I feel ambiguous posting this blog entry about Twitter.
To some degree, that’s because so many people feel ambiguous about Twitter that it is hard to get excited about it. It doesn’t have the clout of practical power that Google has, nor the rushing momentum of Facebook. Speaking of which, according to various statistics more people are playing farming games on Facebook than Tweeting.
And that is just the kind of silly factoid that makes the Twitter phenomenon a somewhat amorphous one at best. There is YouTube – in every office in the country someone somewhere is saying, “Hey, did you see that video?” as another one goes viral. In every office in the country someone is getting in trouble for being on Facebook instead of Excel. But Twitter?
And yet, and yet….
That little bird not only won’t go away, it has some interesting uses. Travelers watch airlines Tweets looking for special deals. Celebrities communicate with their fans in a rush of tweets from clubs, from movie sets, from recording studios. A politician just announced his bid for the presidency first on Twitter.
So where does Twitter fit into your life? As with all social media it is entirely up to you. Here are some ways I can think of:
- If you are a hobbyist, follow that topic on Twitter
- If you are a seeker of knowledge, follow a guru’s Tweets
- If you love deals, follow your favorite stores and product lines
- If you must know the most, first, follow commentators, newslines and journalists
- If you want to know your community better, follow local Tweeters
And when times get bad, keeping your eye (or your computer) on the pulse of the disaster gives you a birds-eye view of what’s going on. In Japan, Twitter has been a vital link to patients during the aftermath of the earthquake. As the BBC reported, it has filled a role that nothing else really could.
So lets hear it for the little blue bird and forgive that moment when the Fail Whale surfaces to delay us. Twitter is still a work in progress but it is a useful and sound one that will be here for years.