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Newsletter Archive - Tech Talk

Twitter This

07/24/2009 - But this runs more than 147 characters so it really won’t work.

Social media has become the newest fixation that every big company marketer has talked about jumping into. And now Twitter is the latest rock star in social media universe. Everywhere you turn there is Twitter – CNN streams it live for the hot story of the day, NASA has its astronauts clicking away, professional golfers are sending notes during play (British Open winner Stewart Cink (@StewartCink), John Daly (@PGA_JohnDaly) and Natalie Gulbis (@Natalie_Gulbis)), and even toilet behavior is chronicled (twitter.com/shwittering).

Twitter is supposedly “the” next revolution in one-to-one communication, and if you view this from a marketing perspective, it give the customer a voice and make the corporation more "human" because it could enable a real-time interaction. So what is this new phenom? Here is a primer.

The concept: Twitter is best described as a micro-blogging site that allows you to post mini-messages called “tweets”. The heading on the message-entry form in Twitter is "What are you doing?" but that is clearly deceptive since no one really cares what you are doing (unless it is really interesting). Instead, I think Twitter was supposed to be a trendy communication and conversation tool. But Twitter, in its current form, is not an advertising medium. Posting one marketing message after another wouldn’t be effective -- it would do little to attract business prospects or engage potential customers.

The numbers: Let's compare the numbers on Twitter to email, which for many people, has now consumed much of their business and personal lives, and has been the darling of marketers most recently:

So the majority of Twitter activity in its 5% of its users is really less than 1 million users, tweeting less than once a day. Does that sound like a revolution to you? I’m not even sure it justifies more than a casual mention in some marketer’s social media strategy at those usage levels. Yet it seems to be the new basis of chatter among many marketers when the conversation turns to social media as an advertising platform. Interestingly enough Twitter's usage numbers are not putting a dent in the usage statistics for email - 90% of Internet users spend 87% of their time online reading email, not so with Twitter-ers (is that correct English?).

Sure, it’s important to stay current on tech changes that are occurring quicker and quicker. But Twitter as a useful corporate advertising and marketing tool??? I think we’re still in the first inning of that game.

What do you think?? Send me a note at Ken@YPTalk.com.