- Tech & Gadgets
- BRW. lounge
Published 20 July 2012 05:52, Updated 20 July 2012 09:49
Today I joined Twitter. I am now part of the 1.3 million Australians in the Twittersphere.
This may not sound like a big deal but ever since Twitter emerged I always said I wouldn’t join. I had enough trouble updating my much neglected blog. Regular Facebook status updates seemed like enough.
My reluctance to join Twitter was not because I considered it to be a passing fad; I watched consumers’ views about Twitter turn on a dime in a short period.
At the end of 2009 we did a mini-report on attitudes to Twitter among consumers; it was entitled Twitter is an ego thing. At that time there was a feeling that Twitter was more for celebrities than ordinary people. Those who were on Twitter used it to follow celebrities rather than friends. Here are some quotes from that report.
Woman 1: I love the fact that Oprah and Ellen DeGeneres and all the famous people tweet. I’ve become their fans. I can see what they’ve been up to which is really fascinating. And they write whether it’s them or their PA team, which is quite honest. But a lot of them do it themselves. I followed Hugh Jackman around Australia one time which I thought was awesome. However, it’s not something I go onto very often.
Woman 2: I think [Twitter] is an outlet for celebrities because they don’t have close friends. It’s like they’re speaking to the rest of the world because they don’t have friends.
Woman 3: But some people say really funny things or put up their concert dates or something like that.
Six months after that report, the idea that Twitter was for celebrities had faded. Twitter today is increasingly becoming the primary news source for users and the main way they experience the internet. We have seen this already with Facebook news feeds. A member relies on their network of friends to post stories, YouTube videos, whatever, and this news feed becomes their customised filter. Twitter works this way too, only better.
Now Twitter is less about celebrities and more about people talking to people about stuff. An increasing percentage of the conversation on Twitter is via hash-tagging. Twitter was not originally intended to work this way and this explosion of conversations about topics and issues has been an organic development. For social researchers, or anyone interested in social issues relating to their business or brand, it’s a goldmine. There are tools such as Storify that constructs a narrative on a topic using social media data. Those wanting to push their brand or sell through Twitter shouldn’t forget about the wealth of information on the social issues that involve their brand. Follow what people are saying about those issues as much as what they say about your business itself.
For businesses thinking about how to use Twitter there seems to be ample material out there about “dos and don’ts” and best practice. Knowing what I do about Australian consumers and Twitter, the following advice makes sense:
Twitter – more than any other media channel – conveys a sense of immediacy. Marketing on Twitter should reflect that by offering exclusives and short-term deals, announcing new offers and breaking news and providing sneak peaks and previews. And, finally, tweets should feel personal and should respect personal space. Tweets might be short but each one should feel considered. The more connected a consumer is, the less patience she is likely to have for digital bumpf clogging up her smartphone screen.