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Why I Heart Twitter More Every Day

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Yes folks, it's another Twitter post. Jason Pontin made me do it.

In an article in the Sunday NY Times Business Section, Pontin said that Twitter is basically a new digerati time-waster, a geek toy, etc, etc.
He says he's skeptical that Twitter'll ever become a sustainable business or a widespread platform. I think he's wrong.
Less is definitely more on Twitter. In answer to Twitter's only question of "What are you doing now?" information about projects, meetings, new clients, news, blog posts, books, movies, music and lots more shows up among tweets on my Twitter network. And it all fits just fine into 140 characters and a link.
Beyond networking, Twitter has great potential not only in news and networking, but in marketing of events and contests, and in project management.
You choose your friends in Twitter, and can elect to share your posts only with your contacts. (I zap people who talk about what they had for lunch because, well, who has time for that!) You have the opportunity to create a network that has instant interactivity and community, with online and mobile connectivity.
I see Twitter as essentially an update of videotex and Minitel, which didn't catch on with the US public when they were introduced in here in the 80s. Like videotex, Twitter is incredibly simple to use, requires no technical skills, and can be used any time you choose, any way you want. It could surely use search, and better archiving, but it's pretty cool the way it is.
Many bloggers and Twitterers have pointed out uses for Twitter, including:
Sharon Sarmiento lists several Twitter uses today.
Soyapi Mumba notes that "... Twitter provides a good alternative for people in countries where cell phone use is widespread but Internet access is not. "In Malawi for example, there are about 50,000 Internet users against about 700,000 mobile phone users out of a population of about 12 million."
Michael Specht lists lots of ways to use twitter, including for job hunting.
What are you doing with Twitter?

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B.L. Ochman is a social media marketing strategist for S&P 500 companies, including McGraw Hill, IBM, Cendant, and American Greetings. She publishes What's Next Blog and Ethics Crisis, where readers can confess their worst ethics transgressions and others can rate them on a scale of one to ten. She also blogs for MarketingProfs Daily Fix Blog.

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  • by Cam Beck Tue Apr 24, 2007 via blog

    If Twitter can replace meetings, I might become a believer. As of yet, I've not seen or heard of anyone actually using it so productively, though. On the other hand, the examples you cited are worth consideration. The Malawi case is especially compelling.

  • by John Whiteside Tue Apr 24, 2007 via blog

    The Malawi case would be compelling if we were hearing about people actually using Twitter, rather than conjecture about how it might be a useful way to send an SMS to a group of people (which you can do right now without Twitter).

  • by Cam Beck Tue Apr 24, 2007 via blog

    John - It's compelling as a potential use. If we were to use the standard that something is worthless unless people are already using it, we'd never explore anything new. I can think of a number of useful applications for it in countries that tend to control information that wants to be free. Can China block Twitter like they block certain Web sites? I'd like to explore ways that would make that impossible.

  • by Mark Goren Tue Apr 24, 2007 via blog

    I really liked this post at ConverStations a while back. Gives another great idea for Twitter use.

  • by B.L. Ochman Tue Apr 24, 2007 via blog

    Here's what my Twitter network was doing in 5 minutes this morning: - asking whether others have tried Expert Click, - pointing to interesting blog posts, - discussing errors by a Wired Mag journo, - learning that Blue Box just crossed 100,000 downloads of podcast episodes, - learning why Dell's second life campaign, "plant a tree for me," has gone south - learning that Amanda Chapel is a twitter "least favorite" poster All of that is helpful/useful to me as a marketer. I don't care who's having pizza for lunch at their office, or who's stuck behind a garbage truck, so i skip those tweets. I heart twitter a lot today. :%3E)

  • by Ann Handley Tue Apr 24, 2007 via blog

    I understand (intellectually) your love of it, BL... nice job laying out your argument. But honestly, I still find it really hard to separate the signal from noise on Twitter. Your examples above are good -- but I have to wade through so much "driving home -- lotta traffic!" and "drinking diet coke in the breakroom" stuff, that I can't quite feel the love you feel. Or maybe it's just me. (Quite possible.)

  • by Damon Billian Tue Apr 24, 2007 via blog

    Hi B.L., "I don't care who's having pizza for lunch at their office, or who's stuck behind a garbage truck, so i skip those tweets." Which is actually part of the problem. If you have too many people on your list, you get too many posts like the ones you mentioned above. I think Twitter has great potential ...but I also think that they need to provide users with more filtering options for it to be useful. A suggestion I made on my blog: Let the person making the tweet tag it personal or professional. If I choose to only receive tweets that are professional in nature, then that's all I would see & wouldn't have to filter out the noise. I also don't like folks calling it microblogging. is just another form of a messaging tool, such as SMS or IM.

  • by B.L. Ochman Tue Apr 24, 2007 via blog

    Ann: I remove people who consistently tell us what they ate for lunch, and the rest is often valuable. it's you and lots of other people too, but there also are a lot of us who love twitter. i believe i read it is doubling every few days. Damon: I see your point, but including the personal lets you get to know people who choose to include in your group. i wish there was search and several other features. i am one of the people who calls it microblogging. no need to write a whole post when all you really want to do it point to a link.

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