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Twitter, Twitter – What’s it all about – and can it help your organization? (04 Oct 09)

A mountain of useless trivia – or a useful weapon? Life moves pretty fast – and so does Twitter - so you need to keep up

You must have heard about Twitter. Perhaps you use it yourself.

It’s all the rage right now, though it hasn’t made any money for its owners. They say it’s because they are concentrating on building up their audience. This is exactly what Amazon did. They lost squillions for years before they made a penny

But it’s everywhere. First Stephen Fry is the biggest Twitterer, and now it seems Gordon Brown’s wife Sarah is. It may have changed by the time you read this. But what should you know about it?

Surprisingly, young people are not big Twitter fans.

For them social media are a place to have their own identity on the Internet so it doesn’t go down too well if they bump into their parents! They want a private space free of older people.

But first, let’s define what we’re talking about

What is Twitter? Why do people use it?

Twitter began in 2006 as an experiment in instant communication.

It lets you write and read messages of up to 140 characters, or the very length of this sentence, including all punctuation and spaces.

Messages can be sent or received from a computer or a mobile phone.

People use it for a variety of reasons. It’s a bit like asking why people use SMS to text messages. They do it for all sorts of reasons

People can view each other’s Twitter updates by searching for specific keywords or by following their accounts. So if you are interesting to people on Twitter, they’ll choose to view your updates. The reverse is also true: people may stop following you just as easily.

What isn’t known very widely though is that organizations are beginning to use it as a way to see what their customers are saying about them and to communicate with them.

To illustrate my point I would like to ask you to do something. Please go now to www.backtweets.com and type in the URL of your organization.

Did anything come up? If not try one of your partner organizations.

If you still find nothing, try one of these two addresses:


You can see what people are saying about these organizations as well information that they are providing themselves.

I was careful to choose two organizations which hadn’t attracted any bad publicity recently on Twitter. It does happen frequently so this is another reason for organizations to keep an eye on what’s happening.

Now organizations are also using Twitter to send information to their customers. Have a look here to see how Carphone are using Twitter.

Because of the sudden interest by organizations in Twitter, they have launched a special free guide for the business users, Twitter 101.

This is why I am writing to you - so that you can have a look at this phenomenon yourself.

Get a free guide by clicking here.

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