Wednesday, 26 May 2010

What is the point of Twitter?

One of my LinkedIn connections, R. Spencer Ramshaw, of Camese, Canada asks "For business to business marketing does Twitter have a purpose yet"?

I know that Amanda uses the RSS feed on Twitter to feed her tweets onto the front page of MEI Online and onto her updates in LinkedIn. Apart from that I can't see any other purpose to it, but I am sure I am wrong. It would be really useful if someone could convince me to spend time on this.

However, perhaps the only way to assess its potential is to give it a go, so I have started daily tweets (twitterings?) at http://twitter.com/barrywills. If I have a million followers by the end of the month, then I will probably continue with it. Seriously though, I would like to hear if anyone is making really productive use of Twitter, apart from telling the world what they had for breakfast.

12 comments:

  1. I've found Twitter to be quite a useful news source. You can keep up to date with the latest news from all over the world by following the right people/companies. I mostly follow mining companies - such as Newmont, Rio Tinto, FMG and there are also a number of junior guys also using Twitter. Then there are all the news providers – such as BBC, CNN etc etc. We can also be found on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Mining_News

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  2. Thanks Steven, that's useful. I am now one of your "followers".

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  3. I also shared your opinion Barry but also felt that i didnt know enough about it and how to use it and so decided to join last week simply to understand and then make an informed decision not to tweet.I also attended a recent presentation on different networking sites at the Insitute of Directors in Cardiff where twitter was discussed as a business tool. So the jurys still out for me but I did get a new follower today a certain Mr Barry Wills

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  4. Hi Steve. Yes I am now one of your "followers"- not that there is anything to follow yet! Coincidentally my latest tweet (surely they could call it something else!) refers to Maelgwyn Minerals.

    As we are both new to this, let me know if you find any good uses for it. I will probably follow David Lloyd for the latest cricket updates!

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  5. I'm making use of Twitter, but productive use may not be quite the best way to describe it. It does improve productivity on some way, but it also can use up a lot of time if you're not careful!

    I mainly use Twitter as a real time news feed - I follow mining companies, news services, etc and get their updates, but I also follow individual sportsmen and personalities that I'm already interested in following, and it's great to get their first hand commentary (like hearing directly from F1 teams during the races and getting pics twitted out from them of behind the scenes). So for me it brings "business" news and updates together with stuff I'm interested in outside work.

    As far as outbound twits go, I mainly just twitter out my new blog posts as they're completed, interspersed with short comments on latest mining news or general updates (these show my followers that I'm a real person, not just my blog post feed automatically going out).

    Through twitter I've also made some connections in the industry, so it's good for that too. And that's where the real people beat the news feeds any day - you can basically "text message" people directly without having swapped phone numbers.

    I'd suggest, get involved, see who you can follow and who follows you. I'm @theminingman, so would love to hear from anyone.

    Two other tips - get an application like Tweetdeck to access Twitter through - using twitter.com is not really the best way to use it. Use search.twitter.com or the search function in Tweetdeck to keep an eye out for Tweets containing terms or words you're interested in - this is how I've found most of the people I follow (i.e. I have a search setup for "mining" "coal" etc, and when someone sends a tweet containing these words I look to see who they are).

    Cheers,
    Jamie
    @theminingman

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  6. My current thinking is that it is really a lot of noise...most people follow so many tweets, that there is no way they can keep up with the volume. I think many folk tweet and never read the tweets they receive.

    That said, I could see value in a well managed twitter network where the users were all following certain individuals for the rapid dissemination of information to large groups.

    John Burgess, Queensgate Resources

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  7. I’ve found Twitter to be quite a useful news source as most of the big mining companies as well as many of the juniors are on Twitter. I also get continually updated world news by following news providers such as BBC, CNN, CNBC etc.

    On the topic of a well managed Twitter network, the introduction of lists to the site has meant that users can group certain people/companies into specific categories and receive only updates from those in the list. An example of a list I created is “mining and exploration”.

    With that said, Twitter use is on the decline and FaceBook is the reigning king of social media at the moment. Here are some facts taken from Erik Qualman’s video, "Social Media Revolution": FaceBook tops Google for weekly traffic in the US; FaceBook added over 200 million users in less than a year; 50% of the mobile Internet traffic in the UK is for FaceBook; and If FaceBook were a country, it would be the world's third largest ahead of the US and only behind China and India.

    MiningNe.ws can be found on both platforms (Twitter and FaceBook), take a look:

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mining-News/120303756920

    http://twitter.com/Mining_News

    Steven O'Sullivan, Mining Ne.ws

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  8. I was skeptical of Twitter for a long time, and I am still not 100% sold on it, but I have an open mind that it could be a good business platform, in particular to engage and communicate with investors. There are a quite a few investment clubs and bloggers on Twitter, so the business case for Twitter appears to be gathering steam.
    (see http://twitter.com/RodiniaLithium )

    Maybe I am old-fashioned, but I still use Facebook exclusively for personal endeavours (keeping up with long lost friends etc.). I haven't seen too many of my Facebook network joining corporate sponsored groups or becoming "Fans" of companies, but again that is just my personal experience to date.
    David Stein, Rodinia Minerals, Canada

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  9. It certainly seems like there might be something in Twitter but not yet. For the moment it just sops up interstitial time, the time in between the tasks that have to be done.

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  10. Unfortunately, people who follow "the media" without thinking for themselves have only fed the monster by subscribing to Twitter like lemmings. Think about it.... Twitter is great for people who work in media because they are rewarded for identifying the latest meme first or scooping the first news story. Twitter is the greatest thing that ever happened to their industry and they told us non-media types it was the greatest thing since canned beer. I'm really interested to see where there is value for the mining industry through extensive use of Twitter. So far, no one here has put forward a compelling argument to entice me to sign up.

    I already subscribe to company sites for emails that we want to follow to the point where that avalanche of information is overwhelming and often useless. How will adding the Twitter channel be better than the current channels we have?
    John F. Gravel, Turner & Townsend, USA

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  11. I've resisted commenting on this so far, as I couldn't really articulate what I thought was the point of Twitter. However, this quote from WebProNews sums it up for me:

    "The trouble with Twitter, like the trouble with many things people will argue about, is a trouble originating with humans, not the thing itself: the need to define a thing.

    What is it? What is it used for? What is its potential? What are the limits? Who else is using it and why? What can we learn from it? Should I be using it too? Is it okay if I walk away from it? Do I have to use the word "tweet?"

    While you're at it, ask yourself what is the meaning of a fallen leaf, if there really is one main sound from which all sounds spring, what is the likelihood of becoming one with a stone and understanding its stone-ness, and whether you should wear acid-washed jeans should they ever come back in style."

    Basically, you can make of Twitter what you like. If you find it useful, then use it. If you don't find it useful, don't use it. It's just another way of staying in touch.

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  12. I also found this at http://onlinejournalismblog.com/2008/03/27/what-is-the-point-of-twitter/

    1. It’s a great way to publish to mobile devices;

    2. it’s a social networking tool to make contacts and carry on conversations;

    3. it’s a way of discovering new information (through tips and leads);

    4. it’s a great way to follow what’s happening through your mobile (set Twitter up to send you mobile updates)

    5. It’s a way of organising people

    6. It’s a great way of reporting from a live event or other occasions when you only have your phone

    7. You can aggregate a number of twitter feeds to one collective feed of what a group of people are doing

    8. You can push an RSS feed into twitter, creating a mobile/social network update

    9. For bloggers, it’s a good place to put thoughts and ideas that are so brief you wouldn’t normally blog them

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