Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Relevance of Twitter to business - article links

I often hear colleagues in the PR and communications industries saying that some of their clients still need persuading that Twitter has a relevance to business. So I wanted to start making a note of some of the uses we’re seeing of Twitter, and start collecting links to articles that might be useful in helping to show how businesses are using it in a meaningful way. I’ll also put these up onto my delicious profile.

Today’s links are:

Retailers: article from Retail Week by Joanna Perry. Includes analysis of how Shop Direct is monitoring what consumers are saying about the ‘old’ Woolworths, as it prepares to relaunch the brand online.

The Twitter world: a great article from the New York Times that I’ve mentioned in a previous blog

And the flip side: do Twitter and other social media give too loud a voice to a minority of people in some cases? This is a great analysis of the Motrin and Skittles social media issues, from eConsultancy. Very relevant in light of the Dominoes incident.

The emerging view of Twitter

If anyone asks why Twitter matters, here is a great article from the New York Times that opens the door to a world where Twitter is much, much more than what someone had for breakfast.

The article states: “Individually, many of those 140-character “tweets” seem inane. But taken collectively, the stream of messages can turn Twitter into a surprisingly useful tool for solving problems and providing insights into the digital mood. By tapping into the world’s collective brain, researchers of all kinds have found that if they make the effort to dig through the mundane comments, the live conversations offer an early glimpse into public sentiment — and even help them shape it.”

A great summary; thanks to Marshall Manson for Tweeting the link.

My company did some work a while back with a customer feedback company called Fizzback, that essentially aggregated SMS feedback from customers of any given product or service, to get both individual feedback (a bad experience that could be put right, for example), and an overall picture of what collective customers were experiencing.

The emerging view of Twitter for companies shown in the NYT article is that it allows companies to do something similar: collect insight into the consumer’s world, on which a company can act. (Combined, these tools would be powerful - a technology to aggregate, segment and prioritise Twitter feedback, tailored per company.) This world is about so much more than just one-way message exposure. Experiences that would have been shared in the pub, privately, between groups of friends are now being shared between thousands of groups on Twitter – and for the first time, companies can monitor and respond to these views. Powerful stuff.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

10 people not to follow on Twitter.

I'm marginally addicted to Twitter, but there are some scary people on there. In the interest of public safety, here's my personal list of the kind of people never to follow, or be followed by, on Twitter.

I’ve tweeted one or two of these, so apologies if a couple are familiar. I’m pretty sure it will lose me a few followers, too. Hey ho.

  1. Anyone with ‘killer’ in their user name, or murderous background pictures. Self-explanatory.
  2. Anyone who takes an unnatural interest in the health of my love life. Get your own.
  3. Anyone who says they’re passionate about life. You’re going to be way too happy for my liking.
  4. Anyone who has more than one exclamation mark in their Twitter biog. See above.
  5. Anyone who auto-DMs the message “I can help you make money online!!” (and see 4, above.)
  6. Anyone who claims to have psychic powers.
  7. Anyone who only tweets quotes from dead people.
  8. Anyone who wants to ‘initiate you in the ways of Christ’. Or any other religious figure. Trust me, you’d have your job cut out.
  9. Obvious spammers (10,000 following, 2 followers, 1 update).
  10. Anyone who claims to be ‘a really cool / crazy guy’.

Anything I’ve missed?

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Twitter, Moldova and broken windows

I’ve just been reading a piece in the Times of India about protests in Moldova against the election results, where Twitter has been cited as helping organises rally protestors. Palin Ningthoujam (@palinn) of Weber Shandwick India tweeted a link to the article, which I happened to pick up just after a colleague told me about protests near her house, which is close to the Moldovan embassy. A neat example of how we hear about issues these days: directly (protests), by word of mouth, search (I Googled it to find out more), via Twitter, and the good old-fashioned “I read it in the newspaper”, albeit online.

In the article there’s a reference to an embassy window being broken by protesters, against which is an in-text ad (delivered by Kontera’s ContentLink) advertising a window and glass repair service.

This it is contextual advertising at its most literal. A bit like the Google ads that show an ad for Dell at the top of (first words on the site: ‘your Dell laptop’s on fire’). There’s context, and then there’s context.

Although it’d be handy if the Moldovan embassy caretaker reads it, I suppose.