out a tweet offering a special on 5000 words? 
Can Boxer clear her warehouse with a  single tweet?

Would  enough come for Chickory to return home with an empty truck?
Can this work for micro businesses as well as big retailers? Is this possible without harassing everyone you ever met or will meet?  Would you find this rational if you did not know the person or recognize a business name?


It might be I need a sign which reads:
" Twittery people apply  here."

21 comments:

moi said...

I don't Tweet but I can see the value of it as you describe it, but only as you describe it. Not, "Just had an awesome bacon burger at Sonic and now I'm going home to take nap with my Woobie." Yug.

Also, I've met the dude who carves those doggie rocking chairs (actually, I think he calls them carousel art pieces). He and his wife run the awesome pit bull advocacy group, Bad Rap, in San Fran. They're beautiful, beautiful things. http://www.timracer.com/

fishy said...

Moi,
they are beautiful works of art! And yes, he does carousel animals as well as rockers.

On the Tweets....ugh for sure about the drivel people feel compelled to tweet. I cannot fathom why anyone reads those. I do get how businesses, having a slow day, could generate traffic by sending out an unadvertised special .... dog grooming half off today between 1pm and 3pm.

Or how about this ... Tim Racer Ivan rocker 25% OFF if ordered today.

fishy said...

Moi,
Just to be clear, I do not know Tim Racer. I plucked his images off the web to illustrate this post.

chickory said...

wow fish. I am going to do this. what a cool idea. Ive always resisted twitter, cause, well, the root word is twit.

but i see how it can work for my gray truck folk art empire. I'll get a twitter account and get people to sign up at the farmers market or put it on my webiste...and then twit the art i will have for saturdays. or send pictures of the farmers market as a whole. its important too..cause if i have snap peas...they gotta be bought that day.


how would you apply this in your business?

fishy said...

Chickory,
I'm still laughing at the root word "twit". A valid reason for avoidance.

As for how this concept would work for my business? Still working on that but I like to travel so I am looking for a way to combine the two. I am open to suggestions :-)

You should have seen that teen mob. Certainly every teen in the mall or in that store came quickly because of the one hour immediacy.
That works for you too since the Market is once weekly and for just a few hours.

Buzz Kill said...

I don't use twitter (and don't know how to) just like I don't use facebook. Its not interesting to me. But, like Moi, I can see the value in it if you are in the retail (or flash mob) buisness. Virtual impulse buying. I wonder if you can buy directly through twitter or if you have to actually show up in person? I hope we get to see your camera lessons put to good use.

fishy said...

Buzz,
I do not have facebook or twitter accounts. I did go to a seminar about these last year and came away thinking it's a lot of effort to spin air. Also, I've had the opinion the facebook/twitter crowd were far younger than my typical client base so I could not really see a valid application for my business. Now I need to rethink.

This camera has a serious learning curve. I might post some pics soon.

Intuitive Eggplant said...

I don’t use twitter because I fear getting sucked into yet another form of web distraction. But I do use facebook and know that some people link their twitter and facebook posts. Those quick-time updates are almost essential for certain kinds of businesses – like my beloved food trucks, which move from day to day or hour to hour (lucky for me, I can get that info on fb). You may be right that twitter is popular with a younger crowd, although I think it is becoming increasingly pervasive. Do you use facebook for your business? Heck, even my mom uses facebook, and it’s easy to set up a fan page people can “like.” As I learn about small businesses, farmers markets and other organizations in my area, I’ve “liked” a lot of them and as I learn more about what they do and what they offer (not strictly in a one-hour window), I’m a lot more likely to seek them out and become a customer. It’s also a great way for small businesses to keep reminding potential customers who they are, even if they don’t have time-sensitive specials to offer, and on fb. P.S. to Chickory, if you set up a twitter account, I hope you’ll link it to a fb page for your “gray truck folk art empire,” ‘cause I wanna see all them pictures.

Boxer said...

I'm already over stimulated by texting, emails, voicemail, facebook and blogging. I need tweeting like I need a hole in my head. Still, I have a good friend who loves it. If I were in a different business I guess I would look into it. But for now... one less password/etc. to remember.

Pam said...

Fishy, what a great post. First off, what camera did you get? I'm always interested that kind of stuff. Second, I'm not a tweeter. Kymmie does it some. I did create an account so I could see what all the fuss was about, but mostly can't be bothered. FB is another story. I can breeze in there, check on family and friends, breeze out; breeze back in again. Mindless entertainment. BUT, always with the thought in mind that you must be careful what you post, especially in my work world. I stay in touch with family much better with FB since I am not one to pick up a telephone of an evening.

Anyway, another online (photo) friend believes FB to be the best free advertising you can get anywhere. You definitely SHOULD create a profile for the business if nothing else. FB is word-of-mouth on speed (or is it crack these days?) I can see the marketing value of tweeting as used how you described. I know all the politicians where I am have FB and I have known some who actually PAY someone ELSE to twitter for them. It is required stuff these days.

