One of the things I used to love about Twitter back when it first started, before it became the second home of Nigerian Prince’s and MLM marketers, was it’s ability to bestow upon its users Random Awesome through the power of connection. Don’t get me wrong, it still does bestow Random Awesome amongst its users – you just have to go through an added layer of filter now to build up those valid connections and get there.
What do I mean by Random Awesome? Late last night when it was time to put work away and get to sleep, I saw Tony Hawk tweet that he couldn’t take his extra skateboard onto a flight, and that he was leaving it in a terminal for some lucky fan to find. This was one of those unscripted moments of Random Awesome that Twitter was made for. Not a publicity stunt. Not a brand desperately trying to go viral. Just a celebrity and athlete I’ve tracked since my misspent youth as a Sk8 rat who decided to use a moment of inconvenience to make a fan happy.
When I woke up this morning to find out what had happened, I saw this moment of happiness:
These Random Awesome moments used to be everywhere on Twitter in the form of gestures of kindness from user to user, random tweetups (by the way, folks, a true tweetup isn’t a scripted sponsored event, and is something that users are finding again on Foursquare now – the chance to let people know where they are and connect to share a meal or drink on the fly and take connections offline and make them real, one on one or in small spur of the moment groups.), impromptu fundraisers for friends’ needs or local causes. These Random Awesome moments are not gone, but we are allowing them to become harder to find, and I think that’s a shame.
If you take nothing else from this off the cuff post about a cool moment on Twitter, take the initiative to bring back some Random Awesome. I’d love to go back to filtering less and connecting more, wouldn’t you?
Heck, I wonder what would happen if we all agreed to stop marketing (ALL marketing – charities, companies, individuals, ourselves, livetweeting conferences, official hashtagged business chats, etc) on Twitter for 48 hours. Would it improve your experience? How many external sites would you have to unhook to make sure no marketing got through? Is your network on Twitter rich enough that you’d still have people to talk to, or would it be a vast wasteland while the marketing stood still? Have you built quality, or gone for quantity?
Could you even do it?
Update: I’m a doer, and I like this idea of not marketing for 48 hours. I’m also intrigued to see if I can unhook everything I’d need to unhook to be completely non-markety on Twitter for that long. So… let’s do this. August 2 and 3, 2010 – no marketing on Twitter. I’d love if people joined me, but I’m definitely doing it just for myself regardless.
Hashtag #48HRAWESOME if you want to participate and spread the word, but remember – hashtags are marketing, so leave it behind on 8/2-3!