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DoyleBrand.com | Actor. Writer. Entrepreneur. The Value of Twitter | The Doyle Blog

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The Value of Twitter

(I first wrote this post on June 13, 2007, when it first appeared under my employer’s blog, Boomerang).

I was a skeptic about the value of Twitter, but that was before I really started using it and thinking how it can be applied as an effective social media tool. Twitter allows you to send short messages, up to 140 characters in length, to your friends and colleagues in answer to a simple question, “What are you doing?” Messages can be delivered via SMS (aka text), IM or the Web. Ross Mayfield refers to Twitter as continuous partial presence management. Now that’s a nice fancy term, but why would your client, or anyone for that matter, want to use this? Do we really care what everyone else is doing minute to minute?

To answer that, let’s take a look at how Twitter is actually being used versus how it was originally intended to be used. As I see it, Twitter users fall more or less into three camps: (1) those using it to carry on a dialogue in public (though you can send direct messages to individuals); (2) those using it to let their friends know about neat stuff they encounter (a quote, a URL, an event, etc.) without expecting a response; and (3) those letting their friends know what they are doing.

As a professional communications tool, Twitter’s primary value falls into the first two camps, assuming the messages have something to do with a client’s product or service.

But like most successful social media applications, Twitter’s value is not that it quickly and easily broadcasts a message, but that it creates conversations. And consumers are tuning in to those conversations.

Here’s an example of how it could work in today’s PR world: Let’s say your client is launching a new product at a trade show. You could use Twitter on Facebook to let your client’s community know about the product and events happening at your booth throughout the day. That can help drive traffic to your booth and get people talking about your product or service. You could even post a thought related to your client’s customer’s pain point. (For a file-sharing software company, that might be: “Darn, I hate when I can’t access my files from one, easy place! But I tried ‘X’ service, and it works!”)

Or let’s say you’re trying to increase the readership of your new blog. It only takes a few seconds to tell people, “I just did a post about ‘X’ topic.”

Anyway, as with any social media tool, reading about it is only the first step. Try it out and drop me a tweet on Twitter with your thoughts.

Categories: Social Media