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Twitter Part 1

(March 27, 2007)
  Today's article is the first in a series from Jules Gude, CEO of exceler8. According to Jules, "
exceler8 develops social media marketing strategies for companies that connect people, ideas, and commerce.  We also participate in our communities by collaborating on projects, participating in online conversations, and publishing blogs like exceler8ion.com.  Our collaborative open source business practices lead to innovation."

Dear Animal,

I saw your post about Twitter. I felt some solidarity with your less than stellar review of Twitter a view I shared initially until I had a chance to use Twitter for a while. To be honest, I never would have tried Twitter if it weren't for an invite from a good friend. Just look at this post as paying it forward.

No time to read my post? Then just know this there's a lot more to Twitter than meets the eye.

What the heck is Twitter?
"A global community of friends and strangers answering one simple question: What are you doing? Answer on your phone, IM, or right here on the web!"

Did I mention you have 141 characters per tweet (the name for a posting on Twitter)?
Twitter is being used for a lot of things, including keeping track of people at conferences as Animal's story mentions. In that form, I watched all the goings on at the ultimate geek conference, sxsw in Austin, this past weekend while attending my oldest son's 16th birthday in the Bay Area. If my Dad duties hadn't trumped connecting with my fellow geeks, I would have been at sxsw, so it was fun to be there in some capacity. I still learned a lot from all the links I received via twitter.

On the subject of links, people share a lot of them in tweets.
People do this using tinyurl (which significantly shortens long urls) since you have such limited space for tweets. Using tinyurl is a major vehicle to share posts that twitterers (Shannon perfers 'twits') write or where they share interesting links to what they've been reading. 'A-List' blogger Steve Rubel is a certified Twitter junkie these days - posting tons of useful information in the vein of his blog and links to articles he's reading. I see more tweets from Rubel in one day than most other twitterers combined. Still it's good content and if I don't care about it I just ignore it.

What else? Heaps.
People write something really short, ephemeral (short lived), highly contextual or otherwise time, place, or subject matter relevant, that works on Twitter, but would be too short for a blog post. A song lyric, a musing, a commentary, a question asked of all your friends and watchers alike for job candidate referrals (who knows a fantastic designer with mad css skills?). If you are into blogging, this is akin to a tumblelog (a short-form, little thought required blog) except much more widespread in use. People tweet that they're heading to Starbucks and pretty soon all of their local friends tweet 'hey, I'll meet you there'. Same for bars, movies, parties, business events, etc.

Many people, myself included, like to keep track of friends and more friends along with family, business associates who are also friends and vice versa those that might otherwise go ignored despite your best intentions. It's a really low involvement way to stay connected to people. Just as face-to-face meetups (it's the pheromones), phone, IM, or email are better for some things, Twitter has its own niche.

With all this tweeting going on, every one of your friends and associates are keeping in touch with you, feeling connected in a feel good way, but also getting information from you and you from them in a valuable way (it's part of a growing trend called lifestreaming and workstreaming). They see what people are working on, meetings they are having, deals being done, people are being recruited, and when paths cross - there are obvious opportunities to connect in real time and IRL.

Tomorrow, the saga continues Twitter Part 2

John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
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