In Twitter, the good the bad and the ugly James Mullan poses some of the questions many have in understanding – and extracting – the value of Twitter.
Perhaps I should … lower my expectations of what value I’m actually going to derive from Twitter. It is after all a Social Networking for individuals not for people working within a company so of course there are going to be frivolous and social tweets, so is it a case of just blocking or filtering these out using tools like Twhirl or Tweetdeck or organising my followers so I derive more value from the Tweets they are posting?
I’m a big fan of this whole social networking lark. It’s immensely exciting and full of even more promise than it has already fulfilled. But comment on it does rather get taken over by the services that (unpredictably) gain sufficient traction to hit the headlines and hence gain even more traction. And Twitter is IT now – the flavour of the moment. With (reputedly) 6 million registered users, in excess of 1 billion tweets posted so far and a recent offer from Facebook for the service of $1.5 billion, who can argue with the numbers?
But put the headlines aside and let’s look at it rationally. Twitter is a messaging service which enables you to post a minimalist profile (the primary means by which you can be found, so pay attention to it), broadcast short messages to your followers and tap into the message streams of those you choose to follow. It’s deceptively simple and it has many possible uses for lawyers (Bob Ambrogi suggests sixteen reasons).
Although many commentators refer to it as a microblogging service, that’s just geekspeak – and misleading geekspeak at that. It has almost nothing in common with blogging; sure it’s a platform for networking and conversation, but blogging is essentially about publishing comment and content which is precisely what you’re prevented from doing on Twitter. What you do with Twitter is chat or message in real time; your tweets are here today, gone tomorrow or sooner.
It has all the benefits Bob lists, so add it to your social networking arsenal. But see it for what it is and use it as it suits you.