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To twitter or not to twitter…

Today I am going to discuss the merits of using Twitter for personal and business uses. Twitter has taken the world by storm, so much that it has become an important marketing tool for celebrities, politicians and businesses. But why is it such a powerful tool?

Twitter was released late 2006/early 2007 and since then has gained immense popularity. The service allows you to post messages of up to 140 characters (the character limit for an SMS message) for your followers to view. Although this may seem like a limitation it allows people to SMS twitter updates to their followers anywhere and anytime.

Twitter for Business
The ability to broadcast a message simultaneously to hundreds/thousands/millions of users has its advantages especially when it comes to advertising. Politicians are one such group of users who have used the service to broadcast their campaigns to their followers. Barack Obama, is an example of a politician who used Twitter quite successfully in his campaign to win over many voters, (Condon, 2008). For politicians, Twitter is a way of sharing their personal thoughts and becoming closer to their supporters. It is a method of showing their “human-ness”. You can follow Barack Obama at:  http://twitter.com/BarackObama

Businesses also use Twitter to broadcast promotions, specials, new product lines and so on to their customers such as Google. The tweets are short and to the point giving customers instant information. The tweet isn’t “overselling” the company’s brand but simply providing the best offers to their customers. On the other hand, Twitter is used by some companies to alert their customers of failures in service. An example that some of us are quite familiar with is TransLinkSEQ. It is handy for customers to receive these updates via their internet-capable mobile device and stay up to date on the latest news/offers.

Twitter for the Individual
On a more personal note, Twitter is used by many to update friends on their status. Personally, I don’t feel the need to let people know what I’m doing every moment of the day, but for some this has become part of their life not only with Twitter but other applications such as Facebook and MySpace. I still need persuading as to whether or not Twitter will benefit me personally as a tool for updating my friends, however, if I ever need to promote myself to the wider community; it is hard to go past Twitter. Let me know if you have an opinion on this. Are you using Twitter between friends? Maybe you can give me some good reasons to finally give in and jump on the band wagon.

I found a great blog about “selectively ignoring” twitter content or users that don’t appeal to you and focusing on the relevant content here. Mike Lewis discusses how he finds his information on Twitter (Lewis, 2009).

After doing some more research, I’ve also found that Twitter will soon be released on the Xbox 360 (Microsoft, 2009). As well as Facebook, Last.FM and Zune video. Twitter is taking over the world. Maybe I will use it now on my Xbox 360. I don’t have Twitter on my phone so via the Xbox 360 it will be easier and more convenient than visiting http://twitter.com

Feel free to follow me on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/benmccallum maybe one day I’ll tweet something useful :).

Also, feel free to comment this blog with your thoughts about Twitter. Is it useful? How do you use it?

References
Condon, S. (2008). Barack Obama Dominates Twitter. Retrieved, August 13, 2009, from, http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-10016399-93.html

Facebook, Twitter Coming to Xbox Live on the 360. Retrieved, August 13, 2009, from, http://www.joystiq.com/2009/06/01/facebook-twitter-on-xbox-live-this-fall/

Microsoft. (2009). Dashboard Updates: Xbox Live Update. Retrieved, August 13, 2009, from, http://www.xbox.com/en-US/support/systemupdates/default.htm

Twitter. (2009). Twitter. Retrieved, August 13, 2009, from http://twitter.com/

Lewis, M. (2009). Selectively Ignore: It’s OK to “Tune Out” on Twitter. Retrieved, August 18, 2009, from, http://www.awarenessnetworks.com/default.asp?item=2401035

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