Lee Odden

Twitter Poll: Ultimate Time Waster, or Great Tool?

Twitter Poll

At the upcoming Search Engine Strategies conference in Toronto, I’ll be presenting along with David Snyder and Chris Winfield a hotly anticipated session called “Twitter: Ultimate Time Waster, or Great Tool?”. With the fast growth and uptime growing pains, debates about Twitter are plentiful so let’s settle it once and for all with a Twitter poll:

Twitter Poll: Ultimate Time Waster, or Great Tool?

  • Great Tool (55%, 144 Votes)
  • Ultimate Time Waster (45%, 120 Votes)

Total Voters: 264

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I’ll be sharing the results at SES Tornoto, so be sure to pass along this post and see if we can break our poll response record.

Oh, and you can follow me on Twitter here: @leeodden

PoorSo SoOKGoodAwesome (2 votes, average: 4.50 out of 5)

Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Avatar Walt Goshert says

    Great tool to make quick connections and stay in touch. I use it to write short, little personal notes to prospects and clients.

    Easy to get sucked into conversations that destroy your focus.

    Just one more arrow in the quiver… It’s not a be all and end all solution.

  2. for me, it can be the greatest tool AND a time waster (not necessarily at the same time). It depends what’s on my plate.

  3. Definitely not the ultimate time waster 😉

  4. Anything can be a time sink. It’s a matter of how we choose to use them.

  5. There you go again Michael, making sense. 🙂 Hopefully for the purpose of this poll, and subsequent use in a presentation, can you pick one

  6. It depends if it becomes an addiction, if it does become an addiction then it is probably a time waster, but if Twitter is used sensibly then it can be something worthwhile.

  7. It’s a great tool if you know how to use it; it’s a great time waster when the bloody thing is DOWN more than it’s UP! If they can solve that problem, it’s the ultimate micro-blogging tool.

  8. Twitter can be a big time waster but that does not exclude it from also being a great and productive tool. Marketing and business folks can make Twitter well worth their time. I vote for great tool!

  9. As most have said, it really depends on the user. The signal to noise ratio can really vary. If Twitter is used by the “I had a ham sandwich for lunch” crowd, then it really is not very useful and a big time waster. However, forming relationships, strengthening your community, and trading insights makes it an extremely relevant great tool.

  10. It depends on how you use it. If you only have friends updating their mundane life experiences (at the coffee shop, driving to work), it’s pretty lame. If you use it as a business tool, to network, to learn and share ideas then it’s very useful.

  11. Found out about poll by following Lee on Twitter. In Seattle for SMX now on cell and made connections only possible thru Twitter. Can grow relationships yet wonder if some significant others experience Twitter estrangement from their active Tweeters.

  12. When I followed your Tweet to get to this poll I was hoping to find a rating scale or 4 to 5 choices with some middle ground … but since there is no middle ground, a great tool it is.

  13. Seems that Twitter is a bit of both, time waster and great tool for most people. In the end, it’s one or the other though, at least at the time and purpose for this poll.

    Thanks to everyone who has responded and feel free to retweet.

  14. Great tool is an understatement IMO. Besides all the typical greatness twitter has provided me (connectivity with friends, new relationships and contacts, more traffic to my sites) I’ve had some added bonuses. 1) Thanks to a tweet I won a free pass to the sold out SMX Advanced event 2) I sponsored a copyblogger post (which later appeared in the LA Times) 3) I was featured in USA Today (online and print) as a result of a fast reply to a tweet by Chris Winfield. Not too shabby for a time waster.

  15. I’m reminded of that old Saturday Night Live bit, “New Shimmer is a floor wax *and* a dessert topping.” Twitter is just a communication tool; if people choose to share what they’re having for lunch, that’s what it will be. If they use it to share ideas, network and communicate, that’s what it will be.

    I just can’t believe you posted this survey on a day when I posted How to Use Twitter for Business: and asked the same questions! (Were you looking over my shoulder?)

  16. Michael, that’s a fantastic testimony for Twitter you have there!

  17. Some people use Twitter wisely, but I’m tired of knowing when someone went to Dairy Queen for an ice cream cone. I’m much more careful now about who I follow than I was when I first joined.

  18. Avatar robin seidner says

    I cringe at polls like this, because frankly, Twitter is both a great tool and a time suck (at least for me), and I can’t vote one of each.

  19. Avatar Adido Web Design says

    About time someone did a poll like this, well done on starting the debate Lee.

    Personally I can’t see any point to twitter at all. Although I’m late to the game in terms of getting to grips with it, everything I’ve read about it leads me to think it is a complete time waster. I’m impressed my @Micheal D’s testimonial to the benefits but for me its a big thumbs down.

  20. I think that it’s both a great tool and a time waster. I use Twitter for both gathering information as well as it’s basic social use. I will tweet about SEO and work related finds, but I will also tweet about my daily happenings. “What are you doing?” means just that. It’s great that people are taking it to the next level and using it to drop links and to relay industry related info, but to those who are complaining about tweets about the everyday, they have lost sight of the true purpose of Twitter.

  21. Thanks for the Poll Lee, Personally I think it can be both depending on how you are using it.

  22. The idea behind Twitter may have led it to initially be a time-waster but some great minds went to work and saw its vast potential for business/news use. Now all I see are great liveblogging, news alert, and collaboration tools built around the Twitter API and concept. Best example I know: KPBS News in San Diego used it as a live alert system during the October 2007 wildfires in California when their website was hammered into submission. Twitter became a primary way to get immediate information about shelters, evacuations, and flare-ups (I received the Twitter notifications over SMS).

  23. Avatar Internet Marketing Joy says

    I guess for me, Twitter is a pretty useful tool in making other people know what’s happening to you right on that moment..^^ plus it is very efficient and fast way to communicate with your peers..^^

  24. Sure the Internet is just a time waster

    like in the good ol’ days, now we know how to use it as a great tool, same thing happens for IM 5 years ago, same thing now for micro blogging…

  25. It really depends on how you use it. So for me it is both ultimate time waster AND great tool.

  26. Marketing and business folks can make Twitter well worth their time. I vote for great tool!

  27. Twitter is an awesome tool to make your business money. If used properly the sky is the limit!