The Conversation Gap – Why Twitter Works Best When You Keep it Small

Are you familiar with the Conversation Gap also known as the Conversation Chasm?

Tim Bourne from the creative agency exposure uses the term to describe the gulf between big shouty marketing messages and the ordinary conversations  people are having on Social Media.

We’re obviously no strangers to the idea of ‘social media conversations’ here, but I particularly like the way he approaches the issue – from the perspective of someone who has spent a lot of time creating BIG expensive messages for some of the worlds Superbrands.

As social media sweeps all before it, the big boys like Tim Bourne, now appreciate the need for smaller more human-shaped messages to sit alongside the aspirational ad and billboard slogans. Friends talking on Facebook want to know how well a product works, what it cost and whether it’s easy to set up – not whether it makes you feel like hot stuff with a James Bond lifestyle and a Hedge fund income.

I think this is important because I see some social media newbies confusing big and small media and trying to broadcast BIG messages on Twitter about their brand. Slogans and quotations look odd on a platform designed for conversation and importantly they don’t invite a response.

For example, take a look at the Twitter site for superbrand Rolex @RolexInc – here you will find page after page of links to sales pages for months on end with no engagement whatsoever.

Over at Pret a Manger, which is listed as one of the country’s top Superbrands there is a world of engagement and chat. Check out @Pret_uk to listen in on real interactions between brand and customers about sandwich flavours, special offers, recipes, pics etc

It is really satisfying to see a brand using Twitter well. If you have the time for some Social Media research I would recommend going through the Superbrands list at and then checking out the Twitter pages of your favourites.  It’s a brilliant way to work out what works and what doesn’t.

and keep the conversation going – let me know your favourites!


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