Twitter Tells Us How its Essence Still Lies in the Past (with Ernest Hemingway, in Fact)

Twitter Tells Us How its Essence Still Lies in the Past (with Ernest Hemingway, in Fact) image twitter ernest hemingwayTwitter Tells Us How its Essence Still Lies in the Past (with Ernest Hemingway, in Fa …Red Rocket Media is a firm believer that content marketing and social media is all about telling stories. Every so often though, an event occurs that reinforces the strength of this. This might be in the form of my client’s success stories, personal accolades, or indeed stories from within our talented team.


On Thursday, I was fortunate enough to be invited to the #Twitter4Brands event held in the stunning Tanks within the Tate Modern. The room was alive with talent, checkered shirts and quiffs. I’d seen a handful of the speakers at previous events, including the ever passionate and engaging Bruce Daisley (Director – Twitter UK).

As part of my role as Social Media Manager within Red Rocket Media, I often find myself speaking publicly about how we use stories to fuel the content marketing and social media strategies of my clients. When I say public speaking, I do mean at organised events, rather than me just shouting on the street.

Thursday’s event gave me the opportunity to see Tony Wang (Managing Director – Twitter UK) for the first time, who talked at length about publishing the right content, in the right tone at the right time across Twitter. This is a fairly common theme at social media events. However, Tony gave the best insight to the true meaning of Twitter; the absolute essence of what the platform encompasses. Strip away the technology, strip away the formation of strategies and ground-breaking ideas. Strip all of this away and look to the past…

…Ernest Hemingway to be precise

As I’m sure you are aware, Ernest Hemingway was a pioneer of story telling. He was also a fan of the short story and created what is believed to be the world’s shortest story; using just 6 words:

Baby shoes. For sale. Never worn.

Tony Wang explained that the concept of these 6 words were / and still very much are the inspiration for Twitter. Twitter gives you the ability to publish a story in 140 characters. Wang explained you no longer need a soapbox to be heard – people are successfully using Twitter to ‘tell stories’ and get their content noticed.

This is a great way to describe social media. In the past, I’ve used the simple analogy of it being a communication tool. I guess it still is fundamentally a vehicle for communication. However, the true innovators of Twitter are telling stories. You can have the most comprehensive social media strategy in the world, but without the right content, your story will fall flat. Fast.

“Content is fire. Social media is gasoline”

To help explain the role that social and content play in story telling, Deborah Bates, Campaign Delivery Manager from our content team (and recognised industry-thought leader) adds:

“I always think of Jay Baer’s quote – ‘Content is fire. Social media is gasoline’.

“The point is the two can exist as separate entities and (to a certain extent) work well… But when you put them together, they complement each other perfectly. Besides, who wants an OK return on investment when you could achieve an awesome one?! If you use the two in combination, you’ll achieve greater audience reach/visibility on your content and a higher rate of engagement on your social media channels. All of that can lead to more conversions. What’s not to like?”

I’ll end as Wang did; on a quote from French writer and philosopher, Blaise Pascal:

‘If I had more time, I would write a shorter letter’

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