Like Me? Follow Me.
About 2 weeks into my new job, I was led by the hand into the world of Twitter by Keir Gibson. He explained the whole idea and purpose of this strange social networking world of 140 characters and said "Off you go...tweet".
What about? I am usually so opinionated, have lots to say on a subject or make humorous quips but I was stumped. So my first (and really quite lame) tweet simply thanked Keir. For the next 10 days I was silent on Twitter until again Keir nudged me and told me to, "Tweet girl, tweet".
So my next (and even lamer than the first) tweet told the people following me that I was writing Meta tags! How interesting I hear you scream. I was disappointed and unsure as to how I would make this work for me.
After this shockingly bad start I started to get the hang of it. I replied to people who had messaged me or wrote a sentence or two when I saw something of interest and even found links I found relatively interesting on BBC News and other websites that I thought wouldn't be terribly pathetic to tweet about. And sure enough I started to 'get' the whole point of it.
My far more experienced colleagues tweeted about SEO and social media articles, new stories and anything they are interested in. Despite my fear of this unknown world I learnt the benefits it can have for businesses, not only to post information (such as promoting blog entries the I-COM team have written) and special offers, but you only need to see how companies such as Dell have used it to understand just how powerful a tool this is to have.
I have learnt how commanding Twitter is, not only for businesses, but how much it can influence things. Box office hits were predicted based on the amount of Tweets about a certain film and were scarily accurate.
Now, the Library of Congress is going to archive every single tweet since Twitter started in 2006. This will allow anyone, anywhere to search, by category, for a tweet they are interested in. It is being done predominantly to document historical events such as Barak Obama's tweet just after he was elected, and all of those soon after the earthquake in Haiti and of course Anna Gruber's tweet on writing meta tags!
I wondered how this social networking phenomenon made money. The answer is, it doesn't. Until now...
Twitter is now going to have its very own keyword ads called Promoted Tweets, letting companies purchase adverts and these results will then show up on search results pages. Twitter's co-founder Biz Stone has said that these Promoted Tweets will not show anywhere else until they have had feedback from users at which point, if feedback is positive, they will start to roll these out to appear on your homepage. He has insisted that if the ad is of no interest to the user, who simply ignores it, it will disappear. Bill Gross, founder of GoTo.com has created his own 'Adwords' for Twitter called Tweet Up which will allow businesses and users to bid on keywords which will then appear in sponsored listings. However, this is not officially tied with Twitter and these results will appear on partner sites.
I haven't explored TweetDeck, I have never re-tweeted and I haven't entered the realm of Twitter widgets...all in good time. So far, in my brief relationship with Twitter, I have concluded that if used correctly it can do wonders for your business, or irritate your customers (as shown by Rentokil and Habitat), but it is also a bit of fun and shouldn't be taken too seriously.
So follow me on Twitter and watch me grow and Tweet my little heart out.