A week ago, I decided to finally sign up for a Twitter account and probably became the last person in Seattle to join. I’m still trying to figure out if it’s a revolutionary new communication medium or merely the CB radio of the early 21st century (to be honest, I haven’t yet decided what Twitter is yet). I think one MSNBC writer summed it up nicely quite nicely, when she stated Twitter is the Snuggie of social networking. I’m not sure if Twitter is truly useful, but there is no denying it’s the hot thing at the moment.
After all, if the Washington State Department of Transportation has multiple twitter account to broadcast updates on mountain passes and Seattle area traffic events. Many of the local TV news networks & anchors have twitter accounts (Jenni Hogan, Bill Wixey, Jesse Jones, & KOMO news are all there). If that wasn’t enough chatter, even the U.S. President is on Twitter (although he doesn’t tweet now that he’s a President instead of a candidate). Heck, even Senator John McCain is on Twitter. I think Twitter hype hit all time this week, when Google’s CEO declared Twitter A ‘Poor Man’s Email System‘ and the geeky gurus in Silicon Alley are ready to anoint Twitter the new Google killer. Ironically, Twitter has proven itself as a great tool for breaking news about gmail outages and down time.
It’s all very interesting, but is it useful? Well, since I’ve been on Twitter, I’ve discovered lots of interesting blog posts & new articles on topics of interest. I’ve learned that tinyurl.com is bloated compared to tr.im. I’ve even played with the Twitter APIs and tweeted myself. But, I’m still perplexed on what the best way of using this new social networking tool in my arsenal?
For example, would potential home buyers / sellers prefer to get updates on market changes via Tweets instead of e-mail messages, text messages, or RSS feeds? If so, should you be sending direct messages to your clients? (which seems like a poor man’s e-mail system to me). I suppose one could update their status, but if one updates their status every 10 minutes every time a new listing hits the market, one’s followers would probably get follower fatigue.
Suppose you have multiple clients, and that they all want the same information, should you create an account that they all follow instead of direct messages to each? What if you multiple clients that want different information, should you create multiple Twitter accounts, each of which publishes a certain information type (say homes in Redmond, Medina mansions, or condos in Renton)?
Of course, if that becomes popular then Twitter account names may become as valuable and as scarce as internet domain names are today? (BTW – SeattleHomes is already taken, although it doesn’t have any followers yet). Perhaps, everybody will use url shortening services like is.gd instead of domain names, SEO & names/brands of the actual twitter account won’t matter?
I’m not sure I’ll shake my fist at Twitter, like Jon Stewart did but I can’t help but wonder if micro-blogging, will beget a generation of people who can only communicate in phrases of 140 characters or less. I’m already growing nostalgic for thoughtful articles written by people in the news industry. Maybe I just need to read more NikNik & Tyr until I get it?
Perhaps, Twitter is best used to convey the daily minutiae our digital lives to interested parties and shouldn’t be taken seriously? In any event, I’m enjoying my time tweeting (or is it twittering?) like everybody else apparently is.