David Payne: Holy Kaw! The Kawasaki ego has landed

David Payne I’m not surprised that Guy Kawasaki’s 10th book is called Enchantment: How to Woo, Influence, and Persuade. It takes some chutzpah to assume near–zero knowledge of social media at a scholarly publishing conference but Kawasaki, a former “software evangelist” (I kid you not!) for Apple, pulls it off with an idiot’s guide to curation, tweeting, and why Google+ will ultimately succeed.

Kawasaki told delegates attending HighWire Press’s spring meeting at Stanford University last week: “In social media there are two kinds of people. Those who want more followers, and those who are lying.”

Ever wondered if it’s OK to send the same tweet twice? Go for it, he says. The secret of Kawasaki’s success (683,403 followers at the last count) is to send each tweet four times, eight hours apart, to hit the world’s major time zones.

He said: “It’s OK to repeat your tweets. In fact, I think you should. It’s kind of against Twitter’s terms of service, but I have been doing it for two years now and I’ve never been shut down. After all, if you watch CNN for two or three hours you see the same story repeated.

“I use twitter as a broadcast medium. I just push. I’m pushing out good content all the time.”

Kawasaki’s aggregation website Holy Kaw, employs 22 people tasked with finding “all the topics that interest us.”

The story gets summarised with a picture, a link is added, and the headline gets tweeted. Recent headlines include: Fact or fiction: the ultimate waterless urinals quiz, Humans and worms share brain “blueprint,” how hangovers work, and teenagers 1982 vs 2012 (infographic).

His social media advice to scholarly publishers? “I turned from blogging to curation. What I think you should do is become an expert social media source in your field, so people don’t follow you for your promotional efforts.

“If you find that the New England Journal of Medicine has come up with study about diet soda and weight, send it out. And then when your book comes out you have earned the right to send it out.”

Google+ launched in June 2011 as a rival to Facebook, and according to Kawasaki, will succeed. “I never visit Facebook and Twitter anymore. I post from Google+. My life is focussed on Google+.”

Kawasaki claims to be the only Google+ user who numbers his posts each day, so someone seeing wed04 knows they have three previous posts to read.

Getting someone so confident in the quality of his own bon mots to recognise that his conference slot, the last of the day, is over, proved a challenge for HighWire’s conference organisers.

Predictably, Kawasaki’s slot over-ran. Finally,  it was the lure of a glass of pinot grigio next door that dried the questions up.

David Payne is editor, bmj.com