Sunday, August 05, 2007
Twitterific: Expand Your Multi-Channelverse
After hearing all the Twitter talk in recent months I decided it was finally time to give it a try and see what microblogging is all about. I figured I've been blogging for a while, so doing even smaller, quicker posts would be easy. Even so, I thought it probably wouldn't last long with me - I barely ever use the texting features on my mobile phone and hardly ever IM anyone (no one ever seems to be online when I am).
Still feeling a little self-conscious about broadcasting the mundane details of my daily life to the world, I decided to sandbox my musings for the time being and sent invitations to a dozen friends.
Well, it's been about 18 days now and not a single person has accepted an invitation to view my twitters. But oddly enough I keep sending pings to my Twitter account. I'm a little addicted. I even sent mobile text messages while I was away on vacation. Which leads me to the existential question: If you twitter and no one is there to read it did it really happen?
Who knows? I'm pretty sure it happened. But the experiment got me thinking about the nature of microblogging and how my immediate fascination with Twitter might be put to business use. Twitter defines itself as "a global community of friends and strangers answering one simple question: What are you doing?" But this is obviously too trite to fly with business users. I think it boils down to this: Twitter is about instant communication with everyone (or just a targeted audience) in the way they want it. That is something business can latch onto: after all, driving business growth depends on communicating with your target audiences. For those who have shied away from building and maintaining a company blog due to the time commitment, a Twitter microblog may be the next best thing, or at least something else to add to your multi-channelverse.
Here are a few ideas I came up with (I'd love to hear more):
- News Alerts - new product/service announcements, acquisitions, business wins, etc.
- Crisis Communications - perhaps as part of a web site media center
- Customer updates - the ultimate microtargeting of content
- Web site update alerts - a new podcast, video clip, article quip linking to more meat
While the 140 character maximum message length can be a challenge, it does force you to focus on concise messaging. The ability to embed URLs means interested "followers" of your twitters can be directed to more detail on a landing page and then tracked. As with a blog, however, I think using Twitter in this semi-promotional way requires that you be upfront with what you're doing or risk being called out as a phony. Provide value-added microblog content and you'll be a hero.
Lastly, by way of the Twitter Fan Wiki here are a few more uses and mashups using the tool that I thought might be useful in Twitter microblogs for business:
- Twitterment is a Twitter search engine that also provides trend graphs and identifies buzzy and fading terms.
- Twitter Groups! From creator of Twitter Mosaic. Put your followers into groups and send messages to them instead of individually.
- MobiFeedLive.com Receive Keyword Based Email Alerts so you can see who is saying what about you - buzz and competitive tracking, micro-scale. It also has search, link metrics, and trend analysis.
Thompson, Clive. "How Twitter Creates a Social Sixth Sense" Wired Magazine. June 26, 2007
Thanks for the suggestions! I'm always looking for tools to keep in touch with my clients and am considering using Twitter for biz. How'd it ever work out for you? Please do tell...