What’s the Point of Twitter?

What’s the Point of Twitter?

Twitter began as a public extension of text messaging. Sharing with the world what you were up to. Very quickly the world and its friends found that pretty tedious and so Twitter re-invented its purpose as helping you to find out what's happening in the world. But the world is a big place with so much irrelevance so Twitter morphed into helping you to find out what's happening in YOUR world. This meant the geographical area around you and particularly the subjects that you like.

Today, right here right now it's all about “Find out what’s happening, right now, with the people and organizations you care about.”

This feels about right, but interestingly it's not about you, it's about them: the people, the places and the organisations in your life. Quite a departure from the beginning just a few short years ago.

In actual fact it is about you too. The essence is sharing your views about the people, the places and the organisations in your life. What do you feel about them? Not in the long term but right here, right now. Twitter is real time, right now.

The real time message is key to the success and popularity of this social network. No longer do we have to wait for the news agencies to create TV, radio or newspaper reports the next day about stories that happened 24 hours ago. We hear it first. We share it, we comment on it, we have views and we listen to the views of others. From earthquakes to celebrity scandals Twitter is consumer journalism at its best. Or at its worst if you take the alternative view.

I feel a little less judgmental. Afterall a few million people collectively can't be wrong can they, when they discuss a subject? The rogues and mavericks get lost in the numbers so in theory what you get is a balanced view. Do you believe the numbers? Again statistics even out nicely when the numbers are so huge. Even if somebody exagerates they have little impact in this massive Twittersphere.

The power of the # hashtag has pushed it into the English Dictionary on its own right. We now # this and # that much as we hoover instead of vacuum and google instead of search online. Twitter isn't going away. It will evolve and develop but it's here to stay as long as you get the point.

The point can be all or some of the above. It can be as simple as being a mini-content-management-system allowing you quick and easy ways to keep a website page updated with fresh new content without having to log into the page. Here's mine to prove the point.

You can use Twitter for market research, to find out what your competitors are up to, to seek partnerships and relationships with people in your sector who will add value to your business. When you recruit what better way to find out what that applicant is really like when they are off duty on a Friday night. And for direct marketing, promotion of events and services (remember the real time benefit if people pass on messages that have an urgent call to action) it has to be one of the most user friendly, low resource hungry and targeted ways of signposting to get relevant people to your website or other social network…. there are many other points to this but the key thing is to find the point that works for you.

Give your Twitter a job description. Give it a single purpose and it will know what it has to do. Build Twitter into your wider online marketing plan. It's just a tool and it needs a clearly defined role…. and that is the point.