Blog Feed Post

How to Win a Twitter War

It’s remarkable how many people are fighting on Twitter and Facebook these days. What is even more remarkable is how many social media battles end in one party unfriending or unfollowing the other. “I’ll teach you to disagree with me!” [Hit unfollow or unfriend.] “There!” [Pause with an angry look on your face.] “Take that!”

Unfriending or unfollowing someone is not a win; it is a cowardly act of desertion. At that moment of self-hypnotic, self-righteous self-satisfaction, you have left the battlefield in abject defeat. In truth, your opponent has silenced you. You’ve left their world, never to return. Your opponent is the victor; you, the vanquished.

Can you ever really win a Twitter or Facebook war?

Yes, you can! Here, for your cyber-pugilistic pleasure, is a strategic primer that will make you invincible.


Before you wage an SMW (social media war), you need to define what a “win” is. In victory, you will accomplish _____.

If your goal is to unfriend or unfollow everyone in your community who disagrees with your world view, stop reading this article now. Your current strategy is perfect.

However, if your goal is to assemble a community of like-minded people, or start a conversation that might change minds, or (if you believe you have the moral high-ground) definitively change minds (because you are right and your opponents are wrong), read on.

You are going to war, and wars have costs. So you have to base your strategic decision to wage an SMW on a cost/benefit analysis.

If you start a fistfight, expect to get hit. If you start a knife fight, expect to get cut. If you start a gunfight, expect to get shot. If you start an SMW, expect to have someone try to boil your blood, belittle your beliefs and personally attack your character in ways that would make a drunken, potty-mouthed psychopath proud. If these are not acceptable costs, do not start the war.

After defining what a win is and accepting the potential associated costs, it’s time to get into the real strategic work of positioning yourself to win an SMW.

Antifragile Positioning

In his book Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder, Nassim Nicholas Taleb opines, “Some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors and love adventure, risk, and uncertainty. Yet, in spite of the ubiquity of the phenomenon, there is no word for the exact opposite of fragile. Let us call it antifragile. Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.”

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is not a political article. Please, please, please do not start commenting about politics here. This is an article about how to fight and win a social media war using an antifragile strategy. Please limit your comments and criticisms to that thesis. And yes, I know that Taleb’s antifragile concept is a direct rip from George Soros’s book, The Alchemy of Finance. That’s actually a great discussion starter. Thank you.

In pure social media terms, “Make America Great Again” is a perfectly antifragile tweet and a perfectly crafted response meme. From an SMW point of view, it is a strategic masterpiece.

  1. @antifragile_originator:” _____ policy will make America great again.”
  2. @attacker: “I h8, with all that is holy, the new @antifragile_originator _____ policy.”
  3. @antifragile_defender: “@antifragile_originator is just trying to make America great again.”
  4. @antifragile_originator: “_____ policy is right; those who don’t think so are dumb.”
  5. @attacker: “Has @antifragile_originator read _____? Doesn’t he understand _____?”
  6. @antifragile_defender: “@antifragile_originator is just trying to make America great again.”

Let’s analyze the above.

Tweet #1 has a well-defined cause and effect. The policy espoused will make America great again. Who doesn’t want to live in a great America? You can’t argue the fine points of what “great” might mean in 140 characters. You can’t argue with the validity of the policy espoused in 140 characters. Pretty much all you can do is what Tweet #2 does, and that is disagree with Tweet #1. You can use your 140 characters any way you want. It won’t matter. Tweet #1 is antifragile.

It doesn’t matter who is right or who is wrong, because in social media terms, @antifragile_originator wins no matter what is being discussed. Count the number of times @antifragile_originator is mentioned in the example above. Now count the number of times everyone else is mentioned. If “going viral” is your goal, an antifragile strategy really works.

Now, think about the value of the virality with respect to messaging. There is almost no replacement for gross impressions. The more times you see something, the more it creeps into your psyche. “Reach” (how many unique people see a message) is the focus of most modern advertising and marketing schedules, but “frequency” (the number of times you see a message) has a huge value in terms of brand awareness, brand love and brand health.

The virality, or frequency, of putting @antifragile_originator’s message in front of engaged users is key. The antagonists and the protagonists are equally engaged. Even people who don’t care about the issue will be exposed to it because each circle of friends/followers is led by its social media thought leader. Every tweet, no matter who tweets it, is fully editorialized and endorsed by its tweeter.

Even better for the @antifragile_originator, people on the margins (those who might care about the issue but had yet to be exposed to it) are going to get an up-close, personal view of both sides. Better yet, those who might switch sides or are secret agents or are in the closet about the issue have now been engaged.

Employing an antifragile social media strategy is win, win, win. As Mr. Miyagi famously said in the movie The Karate Kid, “If do right, no can defense.” How can you execute against this insidious, awesome, winning strategy? Here are five easy steps.

