9.04.2010

Twitter - past, present, and future. How do you "tweet"?

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase
I still recall the first time I read about Twitter. There was a brief blurb about the new social networking application in the Economist, and I immediately signed up for an account. At the time, I maintained a blog, but it was a real challenge getting detailed posts up on a regular basis (note: I'm on a 40+ day streak of continuous posts). I really liked the idea of micro-blogging. Giving short, informative updates about meaningful topics sprinkled with the occasional witty remark. Since its mainstream adoption, Twitter has blown up, and I find it noteworthy to reflect on the typical responses to Twitter.


The Social Media Addict - "I'm live blogging the Apple event. Now, I'm reviewing the new Android phone."

For those heavily invested in technology or who have always wanted to be a reporter, Twitter represents a chance to fire quick news items and potentially be noticed or read via search or through followers. Recently, Twitter got some mixed reviews for near real time news coverage of events throughout the world at the cost of fact-checking. In education, teachers could "tweet" homework assignments or last minute changes in scheduling among other uses. Korean BBQ trucks let their customers know of locations, specials, and items that sell out. In the end, it comes down to who follows you and what they expect from you as a Twitterer.


The Comedian - "So, what's this Twitter thing all about? How do you 'tweet' something?"

This post was prompted by a rerun of the Ellen show with Sharon Osbourne (I was cleaning while the pregnant wife was watching). During the interview, Twitter came up, and Ms. Osbourne proceeded with the above line of humor. I would personally like to suggest retiring this joke, as it was seems to have outlasted its welcome. Now, if you're going to come up with something a bit more creative like Conan's Twitter Tracker, then I'd say you're onto something. Until then, the "it's what all the kids are doing" or "should I be 'tweeting' right now?" joke references can be kept on the shelf.

The Honest Abe - "I just don't understand why anyone cares when you're going to the bathroom."

Instead of taking the comedic route, this response clearly points out the flaw in Twitter. Exactly who cares about your daily happenings? I can half heartedly see how people want to follow celebrities. It's the same as reading up on People magazine or watching Entertainment Tonight. We feel like we are there with Brangelina, Oprah, or Ashton. However, I feel that this must get old after oh, about an hour or so, and then comes the realization that the average human is so far removed from the lives of the rich and famous. I will say that a fun car game involves reading a Tweet (in a celebrity's voice), and having other passengers guess the Tweeter. Try it with Tila Tequila now.

The Media Saavy Marketer - "BOGO", "75% off airfares to Springfield, IL!"

This is perhaps the most realistic and practical use of Twitter as we move forward. Companies looking for a quick, easy, and affordable way to get marketing promotions out to the masses simply need to start a Twitter account and post some "Tweet" deals. I've followed various companies ranging from United Airlines to Berry Chill with the hopes of scoring a coupon or a "can't be beat" deal. I also enjoyed creative contests like the one for the Droid X this summer, where they implemented a nationwide scavenger hunt for the new phones. Twitter can compete with Facebook fan pages, though the latter has a distinct advantage of being more widely accepted, and Twitter still being the butt of various jokes (see above).

All of that being said, you're welcome to follow me @Chanatown. The question is: what kind of response will you have?

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