Wednesday, 15 April 2009

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.

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