Twitter has been around now for over 2 years, and for a long time I couldn’t really see the point of twitter – it seemed like quite the time waster to me! Especially if you view the CommonCraft video about twitter uses – all the day-to-day things people don’t otherwise tell you about, like “I’m cutting the lawn” or “I just drank a delicious cup of coffee”. Frankly I don’t care, nor do I want to, or have the time to follow trivial updates from all my friends or contacts about daily habits.
Backing up a bit… for those not in the know, twitter is a micro-blogging service that allows people to send 140 character max text-only messages to a blog-like site (each participant has their own twitter feed page). The novelty is that you can send messages from multiple channels, including the web (either through twitter’s own interface or through other platforms such as facebook), mobile phones, instant messaging, and even using a regular phone with Twitterfone.
As a business tool there are some potential uses. If you can tap into the right sources, you could get up to the minute news about different stories developing around the city. Reporters out in the field a lot could use twitter to stay connected as a team.
I think the team/group connectivity is one of the most powerful features and potential business collaboration features of twitter. Whereas Instant Messaging enables people to exchange live chat between two people (you can also setup IM chat rooms), twitter is a kind of group instant messaging tool. You could carry on a conversation as a team in near real time, with the added bonus of an archive of the discussions. It’s also easy to tap into a wealth of knowledge around the world – if you can find it.
I was introduced to the value of Twitter at the ALI Social Media for Government conference about 2 months ago. There was a discussion going on during each presentation on twitter – both with live audience members, and other remote participants asking questions and giving feedback. While distracting at times, I thought that many of the comments and discussion was very useful. Since then I’ve selected a few twitter feeds (not too many) to follow on a daily basis – usually checking in a couple of times a day. If I follow somone and they constanly spew out useless information I remove them.
I’d really like to hear what ideas you have for using twitter, or micro-blogging for professional use; and any good feeds to follow for social media.