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Ken Magill

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An Open Letter of Apology to Twitter

By Ken Magill

Dear Twitter:

I am so sorry. When you launched, I thought you were the most dumbassed thing I had ever seen, well at least the most dumbassed thing since the documentary where that guy decided to live with grizzly bears.

Now that was dumbass-hall-of-fame dumb.

We knew how the documentary was going to end before it even started. So no, I didn’t think you were as dumb as someone consciously deciding to live with wild animals so powerful that what they think is a friendly swat could make a guy’s head sail 50 feet away from his body.

But I thought you were pretty dumb.

Oh, and that time I was in the Arizona desert firing a .357 magnum with my military buddies and one of them decided his car would look cool with bullet holes in the door but forgot to roll the window up before he fired—I thought that was dumber than you, too, but not much.

I think you get the idea of where I put you on the dumbass scale when you debuted.

But then my friend and colleague Bill McCloskey told me to think of your tweets like email subject lines. “It’s like email without the delivery issues,” he said, if I remember correctly.

So I started tweeting my headlines with links to the articles and here is what happened:

After The Magill Report launched in August, the site served 13,000 or so ad impressions in its first month. Since then, it has grown to serve 33,000 ad impressions in November and is on track to serve upwards of 60,000 by the end of this month.

What’s driving that growth? Well, my email subscription list is three figures so that’s not driving the increase in page views. I have a Google AdWords campaign going—and its working at driving subscriptions slowly into four figures and beyond—but the clicks are expensive so I’ve capped the spending.

As a result, AdWords isn’t driving all that growth.

So again, what’s driving it? Why, you are, Twitter.

I tweet my headlines, some of them go viral, and in comes the traffic.

So Twitter, I apologize. I no longer think you’re dumb.

Or at least not as dumb as that time—again, in the military—me and some buddies went to a tattoo parlor in Amsterdam drunk to get the words “eat me” tattooed on the pinky sides of our saluting hands. Well, that would have been dumber than you had we not sobered up while waiting and decided not to go through with the plan.

I hope you’ll forgive me.


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Terms: Feel free to be as big a jerk as you want, but don't attack anyone other than me personally. And don't criticize people or companies other than me anonymously. Got something crappy to say? Say it under your real name. Anonymous potshots and personal attacks aimed at me, however, are fine.

Posted by: iphone bluetooth
Date: 2011-02-19 22:24:01
Subject: iphone bluetooth

Hello Is there a wireless bluetooth for the apple iphone aside from the iphone 3gs bluetooth and the JAW BONE wireless bluetooth? I'm in search of some thing a lttle bit less in value. The actual jawbone head set there's no doubt that is $100 or a little more and the Apple company Wireless bluetooth is $130. Can anyone know if you find a Bluetooth which will work together with my new iphone 4, I see everyone receiving a ton using headsets pertaining to like 60, 60 even $80 bucks... Please help! All the best!
Posted by: Tattoo For Girl
Date: 2011-02-03 08:23:05
Subject: Girly Tattoos

Good day : ) Why people (society generally) still pre-judge people who have tats. women commonly? I am a 26 year old F, have 10 tattoos, lots of which can't be noticed on my daily travels. 5 - 6 in the summer are pretty much constantly on display. I do not work for attention and I have a loving boyfriend Without TATTOOS .I get the impression that a lot of people think that tattooed persons are blind, once we get stared at, even if we return a glance many people carry on looking. When will society improve?
Posted by:
Date: 2010-12-22 20:15:58
Subject: Hilarious!

...but you hit the nail on the head. Twitter is all about driving traffic and awareness. Need conversions? Now you're talking email's game. ~ Kristin @ StrongMail
Posted by:
Date: 2010-12-22 12:09:33

Congratulations, you've reached the first level of twitter enlightenment! The next level -- which many people never reach, sadly, especially in marketing -- is to realize that Twitter (like email) is not a blast-only medium. It's actually much more effective and rewarding when used as part of an ongoing conversation.
Posted by:
Date: 2010-12-21 16:58:06
Subject: Nice one Ken!

So humble, so honest! I'm sure Twitter will forgive and reward. (and great updates to the profile, btw!) - Andrea @ e-D
Posted by:
Date: 2010-12-21 15:15:03
Subject: Thank you Loren

I trule appreciate the kind words here and on Twitter. Ken
Posted by:
Date: 2010-12-21 13:52:22
Subject: Twitter Believer

Ken, Great column as always - and humorous mea culpa...I'm proud to say there are no tats on my flabby skin. I have a love/hate relationship with Twitter - but for some reason I got it right away. In Jan 2009 I wrote a column - Twitter: Email With A 140-Character Limit? - for me Twitter was just "Honey, I Shrunk the Email" - and it seemed natural. Glad to see Twitter is helping grow your subscriber list - cause would be a crime if just your old military buddies and a few of us privledged email types got to read your prose. Happy holidays Ken. Loren @LorenMcDonald
Posted by:
Date: 2010-12-21 13:33:28

Yep, count me among the early non-believers, but next to a decent amount of Google SERP love, Twitter is my inbound BFF. @indiescott
Posted by:
Date: 2010-12-21 13:28:21

I think I could sign this letter, too. :)