Posts Tagged ‘im’

Why Twitter Is So Powerful

March 26, 2008

It hit me in the shower last night why exactly Twitter is so powerful. It’s like IRC.

No, I’m not kidding and don’t run away yet.

Today @stripedshirt and @valene were talking about why MSN (aka IM) isn’t used by them anymore, simply because it’s too distracting. On top of that, MSN mostly allows for one-to-one conversations (yes I know you can add more people to conversations), but Twitter is cool in that you can have many people adding to a conversation at different times of the day and it’ll continue on.

And that’s what I like most about Twitter and that’s why it’s so powerful. It requires a short amount of attention, but it allows you to feel connected and part of a community more than IM does (at least for me). A real example is when a few of us just got started on Twitter. Me (@uniquefrequency), Andre (@stripedshirt) and Valene (@valene). So 3 of us kinda were messaging here and there but with only 3 people, there wasn’t much benefits to reap in terms of network externalities.

Fastforward 4-6 weeks, add in Andre’s group’s great presentation on microblogging, and now we have Nabilah (@allquirknoplay), Jacqueline (@jacquelinechang), Amelia (@amsie), Lionel (@gaothebao), Peiling (@gniliep), Alaska (@alaskie), Xiao Hui (@thehsuperficies), Mark (@beatmastermark), Gladys (@gladyschock) and Christina (@tinana).

The best part is I have less than half of these people on my MSN list, and yet I talk more to most of them than to other people on my MSN list.

It’s like IRC in that we all drop in the same “room” at different times of the day and maybe I’ll know that some of them are in the library, some are awake at 5am finishing a project, who’s in a Starbucks, and the list goes on. It’s come to a stage where we even have @SMUtweets to tweet school-related stuff to all of us. How cool is that?

To me, Twitter has truly become the new social water cooler.

You might argue that 13 of us out of a school population of 4,500 is insignificant. But is it really? If you were a company and you had 13 passionate advocates following your brand on Twitter, Tweeting things to each other and spreading your brand and/or message, wouldn’t you be happy? (Wouldn’t it be great if Frujch could tell us when the queue is short? Or if portobello melts are running out so we can ZOOM down to get the last few?)

I think this is just the tip of the iceberg and here’s an experiment I want to run: All of us SMU students currently on Twitter should aim to get one, just one, other friend on Twitter by Week 14 (just lean over to the person next to you in the library and do some convincing!). We’re going to try to double the SMU-Twitter population and see just how far we can go with this in really forming a community and network, and see what comes out of it.

Post your success stories and/or great Twitter stories in the comments section so we’ll know who to follow and we’ll review this experiment in 2 weeks! Let’s keep in mind that getting new people to sign up on Twitter is just the first step, we need to make them feel welcome to get them to stick around and enjoy it as much as we do!

Advertisements

Twitter 201: Part 1 – What Is Twitter & What Uses Does It Have?

February 9, 2008

TwitterRoughly trawling through 10 webpages and roughly 470 comments later, I’m ready to “graduate” to Twitter201 and give you a good if not definitive guide to Twitter and it’s uses. This will be part 1 of 3, so check back or subscribe to my RSS feed to know when parts 2 and 3 are out.

What Is Twitter?

Twitter is a mashup between instant messaging (IM), email, facebook and even sms. It’s mobile, can be targeted specifically at friends or widely at anyone you choose, is instantaneous, and social.

When you visit Twitter, you’ll be prompted: “What are you doing?” and that’s exactly what Twitter does: let your friends/acquaintances know what you’re doing at any given time. For example, mine currently says “yet another great cup of Hazelnut latte at Borders Bistro”, that lets people know what I’m doing and where I’m at. Let me just say that that’s a bad example of how to use Twitter, and a good example of “noise”. More on that in part 2.

If I haven’t made it clear by now, Twitter’s usage is to help you stay connected with whoever you choose.

More Twitter Usages

Besides connecting people, Twitter also allows you to ask questions to find out more about what the people in your network think or what they’re doing. A really good example is found on ProBlogger where Darren got 30 responses to a question in 10 minutes. (You should really click on the link and check out the screenshots to get an idea of what I’m saying).

Also Twitter can be used very easily as a traffic generating device. Everytime I have a new blogpost, I announce it on Twitter for anyone who’s interested.

Twitter can also be used as a to-do-list. Remember The Milk is a cool site where you can send messages to your Twitter to remember stuff like, well, buying milk. If your phone is internet or wi-fi enabled, this can be even more useful because you can just update your Twitter status to remind yourself to do something later.

Finally, Twitter can be used for friendsourcing. Surfing around Twitter the past few days, I’ve seen quite a few tweets going like “need a ______ on behalf of a friend”, which can be really useful if there’s something specific you need, and a particular audience you want to tap onto.

Before I end, let me say that this list is nowhere near exhaustive and of course there are business uses that I’ve neglected to mention. Given that I don’t own a business, I don’t think I have the necessary expertise to talk about that. Also, this guide is targeted at the average blogger trying to figure out how to use Twitter for the first time, I’ve decided to leave out all the business bits.

Part 2 should be up tomorrow, covering what you need to do to make Twitter useful, as well as how to grow your Twitter network. Meanwhile you may want to check out my previous posts Twitter 101, Twitter 102 and Twitter 103, as well as let me know what’s on your mind with regards to Twitter in the comments below!

PS: If you like what I’m doing, please add me to your Technorati favourites (Add to Technorati Favorites) and/or follow me on Twitter, user: uniquefrequency