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18 Comments

How do you know you provide some value?

I tweet a lot since the beginning of the year, and I think what I tweet provide some value (for developers mostly).

But here's the thing: maybe it doesn't? Maybe I'm just throwing banalities in the void?

That's what confuse me with this whole "providing value". How do you really know you provide value? Because everybody likes your tweets?

Here are the things I noticed though:

  1. If you have many followers, people are likely to like your tweets. You'll have a lot of "engagement", style "I love what you're doing". But I feel it's more to push themselves forward than anything else.

  2. If you don't have many followers, your tweet will end up in the void. But how do you know that it's really the case, or it's because you don't provide any value?

On top I see many developers or indie hackers just throwing banalities in there and being acclaimed like they're heroes, because big number and impressive graphics. I'm happy for them (and it's not the majority, many provide real value I think), but... does it make any sense?

I don't understand Twitter.

  1. 2

    What value in 280 characters with generalized opinions and advices. Why are we bound to provide value, can't we just communicate and exchange ideas. That's valuable for sure but how twitter works kinda forces people to one-to-many connections.

    I saw people answering questions based on follower counts. I saw an automation service where the founder talks about community, relationships etc all day long but displays the follower count on their application, nothing else.

    I was about to write a post related. But IDK it's just invaluable to talk about it.

    1. 1

      I think you're right actually. The term "value" can have many meanings, it really depends on the beliefs you attach to it. The idea in general doesn't mean much. I think we should just exchange opinions and ideas, and that's all. It makes things much simpler.

      Your article would be valuable to me. Keep me posted if you write it (I'll only read it if you have > 50k followers of course :D)

  2. 1

    well value here is used in different meanings
    but basically, if no one misses you if you stopped for two weeks, it's very low value
    if you stopped for two weeks and no one would message you to ask where did you go, it's probably not too important
    that's not to say you can't build a following, but I'd say it's low on the value chain
    if you ask for help on something, how many would want to give back because of what they already got, not just because they like helping others?
    because at the end of the day that's kinda what you'd want to happen, you'd publish something paid and want people to think it's valuable or they already go the value, so it's a no-brainer.

    just a way to think about it

    1. 1

      I've checked your profile few times, thought about mailing but 🤷‍♂️. IIRC I did unfollowed and followed you back to send you a notification. Just add your twitter to your profile :)

        1. 2

          Great! I don't use facebook so joined to slack.

    2. 1

      That's an interesting way to think about it. I wouldn't try to disappear just waiting for people to call me back, I'm pretty sure very few people would be missed in this giant noise which is Twitter. People forget quickly, I think.

      Maybe I'm a bit too pessimistic here. Thanks for your comment!

      1. 2

        I know people on youtube for example get attached and message creators that are gone for a while, I think that's an indication of value, at least a social one, that people get attached and care...
        it doesn't mean everything is black and white, it's a ratio like how
        1:10 of forum readers ever write a message

        for youtube say
        1:10 vote
        1:100 write a comment
        1:? message the creator?
        ..

        When you talk about value, the depth is what you care about, the people that are MOST engaged, even more so if you are doing this for later monetizing/converting this in some way.

        ..giant noise which is Twitter. People forget quickly, I think.
        Also it's possible a lot of this type of value while you do build reach, each particular interaction value degrades [relativly quickly?] over time, which is why repetition in these platforms is high...

        1. 1

          I definitely agree with you for the depth, and I can easily believe that people on Youtube get attached, as you say. To me a video is something which can be way more personal than a tweet; that's why I've more difficulties to imagine that on Twitter.

          Let's see. Maybe I'll build meaningful relationship on Twitter one day!

  3. 1

    @MatthieuCneude
    Providing value on the internet can be simply "questions answered". I try this by actually "answering" some questions that pass through my radar, with knowledge I know.

    Example like this, I try to answer your question ( and actually will know if this answer is helpful or not by you replying this 😁)

    I'm at ~50 followers. The best thing for accounts with little to none followers are simply answering questions. By that, I will know you will help solve my problem. Indie hacker's Twitter also provides tweets that in them, are some people questions something that often go unanswered. You can start from there, too. (and even with other Twitter accounts).

    1. 2

      So providing value is giving your opinion? I like that. It solves the problem.

      1. 2

        In a way, yes. And again, if you think that you have the answer, go on 👍🏻

  4. 1

    I think I see value as things that help people. Most of the time, I won’t tweet unless I believe it will help someone. (Okay yes the occasional dog photo and angry political tweet has slipped through that filter) But when I really started gaining traction on Twitter, it was because I was doing things that didn’t scale. Like resume reviews for anyone that reached out to me for instance.

    Follower count < Engagement. If you’re helping people and they’re engaged with what you’re putting out there, great.

    1. 1

      Interesting. Thanks for that.

      I've a question though: how do you know you help people? With engagement? Even if your tweets go inexorably to the Twitter Void™ because you're too small in this big fish pound?

  5. 1

    First-mover advantage and cult of personality are real phenomena, but it shouldn't influence your approach to Twitter.

    When it comes to content creation, product building and life in general, I put out in the world stuff that I want to see.

    If I am proud of the the end-product, it can bomb. I am happier failing this way than regurgitating "industry expertise".

    In fact, I listen only to feedback that helps improve on my original vision.

    That being said I am always working to improve my writing and storytelling skills.

    As Jeff Bezos put it: “We are stubborn on vision. We are flexible on details….”.

    1. 1

      If I write stuff I like and build stuff I like, I'm not really thinking about the other, do I? I mean I agree with what you're saying, but does it go against this "build to your audience" advice? Or should we just abandon the idea and build stuff we want to see?

      Good feedback (means with the "why it was useful") would indeed tell me that my content is valuable, but it's so rare, especially on Twitter.

      Sorry if I'm annoying, but I like to dig deep, even if it sounds stupid.

      1. 2

        You will attract people who want to see the same that you do.

        The other option is to guess what others can find helpful. You probably won't be very accurate and you will find yourself doing work that could potentially interest others, whether you like it or not. Many people on the internet prove that it can work, but doesn't seem a great way to live and I doubt you will ever be able to produce great stuff with this philosophy.

        Just think about the best in their field. Do you think that Dostoevskij asked himself if people were going to find his work helpful? What about Leonardo da Vinci? Picasso?

        You may have four different outcomes:

        1. What you want to say is what others want to hear and you will achieve great success.
        2. What you want to say isn't what others want to hear. You won't be crazy popular but you will be able to comfortably live with your work.
        3. You say what you expect others to want. You are accurate, have a good delivery, and achieve great success.
        4. You say what you expect others to want, but you are not that accurate or look disingenuous and end up failing.

        I put them in my order of preference as creating with the goal of satisfying others and achieving great success looks worst than just having a comfortable life creating what you want.

        Now I could have misinterpreted your question and you want just to be as successful as you can. If that's the goal, reverse engineering successful people in your niche and doing the same is the way to go. But you probably will end becoming another "developer or indie hacker just throwing banalities in there and being acclaimed like heroes, because big numbers and impressive graphics".

        1. 1

          You perfectly understood what I meant, and I agree with you. That's a good analysis. Thanks for that!

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