There is a tension on Twitter between content and conversations.  Should you publish compelling, interesting original content, or should you aim for having compelling, interesting conversations with others?  

The answer depends on your goals.  If you want to establish yourself as a subject matter expert, or a thought leader, then you should create a Twitter account that doesn’t look like one long stream of inside jokes that have no logical string connecting them together.  But if you want to connect with the greatest number of people, then you need to interact and converse with people through Twitter.   (Of course, if one of your primary goals is to provide customer support through Twitter, or to answer questions of incoming students to your school, for example, then the number of Tweets you write should only be limited by the number of people who need your help.)

The Twitterers who I admire most, like DC’s Patrick Ruffini, or the always interesting Mitch Kapor, do a great job of producing interesting content and interesting conversations.  This is how I aspire to use Twitter, and for those of you who follow me here, I don’t plan on changing the style of that Twitter feed: I will continue to publish my own original content, and I will continue to promote interesting content of others, and I will also periodically interact with people as long as the interaction has some public value. 

But in addition to that account, I recently created a second Twitter account, @willmarlowchats.  This is because there are many times when I want to chat with someone via Twitter, but I don’t want to force all my followers to participate in the conversation.  So, for those of you who are interested, over the next six months or so, I will be conducting an experiment: I will maintain two Twitter feeds, one which is optimized for producing unique content, and the other that is optimized for having conversations.  It will be fun to see which one is more popular, and which one attracts more followers over the long run.

PS – Since creating the new Twitter feed, I’ve posted almost almost 75 times, and they were almost all @replies.  Without the second Twitter account, those conversations would never have taken place.

Did you like reading this blog post?  Sign up to get my new blog posts delivered by email by clicking here.

Will Marlow is a digital strategist/online marketing consultant.  He’s the co-creator of  AlumniFidelity, which is a Web 2.0 fundraising platform for colleges, nonprofits and secondary schools.   He’s working with clients such as UVA, the College of William & Mary, the University of Oklahoma, and Bowling Green State University and he loves nothing better than a thorny marketing challenge.  He would love to help you market your business on the Internet, boost the fundraising numbers for your school or nonprofit, or sellout your next big event.  Email him at

PS – I took the photo above in Montana, when I was dangerously close to a black bear in Glacier National Park.  At one point, the black bear started to lumber slowly in my direction, and it reminded me of being in a bull ring in Pamplona, Spain in 2005 when a bull started moving in my direction.