[chinatown phone booth](http://www.flickr.com/photos/hensever/)
image by hensever, flickr artist

i’ve made this argument before: social media is social. you can’t just broadcast information; you have to listen to what’s coming back at you and respond.

recent conversation at work brought up the notion of pre-planning tweets for a client’s conference—or having pre-approved topics that one could tweet about. while some purists might find fault with that, i don’t.

there’s no problem with pre-planning your tweets because the tweet is just the medium. if you or a client are attending a conference or some kind of convention and you want to make sure that you capture certain topics or information in your tweets—go right ahead and do it. would you make a phone call to a friend or a client without first planning that also?

imagine that you were planning a happy hour for your project team with a co-worker and you needed to call them to work out the details. you know you want to talk about the location, finalize the date, and also the time. you punch in the numbers, and they answer the phone: “hey, how’s your [

insert day of the week] going?”

you: “i thought we could have the happy hour at paddy’s pub.”

them: “uhh, that sounds fine.. who else is coming?”

you: “we should go on thursday night because not everyone comes into the office on friday.”

them: “but they have better specials on wednesday nights..”

you: “4pm should work best for everyone, so parents can pick up their kids from daycare at 6.”

them: “… dude, have you even been listening to me?”

you: “awesome. this was a great talk!!”

them: [click]

there’s nothing wrong with planning what you’d like to say to people in tweets, phone calls, email, or on any other medium. what’s wrong is when you don’t respond to what people are saying to you because you ‘have a plan’ as to what you’re supposed to talk about.

this is the fundamental problem that i have with a lot of social media efforts. if you own a bar, and someone asks in a tweet: “are you going to have the game on tonight?” and you don’t send a response to that person—that’s bad. if you’re the source of updates from an nfl team’s twitter handle and you don’t RT or engage in conversation with fans who are following you—that’s bad. if you constantly post links to news and blog posts about the newest apple product, or research into how virtual communications make the office space more collaborative and never reply to people who want to talk about those links—that’s bad.

just think: what would happen if your phone calls were like your social media?

how many people would hang up on you?