How to Win a Twitter War in 5 Easy Steps

Craft an antifragile messaging strategy, then

  1. Pick an issue guaranteed to enrage your opposition.
  2. Figure out how to make the issue truly binary, no matter how nuanced or subtle it is. Yes or No. You’re with us or against us.
  3. Craft a barrage of strategically related antifragile messages (marketers, pay attention here).
  4. Keep the chaos going. (Brand safety? We don’t need no stinkin’ brand safety!) More tweets, more related enraging issues. More, more, more. Keep repeating steps 1–4.
  5. Enjoy the increase in followers, virality, and the size of the community of like-minded people that has self-assembled around you.

Then, with all humility declare yourself the winner. If you do that with an antifragile tweet, you’ll keep the cycle going, and one day, who knows? – you could be …

The post How to Win a Twitter War originally appeared here on Shelly Palmer

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the host of Fox Television’s "Shelly Palmer Digital Living" television show about living and working in a digital world. He is Fox 5′s (WNYW-TV New York) Tech Expert and the host of United Stations Radio Network’s, MediaBytes, a daily syndicated radio report that features insightful commentary and a unique insiders take on the biggest stories in technology, media, and entertainment.

Latest Stories
Have you ever noticed how some IT people seem to lead successful, rewarding, and satisfying lives and careers, while others struggle? IT author and speaker Don Crawley uncovered the five principles that successful IT people use to build satisfying lives and careers and he shares them in this fast-paced, thought-provoking webinar. You'll learn the importance of striking a balance with technical skills and people skills, challenge your pre-existing ideas about IT customer service, and gain new in...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo, June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY and October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
DevOps and microservices are permeating software engineering teams broadly, whether these teams are in pure software shops but happen to run a business, such Uber and Airbnb, or in companies that rely heavily on software to run more traditional business, such as financial firms or high-end manufacturers. Microservices and DevOps have created software development and therefore business speed and agility benefits, but they have also created problems; specifically, they have created software securi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buyers...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, I provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading the...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud taking place June 6-8, 2017, at Javits Center, New York City, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long developm...
While not quite mainstream yet, WebRTC is starting to gain ground with Carriers, Enterprises and Independent Software Vendors (ISV’s) alike. WebRTC makes it easy for developers to add audio and video communications into their applications by using Web browsers as their platform. But like any market, every customer engagement has unique requirements, as well as constraints. And of course, one size does not fit all. In her session at WebRTC Summit, Dr. Natasha Tamaskar, Vice President, Head of C...
In their general session at 16th Cloud Expo, Michael Piccininni, Global Account Manager - Cloud SP at EMC Corporation, and Mike Dietze, Regional Director at Windstream Hosted Solutions, reviewed next generation cloud services, including the Windstream-EMC Tier Storage solutions, and discussed how to increase efficiencies, improve service delivery and enhance corporate cloud solution development. Michael Piccininni is Global Account Manager – Cloud SP at EMC Corporation. He has been engaged in t...
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Aruna Ravichandran, vice president of DevOps Product and Solutions Marketing at CA Technologies, has been named co-conference chair of DevOps at Cloud Expo 2017. The @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo Silicon Valley will take place Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
TechTarget storage websites are the best online information resource for news, tips and expert advice for the storage, backup and disaster recovery markets. By creating abundant, high-quality editorial content across more than 140 highly targeted technology-specific websites, TechTarget attracts and nurtures communities of technology buyers researching their companies' information technology needs. By understanding these buyers' content consumption behaviors, TechTarget creates the purchase inte...
In the enterprise today, connected IoT devices are everywhere – both inside and outside corporate environments. The need to identify, manage, control and secure a quickly growing web of connections and outside devices is making the already challenging task of security even more important, and onerous. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Rich Boyer, CISO and Chief Architect for Security at NTT i3, will discuss new ways of thinking and the approaches needed to address the emerging challenges of securit...
As cloud adoption continues to transform business, today's global enterprises are challenged with managing a growing amount of information living outside of the data center. The rapid adoption of IoT and increasingly mobile workforce are exacerbating the problem. Ensuring secure data sharing and efficient backup poses capacity and bandwidth considerations as well as policy and regulatory compliance issues.
Many private cloud projects were built to deliver self-service access to development and test resources. While those clouds delivered faster access to resources, they lacked visibility, control and security needed for production deployments. In their session at 18th Cloud Expo, Steve Anderson, Product Manager at BMC Software, and Rick Lefort, Principal Technical Marketing Consultant at BMC Software, discussed how a cloud designed for production operations not only helps accelerate developer inno...
Almost two-thirds of companies either have or soon will have IoT as the backbone of their business. Though, IoT is far more complex than most firms expected with a majority of IoT projects having failed. How can you not get trapped in the pitfalls? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan, Chief IoTologist at Wipro, will introduce a holistic method of IoTification, which is the process of IoTifying the existing technology portfolios and business models to adopt and leverage IoT. He will delve in...
"We host and fully manage cloud data services, whether we store, the data, move the data, or run analytics on the data," stated Kamal Shannak, Senior Development Manager, Cloud Data Services, IBM, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.