I joined Twitter a few months back, but even I haven’t found the exact value in it. I’ve discovered the virtues of the desktop application from TweetDeck which allows me to aggregate a few IDs (personal and professional) and messages all in one panel, which is a time saver. I’ve also found the integration of Twitter with Facebook a time saver so I can post status and tweets as if they are the same to different pools of friends/subscribers.
This union of twitter and facebook, however, has forced me to be a lot more conscious of what I Tweet because I have co-workers, friends and family all together following the same stream of thoughts I post. Even more, I continue to remind myself, anything that goes public now becomes record and future employers, friends and family will or could read what I write. So I’ve started to re-evaluate my Internet “profile” and begin to market it to my advantage. Or so I hope.
Within Twitter though I follow more than just professionals and friends. I connect with the occasional celebrity (Shaq, Russell Simmons), but I’m also tied into many local tweeters for info on broadway shows, local restaurants, sports, writers, free concerts, bars, politics and of course news. I’ve also found quite a few job posting tweeters which have been helpful exploring the market. Where I see much of the value for Twitter for business though, until it’s swamped by spammers, is in the real-time search of updates which would allow people to get up to the minute news, deals and updates on the subjects that matter most to them. I’ve already found value in Jet Blue‘s weekly Tweet specials.
If you don’t join, know that you’re not alone. There are at least 100 more things more popular than twitter including Google Mail, AOL IM, Ross Perot (really? he’s 45 on this list?), WordPress, BBC.com, and Fanta. There’s still a stigma around the service that it’s just a bunch of adults acting like kids posting nonsense to “feel live”.
For Alain de Botton, author of Status Anxiety and the forthcoming The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work, Twitter represents “a way of making sure you are permanently connected to somebody and somebody is permanently connected to you, proving that you are alive. It’s like when a parent goes into a child’s room to check the child is still breathing. It is a giant baby monitor.”
We are all now part of a reality-world, me-too, wanna be superstar society but people! Do you really need to push this crap on everyone? There’s some real numbers to back this unfortunate trend, that 40% of Tweets Are Pointless Babble but this number is a little misleading because this accounts for original tweets, not people re-tweeting (or reposting someone else’s tweet), so this number is actually much higher. I have certainly unfollowed people for too much crap and it will continue until people learn what their audience really wants.
With the social media meltdown earlier this month, it’s obvious that for the online community, Facebook and Twitter have become just as ingrained into the users daily connected lives as email, IM and the iPhone have become. As businesses find ways to make money off social services, these services will become increasingly susceptible to more DOS attacks and both internal and public facing hacks.
For those that do decided to jump on the trend, make sure you use it constructively. I’d recommend a few articles on How to use Twitter and learn from journalists on best use.
I admit, I’ve picked up my blackberry and typed in some nonsensical tweets, but I’m progressing as my audience expands and look to use the service to further either the most entertaining comments, useful items, inspiring quotes, or useful notes to further my business partners and customers. However, if Twitter goes down, life goes on… Pick up the phone and call someone or better yet, get out of the house and meet someone. My primary concern is the value of personal, face-to-face correspondence is getting lost in all this online and social “technology”.