Recently I’ve started seeing little spats between people on Twitter. Most of the time one “tweep” thinks the other “tweep” has cross a boundary in terms of political correctness. This of course has happened for years in chat rooms and on discussion boards. But a particular interaction this week caught my attention – I think it tells us a bit about why this social media tool is so different. And so much more powerful.

First of all, let me introduce you to @isweatbutter. Apparently he’s a chef somewhere who also happens to be hilariously adept at sarcasm. “Sweaty” as his friends call him is known for his “snarky” (that’s what sarcasm is called on Twitter) comments during American Idol.  Last Tuesday he made a reference to Adam Lambert and Liberace I think the tweet went something like “Hey Adam, Liberace called he wants his suit back” It caught the eye of another tweep who found it offensive, and called @isweatbutter a gaybasher.

What happened next was interesting to me. Instead of just two guys hurling insults at each other across the twitterverse, a whole host of people came to the defense of our Sweaty. One guy even re-read all of sweaty’s tweets that night to assure him that “there was nothing offensive in there.” One woman sent a photo in of a “team butter” t-shirt and people were talking about ordering it on Zazzle. @isweatbutter had 117 DM’s that night, most of which I’m sure were showing support for what eventually became the hashtag #isweatbuttergate.

This means Twitter is different. People were coming to the defense of someone they’ve never met, but someone they truly feel is their FRIEND. I cant think of another social media where relationships like this are being hatched purely online between people who have no other connection, not even a common interest other than communicating.  I don’t know if I would go as far as Ashton Kutcher has in his rant for Time on the topic, but I do think this is a difference that makes Twitter a much more powerful phenomenon than Facebook or other forms of social media.

What is also means is that marketers can’t just go in there and sell. I think Twitter is kind of a new age speakers corner, and when we all step down from our boxes we go have coffee somewhere. But the people who aren’t willing to spend time making friends and creating real relationships certainly won’t get asked to hang out later.

If you want to follow me, I’m @waxgirl333.  But watch out for my own juvenile humor on Tues/Wed.

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