- Taking the leap onto the Twitter bandwagon
- On the cusp of joining Twitter but don’t want to manage another social networking site
- Maybe considering it, but still too much effort to tell if I’ll be onboard
- Twitter still sucks
Haters, don’t say I didn’t warn you. But thanks for keep me motivated.
I’ve gotten a lot of responses, comments, and feedback from my January entry “To Twitter, or not to Twitter”. Since then, Twitter has vomited all over the world. Even the latest Miss USA pageant (yes, I watched this and you can judge me) had incorporated Twitter animations like “Look at me, I’m Twittering” edited above people in the audience typing away on their cell phones. I am also seeing postings like:
“Follow me on Twitter!”
“I’m finally on Twitter but I don’t get it.”
Twitter had already reached critical mass, but it has really taken off within the past few months. Since 2007, there are 700% more Twitterites worldwide and 1000% in the US (comScore, March 2009). Given the related events in the past few weeks, such as Ashton’s million followers challenge and the Oprah Effect, I am twiddling my thumbs for the next comScore release of Twitter data.
I had a hunch that this so called “spike” was coming, though I didn’t know when it would happen or what would cause it to spike. One thing I do know is that Twitter is not a steroid version of a Facebook update. No one cares if you are brushing your teeth or if you are feeding your dog.
So why should you care? Let me count the ways.
It’s the relatable content that is going to drive Twitter to the next level, whether that the content is national breaking news or content that is niche focused. I think Twitter is diverse enough to be utilized by different industries, but it will take some time to create a “niche critical mass”.
Some niche focused Twitter examples that I know exist today are:
- Amber Alerts (@Amber_Alert)
- Job Listings (@journalism_jobs, @jobsmedical, @freelance_jobs)
- PR announcements (@TaxDayTeaParty, @coachella)
Some other niche focused Twitter examples that I think could benefit from micro-blogging (they may already exist):
- Car sales
- Real Estate listings
- Stock quotes
Imagine if I were to follow my stock quote, Seattle Times, Craigslist posting for cars, local marketing events, etc. – I could log into my Twitter each morning to get my latest feed of (desired) information. But, the pseudo RSS capability isn’t the only added value of Twitter.
Virtual Think Tank
If you really want to use Twitter to tell the world that you are having a Big Mac or going for a walk, go right ahead. But in my opinion, that’s what Facebook is for. Most people (not businesses) use Facebook as a true social network. It is a modern way of keeping in touch with your family and friends. You update your pictures and status to let a closed group of social networks know what you’re up to.
I think Twitter is a bit different. They provide the audience for you to share niche content with. It is a way to let the world know your brain provoking thoughts and to share links to interesting sites or breaking news—and Twitter serves as your dumping station. This is why most people who end up linking Twitter with Facebook updates decide to disconnect the two platforms later on. Content on Twitter is meant to be public, otherwise, what’s the point of using it? You have Facebook if you want to keep things private to people you know. If you’re not comfortable with communicating and brainstorming with the public, then maybe you should just stick with Facebook updates.
Interacting with your Fans
On that “going public” note, you should also consider interacting with your audience. Twitter is not only a platform where you can share information, but also to network with your followers. Check out Twitter’s help section, and discover the different techniques such as hashtags, re-tweets, and direct replies.
I do want to share a pretty cool use of Twitter I had never come across before. During a lecture on social media by Adam Metz, there was a live Twitter feed on a big screen of all the tweets being posted in the room. The audience would tweet during the presentation and use an event-unique hashtag to show up on the aggregated feed, which ignited real time discussion even before he started taking questions. Talk about prematurely engaging your audience and creating a transparent environment for knowledge sharing. I can totally see this practice being implemented in conferences and the classroom (maybe it already is).
So, there. Thanks to your feedback, I managed to deliver a resource focused Twitter kool-aid post for your consumption. Perhaps the next comScore data will lead to part trois.