At any rate, either program is free ... if you don't like it later, delete delete!

Aunty Belle said...

Oh mah gracious--a teen tide in a jean store? Mercy.

I cain't say nuthin' about Twitter, cause, well, me an Twitties ain't likely to inhabit the same airspace.

Reckon that bidness folks might justify it as a marketin' ploy--I can see it workin' fer certain applications--but like Boxer, dear saints in heaven, it's one more thang to worry wif'.

fishy said...

Eggy,
I have avoided the facebook page for my business( and me) because most of my clients are referrals. There is much irritation in having to check and respond to e-mails or comments from those who would never secure the services of a designer. They are usually either seeking praise or free advice and they inhale time at an alarming rate.

I DO now see the value for a business like the food trucks and for Chickory's grey truck folk art empire. it is interesting you have stated you WOULD want to be twittered from these sorts of artisan businesses.

Boxer,
Precisely why I have avoided this marketing tool to date! I think they IRRITATE a large segment of society.

Pam,
a NIKON D80 :-) ;-) :-)
Which camera do you favor? Did you figure out the 18% grayscale so a photo of a wedding dress comes out white, not gray, and the grooms suit is black not gray?

Blowfish and Mermaid both do facebook so I get extended family updates through them. I just have seriously resisted putting that much of ME in accessible airspace.

See answer to Eggy about why I have avoided FB/T to date. Also, did you read your comment? This is now a "must" in some categories, very time consuming requiring the hiring of others to just maintain? I am so not interested in having my life/time/funds hijacked.

Aunty,
Looks like the majority of our blogging group can claim non-twit status. The 90 second experience made me seriously pause and rethink. I am NOT interested in just another come and hire me now promo for my business. I need a filter from the kooks and predators.

I might be interested in being sort of a roving designer at large. Say I am traveling thru the countryside and come across a classic 50's turquoise metal glider in great condition. I have no clients needing this item but I know they are in hot demand in California and Miami for lots more money than AuntBee is asking. Could/would I tweet the pictures to a data base of antiques dealers or designers?

Honest to God last time I was searching for a turned mahogany plant stand I found two in cities about 50 miles apart. Nearly identical. The first was in an antique store/estate sales left overs business for $185. The other was in an antiques/ garage sale left overs store for $15. There was a lesson in this too. Sometimes I think I just need a warehouse to stash the finds until I find a buyer!

Aunty Belle said...

Idea:

Stash goodies in a warehouse. Have a "Fishy's Fabulous Finds" four times per year. Make it an invitation to "Designers Only" an' the wannabes will stomp each other to death to git an invite.

Pam said...

OOOOH, I absolutely LOVE AUntie's idea. LOVE it. ANd I want an invite. I haven't played with the D80 but any of them are just amazing and fun. THe grayscale ... yes and no. Yes, I learned it once upon a time and I have ignored it since.

fishy said...

Aunty, Pam.
Lots of up front expenses with this plan. I am trying to avoid this classic format and move to a new format of having the buyer BEFORE not AFTER. Maybe using "social media" as the tool which will make it all work.

In a way, I am taking my cue from the building trade. Not too many are building spec houses here. What they are building is what has been contracted; either as custom or pre-sold in a planned community with a choice of a few floorplans and elevations.

Aunty Belle said...

hello?? anybody home?

Seems mighty quiet up yonder--hope y'all is OK

Pam said...

Hey fishy, stop by my page, I have an idea about camera/photos. See what you think. Interested?

Tony said...

I don’t use twitter because I fear getting sucked into yet another form of web distraction. But I do use facebook and know that some people link their twitter and facebook posts. Those quick-time updates are almost essential for certain kinds of businesses – like my beloved food trucks, which move from day to day or hour to hour (lucky for me, I can get that info on fb). You may be right that twitter is popular with a younger crowd, although I think it is becoming increasingly pervasive. Do you use facebook for your business? Heck, even my mom uses facebook, and it’s easy to set up a fan page people can “like.” As I learn about small businesses, farmers markets and other organizations in my area, I’ve “liked” a lot of them and as I learn more about what they do and what they offer (not strictly in a one-hour window), I’m a lot more likely to seek them out and become a customer. It’s also a great way for small businesses to keep reminding potential customers who they are, even if they don’t have time-sensitive specials to offer, and on fb. P.S. to Chickory, if you set up a twitter account, I hope you’ll link it to a fb page for your “gray truck folk art empire,” ‘cause I wanna see all them pictures.

Jay Wiggins said...

Moi, they are beautiful works of art! And yes, he does carousel animals as well as rockers. On the Tweets....ugh for sure about the drivel people feel compelled to tweet. I cannot fathom why anyone reads those. I do get how businesses, having a slow day, could generate traffic by sending out an unadvertised special .... dog grooming half off today between 1pm and 3pm. Or how about this ... Tim Racer Ivan rocker 25% OFF if ordered today.

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