While some have begun criticizing Twitter Land, comparing it to a broadcast platform, others, like me, are still in learning mode. As a latecomer (Dec 08′), I could easily see what all the buzz was about. Getting the latest content in no time without having to search obsolete data bases or make a few phone calls or ask a researcher to do this one special favour.
Having this said, long-time users of forums, IM, Web messaging, data queries, surely found their way around this free service in a few clics. Take one or two contacts in your professional entourage and off you go. Just like on Facebook, you eavesdrop in your contact’s list and schmooze a little with flashy tweets, RTs. It’s a virtual “after-hours”.
The following outlines my observations and views.
What Twitter is not
I often come about studies that compare Twitter to Facebook. Nonsense. I may be wrong but I don’t think that they share the same position statement nore the same target market (yes, I still use this term from the past). Of course, there are social tweeters who tweet about their latest trip to the Cayman Islands (see my first post, written in French, my apologies) but most often than not, the ones I’ve met share a common goal: acquiring new business insight, e.g.What is the latest app that my follows are using and why? What social media strategy will company X be rolling out? Are retailers into mobile e-commerce?
Like in any open (and free) system, there are “good” and “bad” guys, real facts and rumours. It’s up to us to 1/draw on our experience 2/filter and 3/value those that demonstrate truthfulness. It’s content management, twitter-style. By doing so, you allow yourself to interact with people that you know (now or later) you can bring value to and conversely. Scratch your back, I’ll scratch yours, which leads me to my next point.
I mentioned earlier that Twitter is a virtual after-hours. Perhaps, but it doesn’t last! Unlike Facebook where you can sit back and watch your buddies clown around, I believe Twitter is a place to develop new knowledge and create opportunities. By opportunities, I don’t necessarily imply sales (nothing wrong with that but that’s not my specific goal) but simply cues that enable ideas which in turn, brings forth creativity. When that happens, I try not to miss a chance to twank those that inspired me and return my gratitude. It’s a win-win situation.
It’s a small world out there
A quick bio to make my point. Before the creation of Twitter, I relied on “traditional” networking like most of us. Plus having worked in Canada for the first part of my active life, this came with the job description. Hunky Dory.
I then headed to France to discover that Internet was underused, e-commerce a chilly matter, multi-channel or integrated customer centers unknown. I remember thinking “Great! I’m up to the challenge”. I was looking forward to putting my “American” experience, as they say, to good use. And so I did. The outcome was tremendous. I later moved to a small ‘silicon valley’ a few hours away from Paris. That valley was well known for its R and D. This is when I realised I better put my entrepreneur hat back on and restart networking. We’re now in 2007 and Facebook was only entering the French market (or was it the year next?). CRM technology was still “in”, CRM strategy still “out”. E-commerce was finally gaining trust. That year, I googled like crazy, in search of innovative ways to improve customer experience, what’s hype, what’s not.
This is when I landed on a social media blog presenting useful information on how to add “social” into the marketing mix. “Social” ? That blogger had been tweeting from the beginning. The free after-hour tour began for me. The first weeks, I observed patiently like an anthropologist would analyse its subjects to understand a phenomenon, followed by few awkward tweets here and there. My community was taking shape. You are attracted by those who think alike.
Needless to say that we were very few to use twitter and seen as odd creatures, to say the least. After a few months, I realized that my most recent follows had been in business with some of my earlier ones or that relationships were forming inside that community. Heck, I really doubt they went through my follows to see if we had any friends in common and then decided to follow! That’s the beauty of Twitter. I’m in France yet I know that two of my follows in the US have just signed a partnership deal. It makes for great discussions. Another reminder of how US business is so vibrant and full of innovative men and women.
Why do I care so much? 1/ I’m curious about everything and enjoy learning and 2/I have less then 200 follows which makes it easy to draw connections 😉
All this said and done, what’s next?
Twitter is a business and like many flourishing businesses, they may be rethinking their offer (free vs paid) or are they?
Have they mapped out our twitter behaviour, e.g. random tweeters, “not-for-profit” tweeters?
Will they make it more accessible with transparent guidelines (e.g. my mother cannot understand the settings tab)?
How is tracking measured (key words, frequency)?
I will look into this. Thxs for your time. I would appreciate your feedback (@dianay) or comments.