Chatting with Mark Jones, Paul McKeon and Frank Eliason on The Scoop podcast this morning about corporate Twitter. It was fun to talk with these folks and have a chance to think about Twitter in a corporate context.
Frank described Twitter as “instant messaging gone mad”, which is a pretty good summary. Based on that description, the interesting thing to consider is how Twitter is actually used.
Twitter seems to blur the personal and professional – and this fits with the whole generation-V social networking meme. In my experience Twitter provides a platform for communication and community and it is being used in a number of ways:
- organising social events IRL
- various kinds of help – technical support, moral support, therapy, etc.
- connections and networking – need to find someone who knows something Twitter people can help
- banter and fluff – a bit like the water cooler conversations in the office
- information gathering – feedback about new products or suppliers, temperature checks or what people are thinking
- conversations – from the frivolous to the serious and thought provoking
- relationships – real people communicating and getting to know other people
All of this adds up to Twitter as a communication and community platform more than anything else.
Given the nature of Twitter as a communication and community platform how can businesses use this platform? The answer is simple, they can use it to build relationships and have dialogue with customers and other stakeholders. This is precisely what companies like Comcast and Zappos are doing. The important element for companies is to get in early and stake out the territory for their brands and start up the dialogue so as to avoid brandjacking.