Nowadays, if you’re a prominent or powerful person, a Twitter presence has become de rigueur. But for the vast majority of those who tweet, their Twitter account is just a feed for press releases. Even for those who tweet personally, they are almost always very guarded and cautious (hi, Rupert Murdoch!).
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So it was a heck of a breath of fresh air when, with the New Year, Marc Andreessen took to Twitter. Andreessen, of course, is one of the most powerful people in Silicon Valley–founder of Netscape and a few other companies, and of Andreessen Horowitz, which has quickly become one of the very top-tier Silicon Valley venture firms, and seems to be an investor in every hot tech company you could name.
Andreessen is exactly the kind of person who could be excused for not using Twitter like a human. Inhumanly busy? Check. Prominent enough that they could cause a media firestorm with a wrong choice of words? Check. Powerful enough that a tweet could derail multizillion-dollar deals? Check.
And yet, he’s using Twitter the way you wish every person who gets invited to Davos would. He doesn’t just tweet humorous utterances and replies every once in a while. He goes on epic rants (most recently on the NSA). He tells stories. He entertains replies and is seemingly willing to banter with anyone who’s got anything smart to say. He even, o feat of social media savvy, uses the “favorite” option as a way to “like” tweets, which has become all the rage of late.
This is great not just because Andreessen is one of the smartest guys around and it’s a joy to follow him (and even chat with him occasionally, which by itself is awesome). It’s great because it shows–demonstrates–that even people like Marc Andreessen can afford to be human, voluble and responsive on Twitter. Over the years I’ve spoken with many people of Andreessen’s stature, and when the subject of Twitter comes up, they almost invariably think they are too busy and/or important to tweet like a human. Andreessen shows it’s not true. And I hope his example inspires many others.