I get Twitter…finally and Free is not free

Today I learned:

1. I get Twitter…finally:  I’ve used Twitter for about 3 years, mostly to follow old school friends and to source news, articles and blogs. I post a few things on my personal account (@darrenmcknight), and it is actually the first app I use in the morning, just to see if anything critical has happened in the world. Admittedly though, the whole conversation thing has been lost on me. Until now.

Tonight I watched Dragon’s Den on CBC – easily my favourite show and along with Amazing Race the only reality TV I can stomach – and simultaneously followed the stream of tweets.

Wow – value add!

It might be that the Dragon’s Den audience is a wee bit more refined than Bieber’s Army or just about anyone that tweets about the NBA, but it is hard not to enjoy a stream of thought provoking comments along side something you already enjoy. It was like watching the show with a hundred cool, smart people and the Director in my living room. How can you beat it when the stars – actual Dragon’s – chime in real-time?

I am the kind of guy that watches tv with my phone next to me and my laptop open doing three things at once. Now that I have a use for Twitter it will need to be four things.

2. Free is rarely free: I signed-up for a free webinar on LinkedIn today that, at first glance, sounded topical to my work and I hoped to get a few nuggets out of it that I could apply at work.  I can’t believe how easily I was fooled by good marketing. I won’t burn the company here but suffice it to say it took about 90 seconds to realize the presenters had only one goal. They wanted to sell me their software.

Looking back the promotional material, it was deliberately misleading.  I don’t mind a bit of a sales pitch but if you are going to offer to educate me then educate. If you are going to sell me on something then sell me. You aren’t going to trick me into spending $50K on software. The only guarantee today is that you lost a potential customer.

So, today I learned, or maybe I was just reminded, free is rarely free. When you find something that is both good and free, it is probably also worth paying for.

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