What is Twitter Really

May 20, 2011 § Leave a comment


May 19, 2011  Whenever I go to a conference or read about social media Twitter is a constant topic. However, a lot of folks still don’t understand it. If you have not used it…this is really true. Many know it is one of the leading social networks or it is a microblog, but that is about it. Personally, I use Twitter a lot and I have a hard time explaining to someone what it is or to simply answer the question “why should I get on Twitter”

In an effort to clarify it, I am going to start explaining Twitter as the following (not really, but for the sake of argument here it goes). Twitter is:

  • The largest news feed: In short bursts, people say what is going on around them via links to other sites, direct commentary, and by passing on what others are talking about (i.e The Retweet)
  • Source for Research Help: In Twitter you can quickly ask a question and usually fairly quickly get some answers. The larger your network the more likely you will get something back. This is something both brands and individuals can take advantage of.
  • Rapid and Concise Communication: Amongst your network, Twitter is one of the most efficient forms of communication. It follows in the same vein as SMS. It is a no BS way to communicate and it works.
  • A 100 million person Zeitgeist: There are over 100 million registered users in Twitter and billions of Tweets a day from them. All roughly doing the above. For those users and the total 180 million monthly visitors, Twitter provides a pulse for just about any topic and when something is trending (meaning enough people are tweeting about the same topic) it can be used to get sense, importance, and sentiment of an issue from the 100 million users registered. Hashtags makes this even easier.
  • Open: Unlike other networks, that are 100% dependent on your network, Twitter is 100% open. You can say anything about anyone and everyone can see and respond. There is literally nobody monitoring what you say. That does not mean you can’t get in trouble – just ask Kenneth Cole  – but nobody is there from Twitter to tell you to watch what you say or take down questionable comments.

For these reasons, Twitter is unique. Sure, you can do some of this in Facebook, but you are bound by you immediate network (whether an individual or a brand). To me it is the amorphous nature of Twitter that is both intriguing and addictive.

Agree, disagree…just let me know what you think…
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