Is Twitter for twits?
Posted Sunday, November 30th, 2008 by Neil EdwardsI have generally avoided too much comment on social networking in this blog as it is amply provided for elsewhere. My colleague, Sam McArthur, posts some excellent content in her Savvy Marketers blog, which we include in our blog list.
Twitter, however, is one phenomenon that leaves me increasingly bamboozled as to what its best use might be.
For the uninitiated, Twitter is a social networking tool that asks the simple question ‘what are you doing?’ You then have 140 characters to say exactly that. You can ‘tweet’ as many times as you like and cover things as inane as putting the kettle on to as profound as saving the world. You can follow other twitters and other twitters follow you.
I signed on to Twitter in August in the interests of exploration and since then have miraculously acquired 12 followers. 10 of the 12 I have never met in my life. Quite why they are interested in what I have to say, I don’t know, but they are welcome. There was a mini-surge in followers after I posted a Squidoo lens on Corporate Social Responsibility, which, in itself, provides a clue as to the types of people who are sharing their lives on Twitter. Rather sinisterly, I have received 3 notifications this morning of new followers whose profiles I discover are under investigation by Twitter for strange activity. I’m not sure what this means, but it makes me cautious.
Some discernment is required in deciding who to follow. Blindly agreeing to follow anybody who follows you only leads to your Twitter page being filled with rubbish. I am following 4 people: the best user is Ethics Blogger, aka Chris McDonald, who provides regular tweets on ethical malpractice that he discovers around the world. I only wish I had time to read more of what he promotes. LouiseBJ on the other hand shares with us that she is logging on in the morning, un-jamming the printer and logging off at night. Very chatty and Louise is no doubt posting some very useful tweets amongst all this minutiae. They are, however, lost and I for one don’t have time to sort the wheat from the chaff.
The Marketing Eye tweets have generally been business focused, covering promotion of posts on this blog, developments with clients and recommendations of services or web content that I have discovered. Perhaps this is too straight-laced, but I want anything that I impose on the rest of the world to add value in some way.
As marketers we have a responsibility to explore and be at the leading edge of new methods of communication. At the same time, we have to avoid undermining our profession with the promotion of activities that won’t deliver a commercial return for our clients.
So, where are the business-related benefits?
- Twitter for common interest groups could provide some payback: the prompt and succinct sharing of information and updates with agreed terms of engagement about what is to be posted would aid communication and not waste people’s time with nonsense.
- I can see too, that Twitter has benefits as an online PR tool as it is very popular with journalists. This then demands the same focus on quality as would be applied to a press release. I don’t see ‘The dog needs a leak’ cutting it as a press release, so why should it cut it anymore as a tweet?
- As a brand builder, Twitter can reveal the person behind the company. This will only become genuinely useful, however, when Twitter is adopted beyond the world of marketers and social entrepreneurs. A client in the demolition industry will need some convincing that they need to start tweeting to reveal the human side of their brand to their target audience.
The clue for Twitter, and large parts of other social networking media, is in the title. I read in yesterday’s Guardian that Twitter has been used extensively in India over recent days to appeal for blood for the injured in Mumbai. This is an undeniably brilliant use of the facility. Barak Obama used Twitter widely in his presidential campaign to mobilise the population to vote. If it can enfranchise the disenfranchised, we are looking at something very powerful indeed.
Some forms of communication are designed to be ‘social’ and need to remain that way. Care and moderation needs to be applied when seeking to exploit them for commercial purposes.
Posted Sunday, November 30th, 2008 by Neil Edwards
Other Articles In This Category
- Is it ever OK to buy Social Media likes for your business?
Is it ever OK to buy Social Media likes for your business? The Facebook ‘Like' and the Twitter follower have created a universe of online marketing... read more
3rd of February 2013 by Neil Edwards
- Facebook page post frequency versus engagement - is there a winning formula?
Vanessa Thomas and Neil Edwards of The Marketing Eye look at the level of activity needed to turn Facebook into a central component of your content... read more
24th of November 2012 by Neil Edwards
- Spelling DOES matter
Over the past few days, I have been watching an increasingly heated exchange on Twitter about whether spelling and grammar on this particular social media platform... read more
25th of August 2012 by Angela Ward
- Sourcing a social media manager? Here are seven essential qualities to look for
Social media is revolutionizing the way businesses connect to their customers and prospects. As this marketing channel grows, many companies are playing... read more
21st of August 2012 by Samantha Cuff
- Work Experience: What I've learned about Twitter
Year 10 Work Experience student, Luke Johnson, shares what he's learned about Twitter during his time with The Marketing Eye. During my time working with The... read more
6th of July 2012 by Neil Edwards
- Why The last thing Twitter needs is brand guidelines
So Twitter has gone and issued brand guidelines. The question is why? I remember (and once believed in) the first commandment of brand management - 'Thou... read more
7th of June 2012 by Neil Edwards
- Starting your Social Networking journey - a guide for Professional Services firms
With a few exceptions, the professional services sector is still proving itself reluctant to embrace social media. A lack of understanding, a fear of the... read more
22nd of January 2012 by Neil Edwards
- So why build a Facebook fan base?
We are approaching 1,000 'likes' on our Facebook page and, as a team, we have more than 1,000 followers on Twitter too. These are modest numbers by... read more
14th of January 2012 by Neil Edwards
- Social media: necessity or luxury for B2B marketing? - You decide
Inspired by yet another great post from Debra Collins at Pennsylvania based B2B and professional services marketing specialists, Marketri, I am encouraged to... read more
9th of October 2011 by Neil Edwards
- Social Media and the teenage target market
Gabrielle Randall, a work experience student with The Marketing Eye, gives her view on how businesses should be using Facebook to engage her generation. According... read more
29th of July 2011 by Gabrielle Randall
- Accounting firms can use Twitter effectively
Our 100th post is a guest post by Debbie Andrews, Owner and Managing director of Marketri, a provider of outsourced marketing services in Doyleston PA. Are you... read more
14th of April 2011 by Neil Edwards
- Social media for Accountants: an opportunity for publicity or a threat to your practice?
Martin Pollins, founder of Bizezia and a client of The Marketing Eye, shares his thoughts on the use of social media by professional services firms. Earlier this... read more
23rd of January 2011 by Neil Edwards
- Tweeting about a revolution
As the events in Iran unfold, we are witnessing what many will claim to be the first Twitter enabled revolution: a situation where the social networking tool is... read more
21st of June 2009 by Neil Edwards
- Not such a twit after all
A few months ago I posted about Twitter and asked if Twitter is for twits: a fair question at the time and reflective of my healthy cynicism towards anything that... read more
17th of March 2009 by Neil Edwards
Technorati is the leading blog search engine and said to be the mecca of all bloggers. In the interests of exploring every frontier for our clients, we've... read more
26th of October 2008 by Neil Edwards