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Greenberg: The Ad Campaign Twitter Should Run

SAN DIEGO (TheStreet) -- After this week's wildly disappointing user-growth stats for Twitter (TWTR - Get Report), it appears the company hasn't figured out or recognized its most obvious challenge: Convincing people they never have to tweet.

I first raised this issue in a piece here in my blog last October, and again last night in a piece on LinkedIn (LNKD) headlined, "What Ails Twitter."

In the LinkedIn piece, I make it very clear: The one ad campaign Twitter should run should be: "You never have to Tweet. Not once. Not never."

I'm convinced most people who have not yet joined Twitter, after all the hoopla, are either intimidated by it (believe it or not: seems too techie, and a lot of people are technophobes) or wired in a way that they couldn't care less about access to the immediacy of information.

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These are serious, but not necessarily insurmountable, hurdles.

When I mentioned Twitter to people who aren't on it, the reaction often is along the lines of two things: "I don't want to tweet" or "I have no interest."

Reality: Unlike those of us who live and even thrive in a real-time world, there are a lot (and I do mean lot) of people who don't. And the engineers and other geniuses in Silicon Valley, who continue to advance the way we think, compute and engage, are sometimes so close to it that they can't see beyond their myopia.

Engineers, after all, may be creative, but they also tend to see things in black-and-white. Twitter faces that challenge -- to convince people they can create their own news feed following whatever and whomever they find compelling.

Twitter has created a de facto news organization with free contributors (like me and many journalists, news organizations, comedians, entertainers, celebrities, smart investors you've never heard of and a host of other nobodies) who when combined have created the world's biggest disseminator of news and information.

It's the ultimate in being able to personalize a creative news feed that will point you, not just to news as it happens, but to stories from journals, newspapers and magazines you likely wouldn't see.

I consider my news feed the smartest (and funniest) for me. So, in a short span of time I can get informed (and amused) by what (and who) I believe I need to see. As a journalist I can get my stories (with a link back to my parent company) in front of people around the world who never would have seen them. (Which is why, despite its role, on one hand, as a disrupter to traditional news organizations, it's also powerful marketing tool for those same organizations.)

The challenge for Twitter is: can its marketing and advertising hammer that home? Considering that the only discussion of advertising and marketing on Twitter's earnings call was about how others use it for their own marketing, and how much it generates from advertising -- not how the company is marketing and advertising itself. Would seem if they can't get the latter right, the former, after an initial bump, may become a nonstarter.

-- Written by Herb Greenberg in San Diego

Herb Greenberg, editor of Herb Greenberg's Reality Check, is a contributor to CNBC. He does not own shares, short or trade shares in an individual corporate security. He can be reached at


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