Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Twitter and who is tweeting?

Despite hearing about Twitter from its early inception I still haven't found a way to make it useful in my life. Any web based technology I've adopted to, is usually because it's made things easier for me or is entertaining. Twitter doesn't fall into any of those categories for me. I recently read this article in the N.Y. Times which identified the people who I suspected it would be relevant to. According to Walter J. Carl, an assistant professor of communications studies at Northeastern University“The people who I see using it are an older demographic, people in marketing or P.R. or advertising, who use it for work, to present themselves as particular types of people. They’ll twitter, ‘I’m traveling,’ or ‘I’m going to interesting restaurants.’ They’re using it to do identity work." But he also points out that its the same reason people use Facebook, " is to control other people's perceptions of them.”

These are really interesting insights the first one being that people whether or not they realize it, use Facebook for their own branding and positioning purposes. My second thought was that maybe why Twitter works better for the marketing, P.R. or advertising demographic is that all their tweets are more announcement worthy. They're usually about doing something productive. The difference here being that business productive,"I've just finished my post mortem report on my last project" has more net worth than the personal productive," I've just done two loads of laundry." Well, its not that either one of these tasks are more virtuous than the other, its all in the context of their respective audience. In Facebook, my doing laundry doesnt really make me anymore esteemed.

Here are two great articles on how Twitter is much more effective in the business realm, both showing how a brand could successfully utilize Twitter. From The Toad Stool, titled,Twittering As The Ultimate Ad Vehicle talks about successfully using Twitter at event your brand might be sponsoring, and having someone who can report insider happenings or on the spot information to fans of that event. Another great idea comes from Brand Flakes, Darryl Orht calls it TweeVee," a television that one could add my own Twitter sub-titles to. A broadcast that is streamed, and allows users to choose the Twitter buddies that appear as sub-titles? Very Cool.

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