Sunday, March 1, 2009

March 09 - Tweet Tweet!

Last November I was in Sydney for the ADMA Awards. I flew up the night before the event, so that I could attend the regular Friday morning gathering of social media types at a funky little breakfast spot in Surry Hills.

One of the key topics of conversation that morning was Twitter, or more precisely why I wasn’t on it. Anyone who has ever visited my Brand DNA blog will know that it carried a badge proudly trumpeting my resistance to Twitter.

To be honest, I really couldn’t see the point of it. Who on earth would be interested in bite sized blips of mundane information about what people are up to?

How wrong could one man be?

When I got back to Melbourne I decided to take down my anti-Twitter badge and dip a toe into the waters of so called micro-blogging. Call it peer pressure. Call it professional interest. Call it curiosity. I’d call it a combination of the three!

I announced my adoption of Twitter on my blog, as well as in my Facebook status. In true social media fashion, by the end of the day my inbox was overflowing with emails notifying me about people who had started to follow my updates on Twitter.

When I got in to the office the next morning, there were even more emails. These were to alert me to new followers from the UK and USA. I’d never given time zones a second thought until that moment.

So what exactly is Twitter, I can hear you thinking. And why oh why would you want to get involved in it? To be honest, there is no definitive answer to the second question. There are quite literally hundreds of reasons to get in to Twitter.

For the answer to the first question, let’s see what Michael Stelzner, writing at Copyblogger, had to say:

“Each day 5 to 10 thousand new people join Twitter. Current estimates of total users top out around 5 million. That’s a lot of opportunity. Twitter allows you to post updates (called Tweets) as often as you want (limited to 140 characters).

When you follow other people on Twitter, you see their tweets. When they follow you, they see your tweets. It’s a constant stream of communication. The good news is you can turn it on or off as often as you like.”

Like many of the other social media tools, Twitter is proving to be invaluable for business. The great thing is, it’s still yet to attain the mainstream status that the likes of Facebook have. So you have the chance to get involved before it really takes off.”

And why would you want to do that?

According to London based digital thinker Eaon Pritchard, “Twitter is pulling away as the leading opt-in, permission based communication and listening platform.

Anytime anything is being said about your company, products, or services you can monitor it and, most importantly, respond instantly if appropriate.

In fact you can also use various freely available Twitter tools to track what’s being said about anything you fancy. Your competitors for instance.”

If the opportunities Pritchard talks about aren’t enough to get you Twittering, let’s see who else is doing it. Well me, obviously, but both Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull are onboard!

Barack Obama was a big user of Twitter during his election campaign last year. In fact a look at his use of social media in 2008 is required reading for anyone who calls themselves a marketer I think.

As you would expect, the leading minds in marketing and digital media are all Twitts. People like Guy Kawasaki, Clay Shirky and Robert Scoble are constantly posting nuggets of useful information.

Which means you can avail yourself of their much sought after opinion and thinking for absolutely nothing. Which has to be a bargain if you ask me.

And if you did ask me, I’d also tell you that I am now a Twitter convert. I have taken to it hook, line and sinker. Yet it was the way that the brand (because it is a brand, after all) positioned itself, that put me off.

Like me, you need to look past Twitter’s “What are doing?” tagline and see it for what it is. An easily accessible way to source and share valuable knowledge, 140 characters at a time.



Eaon Pritchard

Stan on Twitter


Anonymous said...

Why aren't you on tumblr again?

Jeffry Pilcher said...

I followed the same narrative arc with Twitter -- from "it's dumb" to "it's awesome."

I think Twitter has a power that's undeniable when it comes to B2B, professional networking, and professional development. The B2C opportunities aren't always as clear. That's not to say there isn't massive opportunities for B2C marketers, it's just that each situation needs to be more carefully evaluated and considered. Simply stated, people can join Twitter and start using it productively almost immediately. For a business, that probably won't be the case.

Re: Time Zones. It's very interesting that all my Aussie blogging friends essentially pick-up where the Americans leave off (or vice versa -- doesn't matter). Just before I go to bed, all my Aussie friends are getting up, posting new stories and tweeting. Probably the same for you. It essentially creates non-stop, 24-hour coverage in any global industry. Neat.

James Jacob said...

Have to say I was in the same pot. I heard about it, signed up, didn't really see the point and then forgot about it for a couple of months.

I use it now but sparodically and still think will people really be interested in what I say?!?

Regardless - posted a similar (but not as comprehensive post on my blog a week or so ago: - let me know what your thoughts are

Eaon Pritchard said...

thanks for the props.
Ive been called many things but to be a 'digital thinker' is up there with the best ;)