Last week it was Youtube that I talked about, this week it’ll be Twitter. I noticed that for the past few days, a number of my batchmates are joining the ‘bandwagon,’ so I realized that this phenomenon might be a good blog post.
I joined Twitter just this summer. One of my tasks as an intern at Yehey was supposedly to monitor social networking accounts of two clients, but because I was dependent on the WiFi connection which blocked Facebook at random times, for the most part I monitored the Twitter accounts. I felt that I need to know the mechanisms of Twitter before I handled the accounts, so I signed up and keyed in my very first tweet.
Tw-orrysome. Not. Or maybe.
I actually have a lot of worries with signing up on Twitter. For one, I was not inclined to communicate in 140 characters – I quitted Plurk years back because I felt restricted with a limited set of characters for every plurk (plus I get depressed every time my karma went down). Also, I feared that I might overcommunicate by tweeting every moment of my life – what I’m doing, eating, reading; where I am and who I am with; and what I think.
Now that I’m in the circle, I realized that I am not as attached to Twitter as I am to Facebook (there are even weeks when I completely forget to check my account). I really do not overcommunicate, but I feel more free to post things because I have a relatively small network. There are instances, though, when I violate the quantity maxim when I keep on tweeting and retweeting about Glee. I connected my account to Twitlonger so I can tweet for more than 140 characters, but I have always worked on that limitation.
The major thing I have until now against it is that my friends on Facebook are the same people on Twitter, and a lot of them just cross posts so a single status appears on both feeds. Given that, I could have left Twitter after my internship, but why did I decide to keep it?
News feed and conversations
Twitter has the Facebook news feed and more. I mentioned that I have the same networks there, but I kept my account because here, I can follow people who for me are interesting, like the cast of Glee, Christian B, Taylor Swift, among others – celebrities whose Facebook statuses sound formal and different as against their tweets. In Twitter, they are real, you can tag them and talk to them or DM them and they will reply. I also follow accounts of news outlets, so before the news hits the news flash, I already knew and retweeted it. In fairness to Twitter, it does not market itself as a networking site but as a consolidation of anything happening anywhere.
Now, on an organizational perspective, what can be the benefits of Twitter? Let me enumerate some.
1. Twitter can easily reflect the pulse of the people.
By using the Twitter search, managers can get real-time feel of what and how people think about their product or company. There are also external sites like TweetFeel that reflect how positive or how negative are tweets containing your search query, so it definitely saves time, effort, and money. And let me just add that Filipinos can make trending topics on Twitter for hours, even days.
2. It can be an avenue for conversations.
The 140-character limit of Twitter is useful in making sure that posts wouldn’t appear like corporate pages – it is conversation-friendly and gives way to more relevance in tweets between the company and the consumer. I remember our case study on use of social media, KFC Philippines and their abandoned Twitter account – I felt that its potential for quality feedback and suggestions was wasted.
3. Twitter connects organizations with other organizations.
Twitter, unlike Facebook, is not hierarchical – there are no groups and pages, only accounts, so you can follow other organizations and people which tweets might have a stake on you in the future, like ANCnews, the weather bureau, celebrity endorsers, and other influential people.
4. It is geared to help YOU.
Because Twitter anticipates how big it will be in the next few years, it has Twitter 101 to help businesses cope with Twitter – complete with best practices and case studies (of business Twitter accounts, of course!). Reader-friendly, no gobbledygook, no fooling around.
It’s probably safe to say that never in history that we regarded exchanges in 140 characters as this helpful and useful. Twitter, in two years, will be the pulse of the world with expected 1 billion users. It might be good to sign up now.