Twitter and Social Media Leading Next Wave of News
13 March 2009
Twitter makes me feel like a kid again, and that being said, I feel it is only fair to analyze its importance to the business world through kid-like analogies. Remember when you would ask your friend if they knew what some word meant and the response would be, “Yeah, I do, but I just want to see what you think it means,” because they really have no idea? That is what I think of people who say they know what Twitter is without actually having used it.
Sure, go look it up on Wikipedia, but that is only the first step. Reading updates, hypothesizing what it is you really want to say with those 140 characters and figuring out how you make a tiny URL is just the start. I have yet to use the apps, but maybe my colleague, Chad, will have more to say about that.
Reporters are definitely using Twitter and character count limits make it easy to see what they really think is important. As an unedited filter, with ways to reach reporters before they have to run their stories by an editor, it can be a great relationship builder.
A simple search of a company name or product can also be beneficial. News leaks and breaking news can reach Twitter before a Google alert gets close to hitting your inbox. This effect was documented after the plane crash in the Hudson River, when pictures and news of the crash showed up on Twitter immediately. While a press conference or event is occurring, or even just on a random day, a quick search can provide live feedback and valuable insight on what concerns need to be addressed by the company, not to mention a quick look at who is interested in the topic.
Twitter is just one element of a social media platform, but it is also a shining example of how viral/grassroots communication is becoming more powerful than ever. With increasingly struggling print publications and a growing Internet audience base, understanding tools such as Twitter and continuously using them to present innovative opportunities to spark business growth, will differentiate brands from their competitors… like having an older sibling tell you what words mean before all your friends figure it out.
Note: Author currently has 16 followers on Twitter and is by no means a Twitter expert (yet).