When Twitter started in 2006 my first thought was: “What a stupid thing”. Why would I share with everybody What I am doing? It seems a lot of people were thinking similar. For a long while Twitter was only servicing some early adopters. And they even did not manage to handle that without serious issues. But it looks like something has been changing dramatically.
In February 2009 Twitter occured to be the third most used social networking tool according to Compete.com. That was the moment I woke up. In March Nielsen announced Twitter to be the fastest growing (1382% in a year time) site in the Member Communities category. In one year time it increased from 475.000 users up to 7.038.000. You might think that mainly teens use it, but in February the largest age group on Twitter was 35-49. That’s why I instantly decided to join as well. And the availability of Twitter on all kind of mobile devices (in my case an iPhone), makes it very easily accessible anywhere you are and at any time.
Google already tried to buy Twitter, although the second offer was lower than the first one. For Google Twitter would be a real improvement of their services. It would add real-time search results. Already in several cases Twitter users were the first ones to spread the news about some serious news items before any one else did it. The indexing by Google of a new content still takes a day or more.
But what’s happening?
Based on the above I conclude that there is something going on that is worth investigating! But what’ is it all about? And how long will it last?
The basic Twitter concept is very easy. It is only about answering one simple question: “What are you doing?“. A free service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to this one simple question. And to be honest, it is addictive, although due to the success sometimes also very frustrating when the service is overloaded again.
But what makes people share all kind of things? From very high level and useful (to my opinion of course) tweets to very low level, intimate and personal tweets. What encourages so many people to be on a public stage, including myself ? Some people really seem not to realize that everything they are writing will stay there probably for the rest of their lives.
My own addiction
For some reason I started using it about two months ago. I do not treat myself a Twitter expert and I am still learning. I start feeling the business potential and on the other hand my original doubts stay there as well. Should we treat Twitter as the next fleeting hype? A lot of other initiatives already did not succeed before. Why Twitter would be there to stay? What happens if some big guy like Google buys (and kills) it? What will happen when Twitter finally decides to make some money, because currently they hardly do? As soon as they start commercializing it, a lot of power users will leave. A business case is still lacking, but to serve this enormous growth rate they need to invest a lot in infrastructure. How are they going to earn money and how is this going to influence their future success?
Finding answers by experiencing
A lot of questions without too many answers I am afraid. Therefore, I decided to experience the potential myself. Soon we will show you the results of some “social” experiments. Feel free to follow me @PetersOpinion where I share my business thoughts. Due to the fact that I am living far away from my home country I also started a more personal Twitter. I just don’t want to bother everybody with my personal updates @phorsten. To be honest I feel more connected again with my friends and former colleagues in Holland again. And that is for sure a good feeling. For GOYELLO we will use @goyello. Currently we are waiting for a good team tweeting tool, @cotweet is high on our wish-list. The first social experiment has started @3city, a place where we enable people living and staying in Gdansk, Sopot and Gdynia to share what they are doing. For sure we will have to put some more effort to that. Again @cotweet could be helpful as well.
Being business wise we are discussing the usage of Twitter with some of our clients. Especially related to some portals Twitter could be a nice tool for generating more traffic through viral marketing.
How to handle all those tweets and accounts?
For a lot of people the main question at the end of the day might be: “Oh jee, but how to manage all those Tweets?” and that is my question too. Fortunately, hardly anybody expects you to read their tweets and therefore you do not have to feel guilty when you did not manage. On the other hand there is always the feeling that you could miss something important. A lot of tools are available to enable you to manage the massive flow of tweets. I like @cotweet, @tweetdeck, @splitweet, @twhirl, @tweetie, @tweetlater but none of them support all my needs. Today I thought that it would be time for @yellotweet. Fortunately @hootinator informed me about @hootsuite. That application really seems to offer what I was looking for. The GUI is not as nice as @splitweet, but that might be a matter of time. Currently we are brainstorming it. For sure we will keep you posted, if you feel like it.
You choose what you want to read, I will just tell you What I am doing!