Twitter Is A Professional Social Network

Over the past few weeks I’ve been helping to organize a small digital event called Actions Towards Progress. The purpose of the event is to share actionable advice about how we can accelerate the rate of improvement in the world.

We’ve intentionally geared the event to focus on actions that require a modest amount of intentional effort. Too many proposals for change today seem out of reach or require a large chunk of funding to get started.

During the process of recruiting speakers for the event, I found myself sending lots of cold emails. Interestingly, I noticed that my response rate for Twitter DMs was much higher than sending an email using my Gmail address. This supports a hypothesis that I’ve had for a while: if LinkedIn is no longer the default professional social network, then another popular service will step in to fill that role.

In this case, it makes sense that it’s Twitter. The reason why Twitter works so well is that you can easily check someone’s profile for proof-of-work. There’s no way to fake an interesting Twitter feed, other than by having interesting thoughts. Feeds completely filled with retweets indicate a lack of original thought, whereas an active and thoughtful feed shows that the owner is actually a real human that has their own perspective.

LinkedIn today is so filled with platitudes and marketing that it’s impossible to cut through the noise. Most prominent executives in the technology industry have abandoned the platform because of how little value it provides.

There are definitely diminishing returns to using Twitter. For me, that point comes after about 20 minutes per day. I try to get in, post something that I’ve been thinking about, reply to a few people, and get out. Any longer and I tend to get caught in the infinite scroll trap. Like most social networks, too much time on the platform makes me feel negative emotions. If Instagram is intended to show off your lifestyle, Twitter is intended to show off your ideas.

For now, I’m happy that I was able to use it in a way that helped me connect with people who would have been otherwise inaccessible. I’m excited about the speaker lineup we’ve put together. There are a mix of scientists, entrepreneurs, and independent researchers who have graciously agreed to share their perspective on how to make the world a better place.

This is what social networks should be all about.