Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Confessions Of A Twitter-aholic (Who Likes Marketing)
By Cory Treffiletti I finally understand what Twitter is all about!
For the last year I've resisted Twitter because I didn't understand the attraction. I didn't understand what all the hype was about and I didn't understand why anyone would want to continuously update the world about what they were doing. More importantly, who would want to hear from me throughout the course of the day? It seemed intrusive and unnecessary. Then I signed up and started using it (thanks to Ryan Swagar -- it's all his fault). Now I realize that Twitter is fun for all ages!
From a consumer perspective, I find it interesting. It's a communication tool that creates a platform for spontaneous thought, whether introspective, educational or otherwise. I started following people on Twitter because I know who they are and I like hearing what they have to say. That quickly expanded to finding brands and companies that I enjoy reading about and having their Twitter-digests show up in my tracker. Now I've started following people based on the types of topics they write about and my list is ever-expanding. It's the Facebook news-feed on a much grander level. My "friends" can say whatever is on their mind and I can choose to read it or pass it by.
From a marketer's perspective I find this immediate line of contact to my consumer's to be quite attractive. If a consumer has signed up to follow-me, I can immediately disseminate branded messaging and links to branded content, knowing that it will reach my target audience. It's a CRM tool with little to no cost. The power of Twitter lies in its ability to be immediate. If you're searching for a focus group to respond on a topic, shoot out a note! A loyal group of consumers are only 140 well-thought-out characters away!
From an agency perspective I can leverage Twitter, Google Insights, Google Trends and Quantcast research to build observations into the mass psyche. I can use these tools to pull together a snapshot of what the world is thinking about and see how my messaging fits. Want to know what people are saying about your brand? Search through Twitter and find out. Share your ideas and see what responses you get. If you get no response, no harm no foul, right?
I'm thinking of Twitter as "short attention span theatre." It's like a newsfeed for the ADD. In today's world of immediate gratification, the platform allows for a quick perusal of ideas and information and a way for a person to determine the flow of their mouse clicks while surfing the Web. You can start a session online by visiting Twitter and launch outward in any of hundreds of thousands of directions to pass the time. I tend to focus on industry and marketing-related topics, but I've also started using it as a music discovery engine, reading what artists and bands other people are listening to, and viewing the links to their sites!
The upcoming election has blown Twitter right into the mainstream, with people commenting day in and day out about their choices and the issues that are resonating with them. It remains to be seen whether these people will still be loyal after the election, when the dust has settled and the new President is elected. Whoever it may be, I wonder if they will see tools like Twitter as a means of disseminating information and managing public opinion?
Twitter is a launch-pad for ideas, and I'm pretty amazed about how easy it is to use, but as I mentioned in the subject line, I started realizing that in just three days I'd become something of a Twitter-aholic. So I'll likely ratchet it back a little bit, but if you want to see how I use it, Twitter me and follow my tweets -- and we can talk more about whether it's a burgeoning communications tool or just a way to waste time online.
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Cory is president and managing partner for Catalyst SF.
Online Spin for Wednesday, October 29, 2008: