6 little things on why I <3 twitter and why you should be a part of it
Twitter is where it’s at! Geeksville has flocked
Twitter is an absolute phenomenon, it’s redefining and shaping so many things, you only have to look at its growth in trend tools like google insights or Google trends to get an idea of its ever accelerating popularity.
UK search volume index
UK Twitter use 2008
It already has close to 20 million pages within the Google search results and is growing daily.
Site: command showing number of pages indexed in Google.com
Estimates of Twitter users fluctuate wildly. In April 2008 Techcrunch estimated their numbers at 1 million + today, it’s considerably higher. I attempted to find out in Google but drew a blank and the Twitter blog wasn’t much help either, so I tweeted and asked for help, guess what…
@robwatts Twittercounter claims to be tracking around 2.5 mi llion accounts
Whatever way you cut it, 1 million 2.5 million, 4 million are all pretty big numbers with a huge potential to tip.
Celebs like Jonathan WRoss (@wossy) are also seeing the value and are threatening to take it mainstream by ‘outing’ it upon his return to the BBC on the 23rd of January.
Ross referencing @stephenfry on the 7th Jan 2008
Technorati shows that Twitter mentions in blog posts are also on the rise. The chart below shows a direct comparison between Digg (a popular geek web site) and twitter.
At the time of writing this post, in the last week alone Twitter had received mentions in no less than 240 citations on the bbc.co.uk website, 185 in the telegraph.co.uk site, 430 in the guardian.co.uk, and 135 in the dailymail.co.uk.
Newspapers it seems are almost running scared, at least those journalists who fail to understand it are, preferring to lambast and deride rather than see it for the revolutionary way of communicating that it is.
Twitter is great for brand engagement and management
The buzz generated across the social spectrum by twitter hasn’t gone unnoticed by savvy companies either. Twitter offers up an excellent opportunity for companies to connect directly with their consumers and stakeholders. Twitter has an excellent search feature (formerly summize.com) which means you can search for brand mentions and either put out any fires before they start or build a relationship with the customer or person discussing your product.
Twitter is an excellent means of using site authority too. Got a brand management problem? Get on twitter, register your brand and leverage twitters buzz to help push any negative news downwards.
A look at search for the well known search marketer Danny Sullivan shows the twitter authority factor in action.
Twitter gives access to networks
Need to find people interested in your niche? No problem, simply search for a related word in twitter search and find hundreds of people tweeting on your topic. A search for SEO as an example shows a list of people who have mentioned SEO in their tweets. With a little legwork and an examination of their followers and who it is they follow you can quickly find people with related interests. Whilst this isn’t a perfect model, it will for specific niche terms give you insight and access to people you might otherwise have had to have spent hours researching.
Twitter is a great social tool
Twitter is one of those communication tools that can be a fantastic asset in terms of building connections and enhancing relationships with those you already have. Be it with friends, colleagues, prospects or clients twitter offers you the opportunity to connect and share in ways that previously were simply not possible. You can plug your twitter stream into other social accounts, facebook and friendfeed. You can plug it in to your blog and simultaneously update your blog on the fly as you tweet. You can share pictures with friends, connect via text directly to a users twitter message account. It’s a two way process too. Most non UK twitter users can connect for free via text message in a two way interchange meaning that friends (people you’ve added) can send message to your phone via the twitter DM system.
But for me, the real power in twitter is in the opportunities it gives us all to connect to a wider range of people in a broader geographical space in a multitude of social and business environments. You can use twitter in ways that best suits you and you alone. Want to spam your network and followers? Boom, the choice is yours? Prefer to nurture and grow your network then boom, your choice again. Through being social and engaging with like minded people, you really can forge useful meaningful relationships, be they business or social.
Twitter is a great promotional tool
The final reason for the purposes of this post at least, is that Twitter is a great way of pushing a message out – It enables for direct access to the twitter streams of your followers, putting your message directly before them.
How you choose to construct your message and the relative success of your message depends on many factors of course. None of us want to do things for selfish or unhelpful people, it’s not a take take take phenomenon. Like many other social media platforms out there your success or failure to promote what it is you do, or who you are, or a service or message that you think people might benefit from is, at the end of the piece, dependent upon your ability to communicate and connect to others.
Be they power users with big networks and influence, or general users with smaller more tightly focused followings your message simply won’t fly if you don’t have presence and connectivity.
Twitter is a revolution
I make no bones about it. To me, twitter is amazing. It’s like web 3 offering up endless possibilities to break strangleholds and reshape the communications and search mould.
It’s invigorated the whole tech space and has generated excitement and buzz across the spectrum. Iphone apps like tweetie, twitterfon, twitterific, twinkle all enable for constant interaction be you walking or sitting on a bus or train. if you have a bit of 3g then you can continue building and sharing or just plain having fun with it all.
Don’t get me wrong not everyone ‘gets it’ some look at it and think WTF? Like a colleague remarked the other day on my status update around sticking a chicken in the oven to feed the kids, it was hard for him to understand where the value in that lay. Heck in lots of ways he’s right too, a bit like my drunken tweets repleat with pictures and my various trials and tribulations, but yet for many this is the whole attraction of twitter. Twitter enables for access to all manner of whatever it is we choose to share – its a part of the human condition to want to know, explore, laugh and cry. maybe in todays busy busy time starved world, tools like twitter allow us to use these pauses within our lives to say something random, to put it out there, to micro blog, to micro interact even.
I can’t recall the last time I personally got so zealous and bought in to a product that is, by and large a glorified bulletin board wih pictures.
