Is there a typical twitter user?

Regular readers will know that I’m a big fan of twitter and use it extensively. Equally I remain cynical about it’s business value to most accountants. I am always amused to note that most of those who challenge this view tend not to remain active on twitter for more than a few months.

Having said that I have explained previously how accountants can derive business benefits from twitter, to get started, what is and what is not worthing doing here. Today I am simply going to challenge one of the most common misconceptions I hear these days. It tends to be a variation on this theme:

“I don’t know why intelligent people like me would use twitter. Only trolls, idiots, pop fans, sports fans, kids, journalists and celebrities seem to use twitter. It’s full of egotistical people with nothing better to do than tell everyone what they are doing or eating.”

In fact there is no typical twitter user. Or if there is I am clearly only following those twitter users who are NOT typical.  Anyone can use it. Just like anyone can use a postbox or send an email. The difference is that YOU can choose if you want to see what other people are posting on twitter. If you don’t want to see any trash, don’t follow the people who post it. And unfollow or block anyone who posts stuff you don’t want to see.

The media frequently report usage of twitter that gives a false impression about how most intelligent people use twitter.  Before you dismiss the idea do check out what it’s really about and how you might actually enjoy it and even get some business value from what you choose to see on twitter.  You can join twitter and follow people you think might be posting stuff that interests you. Add more people and unfollow anyone who posts rubbish.

In time you can decide whether or not to start posting anything yourself.  Typically most users do end up posting their own tweets. But who wants to be typical? 😉

I invite accountants who have been on twitter for more than a few weeks to share below their views as to what they see as typical on twitter.

See the twitter tips page on my blog for more on how to use twitter


By |2013-09-03T08:57:09+00:00September 3rd, 2013|Twitter|

About the Author:

Mark Lee FCA is an accountancy focused futurist, influencer, speaker, mentor, author and debunker.


  1. Joshua 5th September 2013 at 2:29 pm - Reply

    From my own personal experience I get maybe 10-30 visitors from Twitter per month and do I think these will turn into clients? more than likely not but it is set to run automatically. I.E it posts everytime I post sending the link out, this is done mainly for SEO and like I said the occasional visitor, in relation to time spent to ROI I would say there is none. It is too powerful to be ignored as one client would cover all the time I have spent with Twitter.

  2. Claire Georghiades | Chartered Accountant 9th September 2013 at 12:36 pm - Reply

    We have been on Twitter since November 2011, and around 1,200 website visitors a month come from Twitter. More importantly, at least one new customer per month comes to us from Twitter. Business owners on Twitter are keen to support local suppliers, so 9/10 new clients from Twitter are local business owners. As we all know the lifetime value of an accountancy client, that is something worth shouting about. It really is worth the investment of no more than 1/2 hour per day in time.

    I would also add that we find a typical small business user of Twitter is the owner, so the primary decision maker. They are busy working in their business and need problems solving and to be able to be able to promote their business without them having to leave their business premises. They are constantly learning from blogs etc posted on Twitter, and gaining valuable feedback on their own products/services from Twitter.

    So I would argue there is a typical small business user, pro-active business owners, but the businesses themselves are not typical at all. Accountants should definitely not ignore Twitter!

  3. Blair Illiano 19th September 2013 at 6:28 am - Reply

    Twitter’s great for letting your followers know what you’re up to. But, that’s not exactly beneficial for one’s business. However, I have found so many interesting blogs and websites through Twitter, thanks to RTs. It always gives me a lot of reading material.

  4. […] maven Mark Lee consistently says that by and large, social channels and Twitter in particular are not the place for professional accountants. I have vehemently disagreed with him on the basis that his view reflects a past that is no longer […]

  5. Satwaki Chanda 2nd October 2014 at 1:49 pm - Reply

    Hi Mark, thank you for this post, which I have also retweeted as you requested.

    I have only been on twitter for 2-3 weeks. This is my twitter experience from what I’ve observed.

    1. A lot of twitter can actually be quite boring. Especially if you’re following the various news channels and journalists, because you find that almost everyone is tweeting “breaking news” – quite understandable that they’d do it of course. On the other hand, while it IS boring, it’s quite useful just to know the main headlines.

    2. It’s better to respond and follow people rather than just organisations like FT or the BBC. For it’s the people who work for the FT/BBC who are more likely to “interact” than the main organisation itself.

    3. Best to be selective as to what to say, when to say it and to whom to say it. I think this is the message from your previous post – I’d already discovered this myself, but found it a coincidence that someone else had actually written on this same topic. Which is why I retweeted it, and found myself added to your twitter list.

    4. And that is another example of how it can work. You don’t really need to be tweeting all the time – just a few carefully chosen tweets and you get some positive result. Though I hasten to add, I didn’t retweet simply because I thought “perhaps the tweeter will notice me and give me a brownie pojnt”

    5. In the three weeks I’ve been on twitter, I have had more positives than I bargained for. I didn’t want to go on twitter at all, till an old marketing friend suggested it. I write articles for my own blog, but I haven’t tweeted them to all and sundry for the simple reason that I have only 5 followers, one of whom reads it anyway, and the other two are friends who won’t find it their cup of tea! In fact, I don’t think I’ve actually tweeted an original tweet of my own.

    6. And yet someone has already bookmarked my site, simply because I responded to a conversation about what the best property websites were and I just said “Don’t forget the tax” and gave them a link to an article I’d written. What I found amazing is that if I had done this in “real life” it would have been considered incredibly rude, as I was effectively interrupting a conversation. But because this is twitter, hardly any conversation is private.

    Well, that’s been my experience so far. Sorry for such a long post – but I wouldn’t have been able to respond on twitter, because, to quote Pierre Fermat (Fermat’s Last Theorem), the margin is too small!

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