So why aren’t you on Twitter

So why aren’t you on Twitter

General | Judette Coward-Puglisi

April 23, 2009

 

It was the Fifth Summit of the Americas that really showed me the influential power of Twitter. 

Before then, I had used the microblogging platform to tweet the mundane: the sandwich that I ate, the friend that I just met or  the book I was reading.  I didn’t think anyone gave a darn but it as an easy format to use and I was experimenting.  At the end of my second month, just before the Summit began, I had about 52 followers and that was good enough for me since  I was more of a long format kind of writer: traditional blogging, even  facebooking my notes  suited me just fine.

But let me get back to the Summit. 

I was at the media centre when Brian Mc Farlane’s  cultural show got underway and because I had a small part to play in the execution, I wondered how others felt and so I asked my Twitter community: “ Are you wowed or bored?"  I posted my question on Tweetdeck  and got instant and interesting  feedback from 50  tweeters.  We (and others) formed a community right there and then by  retweeting comments, sharing opinions and engaging in a real and  seamless way.

It was there it dawned on me, I could use the microblogging format and break Summit news for the media centre, report on the action, clarify the big geo-political messages and aggregate opinion on a second–by=second basis in 140 words of less. At the end of the Fifth Summit, I was thanked by fellow Tweeters for creating a shared and  meaningful participatory experience and my twitter address at judettepuglisi had  a 150% increase in followers.

There is no doubt that this is the new way to communicate but to  truly understand the power of Twitter you have to view it through  its impact .  Twitter, like other social networks, Facebook and My Space, allows you to connect with friends and yes,  it can be narcissistic and vanity filled. But if you tweak  Twitter, “it can be like The Economist tailored to your individual interest – a steady stream of ideas and thoughts that will make you think. When properly configured, Twitter is the equivalent of working in an office surrounded only by people you find interesting and who care about the same things you do.”

That’s powerful,  because it means organisations  can create new and innovative ways to share information with their employees,  and businesses have another channel in which to niche and  direct messages  to target audiences in a very low cost way. In short, Twitter is a very efficient communication system and is a powerful new way for businesses to talk directly with their customers.

There are not a ton of local companies using twitter and that’s a pity. The upside is that many small businesses and entrepreneurs are adopting it and integrating it with their current marketing programmes. For big businesses, it is only now  just a matter of time.