I’m reminded of a discussion with @davefreeman the other day on the walk to Sainsburys to pick up some lunch, we talked about times of old the MSN Chatrooms whereby everyone there was randomly talking to people they knew nothing about screaming “ASL” or some other less charitable form of ape cry. The history is that MSN on the back of public concerns around children and paedophilles generated by tabloids hungry for headlines on the advice of legal counsel pouring tales of grief and woe, elected to shut them down. I’m not saying that twitter is in any way a replacement; it isn’t thats clear. But if we take the enagement that msn chatrooms had and broaden the reason out a little, then we can safely draw a conclusion that people like to connect and communicate. Twitter ramps that up a little and connects the offline worlld with the on. That’s powerful.
Like this post? Follow me on twitter I’m @robwatts.
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Twitter is a communication phenomenon
Remember those things called blogs? The things that enabled people to publish their thoughts and share their passions , enthusiasms and ideas with the world?
It’s moving on apace, it seems that every cat and his dog is doing the tweet thing lately, and if it aint raw tweets then its tweets with flickr links or blip links or qiks or 12second or …(insert any other aspect of the broadcast your personality type of media we have today).
I’m undecided if its a symptom of some kind of fucked up state of I want to be a celebrity lemme into here or just some kind of natural evolution of phones and texts and communication generally. Celebs like Stephen Fry are tweeting, people like John Cleese are seesmicing, and the interesting thing about these guys is that yup, they are middle aged men. Not some hip 20 or 30 something techno nerds, but mainstream mass media global figures. Ok, so Stephen Fry might not be the real Stephen Fry (though he says he is) but it’s indicative of a certain something and an interesting recognition from them at least that this thing we all take for granted and love is on the verge of mass market take up.
Tweeting is so addictive
What struck me as I drove along in my car is that I’ve become one of these people who tweets almost incessantly, one of the few places I don’t is in my car or in my sleep, and of course when I’m working very hard (hi guv’nor) .
I don’t yet do the whole qik thing or twitpic thing cos, I haven’t gotten that granular yet and I don’t yet have a phone that is really suitable for it (god help me if I ever do) but lots of people do. I tweet when I’m up I tweet when I’m drunk, I tweet on the train, over my morning coffee, my walk to work, my walk home and sometimes when I’m in bed unable to sleep.
I’m not alone either, take girlonetrack an interesting person who defines herself as a sex blogger, she sometimes qiks aspects of her life as it happens. If you happen to follow her twitter stream you’ll get insights into her and who she is, her hopes, her humours, her fears, the types of events she hangs at, who she hangs with etc etc blah.
Now, in a world of shit TV, stuff like this can be interesting, and the beauty of it is that one day, you might just have 1000′s of ‘channels’ to choose from. This stuff really is going to continue to shake the whole entertainment/communications industry is ways we just haven’t really thought right through yet.
Tweknology has driven it
It’s like the bar has been raised and like aspects before it, the technology has enabled it.
In the pre web 2 world, I would be able to read a blog and get personal or professional insights that way. A person could either switch me on or switch me off, dependant upon how crap or how brilliant their posts were. Following a lot of people this way via feeds and stuff was limited in that, I could only follow so many people and read so many posts at any given time. Today though it’s all changed.
The whole micro blogging climate of twitter allows me to get the zing on far more many people. I can laugh or pity with the ridiculousness of some peoples self absorbed narcissism I can read and follow the highs and lows of start ups I can spot new ideas and trends in the market, moods and perceptions of opinion formers in the space. I can banter with colleagues, exchange ideas with respected peers offer people solace, share my highs, my lows, my exasperations all in one simple place, it’s healthy , it’s productive, it’s communicative. It enables me to interact with others in ways that might otherwise of been extremely difficult. People can either back @ me or just ignore me, it doesn’t really matter. I can communicate directly with people who might just otherwise filter me out, it doesn’t matter if they ignore me, or engage me (although the engagement part is preferable) the point of it all is that I can on some level communicate an idea a thought or a process – heck this very post will also ping my twitter stream too. My facebook page has a twitter embed which means that my tweets are posted to my facebook status updates. My offline friends have even asked me if I’m ok, having seen multiple facebook status updates from me in short timeframes of varying perspectives! This very blog has a further tie in with twitter too, evident in my sidebar to the right.
I know others who use it for a means of talking with others in various areas. They tweet their locations, or their plans, they have tweet ups and go on the twiss its used to network and draw strands together, make new friendships.
Yup, no shit I love twitter. Twitter rocks.
Twoogle likes it too
None of this has been lost on those folks at Google either, and if you ever wanted an insight into the freshness aspect of the algo, just go look at a serp or two for various tweeples names; look at the speed in which the tweets are being referenced, it’s awesomely quick.
Twammers love it too
The myriad of platforms that exist that use the twitter API are a boom time for content creationists too. Some clever mother fudders have seen the potentials and have come up with ways of creating multiple twit accounts and as a result are parasiting on the thing to get those old trusty back links to their spam and crap. A shame of course, but a takeaway of this is that it shows that if used legitimately, it does of course offer all manner of opportunities for brand or product development, as whilst links are often tinyurlised in peoples tweets and slapped up with nofollows, the obverse is true in apps seeking to re-orientate the content.
As for the Twuture
Who really knows how this thing will all evolve, it wouldn’t susrpise me if one day, some people start qiking from their cars via specially adapted cams stuck to their dashboards with an on switch on their steering wheels directly streaming via their satnav hookup, baseball caps that hook direct to their 12second streams pinging back to their tweet streams, a day when we can all just tap into each others lives.