Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Demystifying Twitter



It is almost about three months since I first opened my account with Twitter. I was told by Mr. Dorai Thodla that it is great marketing tool.

So while I opened the account, I watched the video describing how Twitter can be used to keep in touch with your loved ones. Apprise others of what you are doing in mere 140 words, people following could respond to you. It sounded interesting but I was wondering how this tool to be used for marketing purposes is. Anyway, I was reminded of what Naru, whom I consider as my Guru, used to say. He said if you do not understand something, just do the motions and after a while you will comprehend. So, I went along. Used Twitter trying to figure out how it can be used effectively.

While trying to figure out how Twitter is to be used I went through couple of URLs, which I have posted earlier.

In my opinion Twitter is an online message board, micro blog and a social networking site.

Basics of Twitter

The fundamental is Following and Followers. It is simple. Following is a list of people whom you follow and followers are those who follow you. That isn't rocket science, is it? What we need to understand is that when one posts a message, those who follow, will receive the message. Similarly, one will receive the messages in one’s home page from people whom they follow.

So your screen is your message board. Choose the people based on the information you would like to receive and start getting updates.

Please follow the maxim: I scratch your back, you scratch mine. This is the best way to increase your following.

The change

While Twitter, I believe, was meant for personal use (like Orkut, Facebook…), it has fast transformed into a business application. It is being used by individuals and organizations to promote themselves.

This is not to say that Orkut and Facebook are not used for business purposes. Last week, I attended a webinar organized by 20:20 MEDIA, the leading IT PR firm in India and my ex-employer, on Using Facebook for Business. Mr. Dave Evans (evansdave), the author of “Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day" spoke on how to use Facebook for business purposes and provided some examples. But of course, he mentioned that Facebook was more effective in B2C scenario.

I must point out that LinkedIn is the best networking site for B2B.

The challenge

Here is one more tool.



According to a post in Tech Crunch, Twitter has about 1+ million users, with about 3 million messages posted per day.

Of course, I am very confident that the number of users in India at this point of time would be miniscule.

So who is using Twitter in India? Yes, I do. The Hindu Business Line Life had an interesting article last week. It states that Rahul Gandhi, Narendra Modi and Lalu Prasad Yadav also use Twitter.

I sure think we have a problem of plenty. We have mails, chats, social networking sites. On the other hand, we also have traditional media – TV, Radio, Newspaper... Interestingly, whether personal and professional networking site, there is a Twitter-like facility.



But like a true Web 2.0 tool, Twitter does seem to provide some real time interaction and that too with a live person.

Twitter, in the course of time, may also become a spammer’s delight. Because there are restrictions on how much you can feed into the message box, it is now primarily used to direct traffic to another site – the tiny URL.

Why would I follow or get followed?

The million-dollar question!

Simple, if you want to use Twitter for personal use, just use your address book and invite everyone. Block anyone else. Voila, you have your own Twitter space.

But if you want to use Twitter for professional or business purposes, you have to do bit of introspection. Once, you have decided what you want from Twitter, do a keyword search. Click and verify if you have searched the right person. If yes, click ‘follow’ and soon, your home page becomes their message board.

Please remember, there is no obligation to follow anyone who follows you. Similarly do not assume that because you are following someone, that person would follow you. It is better to be choosy. But if you are in there to win popularity contest, just keep clicking follow and hope others would do too.

I do not know if Twitter is just a fad? Whether it is here to stay? Will it replace other tools we have – website, email, chat or mobile sms?

At this point, it is attracting many. Flow with it, keep experimenting.

And, finally, one more link on 17 ways to use Twitter!
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