What does a Wink Mean to You?
You’re looking at engagement from the wrong angle
This weekend, I posted the following question to Twitter:
And received this response:
Now to be fair to Mark, he heard me out and we came to an agreement, but it got me thinking about how differently I define engagement from most others. To many, volume equals value, but to me that just isn't the case. If I’m walking down the street and a complete stranger smiles at me as we pass, that engagement brought me value. It felt nice. What’s not valuable about that?
Once, as I was being prepped to do a talk-show in front of a live audience, the celebrity host (who thought Twitter was a waste of time) looked out and winked at an audience member. I immediately asked “what did that mean?” That person responded that it was clearly a big deal, and that the audience member was visibly excited. “Of course!” I said, “and now that person is going to tell that story 7,000 times.”
I call it the Rickey Henderson Effect: The very first baseball game I ever went to was a Yankees/A’s game with my mother and my late uncle Michael. As Rickey Henderson was walking off the field at the end of an inning, he looked at me and he winked. For the next 20 years my mother would ask me how Rickey Henderson was doing. That one little 1/100th of a second mattered that much.
Twitter allows us to do that at scale. It allows me (or anybody) to affect someone that way at 3am from the comfort of my couch or at 11:37 pm while I am driving in a taxi. An acknowledgement — a little “hey how are you?”, a little “thanks”, a smiley face, an emoji — mean so much more than people realize. It’s the effort that counts in a world where time is our most valuable and ever-shrinking asset.
So I respectfully disagree with Mr. Howell. I think you can get a lot across in 20 words. Heck, I think you can get a lot across in two characters.