Saturday, March 14, 2009

Twitter - it's NOT "What you are doing?"

I have said in much earlier posts that Twitter needs to do a better job of explaining themselves better to new users. I recently saw a stat that as many as 68% who sign up (or visit) Twitter never come back. And recently as this morning I saw an CNN anchor poking fun (she didn't understand WHY anyone would want to know that you just choked or coughed while having lunch).

Twitter at some point in the past few months must have read one of my older blog posts - and subsequently, they posted a video on their home page to explain how Twitter works for new


Though this is a good first effort, they should realize that the TRUE value of Twitter is not always asking or answering "What are you doing?". While anyone is certainly free to use Twitter how they want - I can not help but think that for me the better Q&A is "What do I find interesting" or "What do other people in my 'trust' network find interesting?"

There is a key difference between the two, and though I welcome both, I tend to 'filter' out the noise. Once you build your Twitter network you will find that it becomes an invaluable source and wealth of information.

Using my own network as an example of this - I follow other people within my range of interests (Entrepreneurs , Marketing , Venture Capital , and Phoenix Arizona (since I now live here). How has Twitter helped me?

Using Twitter, I immediately know of almost every industry, or conference event. When I can not attend them, people I follow usually do - and do a fantastic job of "micro-casting" the event. It is almost as good as being there.

Using Twitter, I actually feel like I know people here in Phoenix. I have only attended a few network events - but there are MANY TWEETUPS and if you ever get the opportunity to attend, you will likely find as I have that 'face to face' the same people you have been tweeting with are just like friends you might have made using other methods in the past (i.e. childhood friends,school friends,etc).

Brands on Twitter are only beginning to scratch the surface of how they can use Twitter. If formally they marketed by sending out a press release - their new press release will be TWO WAY, VIRAL, and interactive.

Small business likely has the largest opportunity of all to leverage Twitter - and this will be the focus of my next post... You can be *alerted* when I blog next by following me on Twitter


Anonymous said...

Great post Andy. I was amazed @ the 68% number.

It's odd that Twitter is not really focusing on their users and how they interact. It's also odd that they basically haven't upgraded the features for so long.

Yes I've heard what their doing with search and trending but really isn't that like adding a couple of buttons for something u can already do?


tressalynne said...

I'm so glad you wrote this post! I find myself "defending" Twitter to non-users and explaining this exact point. It may have started as a "what are you doing" tool but has evolved into so much more!

Anonymous said...

I wish people that invented Web 2.0 applications would keep business in mind more often. Why is there so much obsession with being cutesy from the name to the uses of Twitter?

Twitter can be used to make business announcements to interested parties.

Business and money aren't evil.

Charles-A. Rovira said...

But Twitter is an extremely good tool for communication between "an overlord and his minions" about the status or % of completeness of a project and particular project tasks.