What does the business media think about Twitter? Three stories will help you understand.
A Deep Dive into Twitter
1) Time Magazine’s cover article “How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live” starts out with one of the best first lines I’ve ever read about Twitter:
“The one thing you can say for certain about Twitter is that it makes a terrible first impression…”
And it goes on to talk about the incredible innovation that’s happened around the Twitter platform in the past two years, with more than 11,000 applications built using Twitter - my favorite example on NPR a couple of weeks ago was one that helps plants Tweet when they need water - and the fact that users created the @ reply convention that turned Twitter from a broadcast-only medium to a conversation medium.
….And don’t get me started about the usefulness of hashtags - which Twitter users also came up with - capturing events or topics for immediate recall. Take a look at the #140tc conference tweets from a couple of weeks ago for an example of a Twitter conference unfolding before your eyes.
Editors Embrace Twitter
2) A little blurb from The Daily Beast that covers the fact that Twitter usage - via TweetDeck - has taken down the NY Times computer system:
“Further proof that print-based communication are on their way out? At the offices of The New York Times, Twitter usage has become so rampant that it brought down the Gray Lady’s computer system…. NYT stopped short of actually discouraging the use of Twitter, promising to look for an alternative that is “both safe and easy to use, for both casual and power users.” Admitting you have a problem is the first and hardest step.” - Gawker
Anyone who thinks editors and analysts don’t use Twitter is completely and utterly wrong. So marketers better learn how to use this medium to reach the media.
Hint: a pitch in 140 characters is a complete relief to most journalists!
How Twitter Compares to Other Social Networks
3) And then there’s the Harvard Business Review weighing in on Twitter’s usage and demographics, telling us:
“Twitter’s usage patterns are also very different from a typical on-line social network. A typical Twitter user contributes very rarely. Among Twitter users, the median number of lifetime tweets per user is one. This translates into over half of Twitter users tweeting less than once every 74 days.
….At the same time there is a small contingent of users who are very active. Specifically, the top 10% of prolific Twitter users accounted for over 90% of tweets. On a typical online social network, the top 10% of users account for 30% of all production.”
To sum up all three articles, we are only beginning to see the innovation and usage of Twitter. Just as the media jumped into the blogosphere years before business did, so are they jumping into the Twitterverse. Apparently Robert Scoble said the following at the #140tc conference (I saw it quoted from my desk here in Portland, and it’s been haunting me since):
“…we are at the command-line era of Twitter.”
What You can Do About Twitter
So what should people do about it? Well, first, go grab your brand’s handle on Twitter. I’d argue that that’s what’s driving most of the HBR’s findings… people are gearing up, trying to find meaning, and preparing to get over that first awful impression.
I’ll be covering how to get started on Twitter in a full-day, hands-on social media workshop June 19 here in Portland.
Would love to have you join us and learn how to get started so it suits you and your business.