The Organic Marketer

Twittering and Tweeting: A Simple Social Network Builds Trust And Friendships

Posted in Social Marketing by Jim Tome on March 6, 2008
Tags: , , ,

Almost everyone is familiar with the term “blog” (you better be — you’re reading one right now!). Most companies and organizations have even embraced blogging — to different degrees — either on their own web site or via one of the many blogging web sites. Business and professional blogs or online journals are being established to give CEOs points of view, as marketing vehicles, to impart breaking news, evoke opinions in consumers, test new product ideas and even serve as a way to informally educate customers.

But what’s this whole Twitter thing about?

If you’re like me, Twitter is something that your kids probably know more about. To them, it’s a way to keep their friends up to date on what they’re doing (yes, eating breakfast, working on homework or even how the date they are on is going).

But leave it to us “older” kids to think up business uses of Twitter and its cousins, Jaiku (recently bought by Google), Tumblr and Plazes. BTW, really, who comes up with these names? It’s like they’re randomly drawn from a Scrabble game gone bad.

First, an introduction to the universe of Twittering (or “tweeting,” to be more specific). Twitter is a free social networking and microblogging service that allows registered users to send updates (called “tweets”) to the Twitter web site, via SMS, instant messaging or third-party applications. These tweets are then broadcasted to your list of subscribed friends via the method they prefer (so, they may receive an SMS, instant message, RSS or e-mail update of your recent post).

Oh, did we mention tweets are limited in length to being text only and a strict 140 characters maximum in length (which brings up the whole concept of a haiku-like tweet, made even more funny if you did a “haiku on jaiku!” But we digress).

Alright, so what are the practical uses of this? Well, consider that the Los Angeles Fire Department recently used this technology to communicate with victims of the October 2007 wildfires. Prominent U.S. Presidential candidates such as Ron Paul, John Edwards and Barack Obama also use tweets to keep their constituencies up to date.

Your company or organization might use Twitter — or at least the concept behind it — to communicate with attendees of a class, conference or event to keep them updated on changes or breaking news. There might also be a need for this in situations where someone is coming to meet you for an appointment and might be updated along the way or as a reminder (take note, healthcare, homebuilders and real estate clients!).

Looking for a consumer use? Maybe your automated home sends a text message to your phone when your kids are home or that UPS has left a package. Update colleagues or coworkers when you’ll be late to an appointment.

In the end, the idea of these social networks is innovative: repeated simple encounters (both in person and, these days, electronically) help develop trust and friendship. You’re building a cooperative network with a technology that too soon, our kids will already be well versed in using.