Estimated reading time: 3 mins
Twitter is the ‘micro-blogging’ service that has grown to 3m users wordwide in less than 3 years because it provides the simplest social communication platform around. It’s used by kids, pensioners, young adults, well – everyone. It’s being used by business as well. Here’s how.
The beauty of Twitter is that it is simple. You can post messages up to 140 characters only (if you’re using standard English characters, less in more complex character sets like Arabic) – but this limitation is part of it’s success. Messages (known as tweets) are short, to the point, and easily consumed/scanned. So only concise updates are possible. Great stuff – because you can see only what you need to see. A breath of fresh air?
The way Twitter works is by ‘following’ other users (or Tweeters), and by being ‘followed’ by other Tweeters. Updates from the Tweeters you follow are presented in a list on page. It’s common for the updates to include links into websites, blogs, etc so you can read more about what interests you.
You have the option of disclosing your updates to anyone who chooses to follow you. The profile you setup may give enough reason for people to choose to do that, or you can encourage people to follow you like I do on my blog. Any number of people can follow you. In fact as at June 08, one guy had 7,379 followers. Equally, there is no limit on the number of other Tweeters you can follow – the highest number in June 08 was 2,204. I’m not sure how I’d find that number of updates helpful to me!
You also have the option of protecting your updates so that only people you approve can see them. So the choice is yours to show the world, or only your acquaintances.
Why I think this is a powerful business tool is that it is a viable alternative to email for communicating what you’re doing. It’s a broadcast service, rather than individual messages. It’s much more accessible (and fun) than email to boot.
Moreover, Twitter enables us to create presence . Presence is important as it builds your profile – an essential asset in the modern business climate. If you have presence, then you have an opportunity to market yourself, what you’re doing, your product/service and the value you create – it’s an aspect of your personal brand .
Relationship building is an equally valuable aspect of Twitter. It’s common (if not expected) that if someone follows you, you recicprocate by following back. I recommend this – if a Tweeter has chosen to follow you then it’s likely to be for a good reason, e.g. they are interested in what you have to say about your subject matter, product, service, etc. Following each other forms the basis of a relationship.
One last benefit of Twitter I’d like to share is it supports the creation of a Knowledge Network . Like-minded users come together through Twitter to establish a nucleus of thought, creativity and knowledge. Twitter, unlike many other platforms, is extremely dynamic and enables fellow Tweeters to exchange thoughts rapidly.
There are probably many other benefits of Twitter I haven’t even thought of. I just know I love it as it is so convenient and well structured. How do you feel about it?