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Feb 01 2010

Twitter (huh, yeah) – What is it good for?

Lately, I’ve been wondering about the relevance of Twitter at least within the context of my use of social networking. I use a range of social networking services, including:

… plus a range of instant messenger applications (of which I use a couple most frequently).

Now, just because I find it hard to put something meaningful in 140 characters doesn’t mean everyone else faces the same issue. I guess, in part, this is why I am returning to blogging. Particularly with regard to areas of passion (such as technology in general) I cannot see 140 characters doing much justice.

Also, this week there have been numerous articles making observations that visits to Twitter have dropped despite the number of users increasing by 100 million. I don’t know how exactly these figures were measured or if they are even accurate in the first place. I can’t help but think companies such as Compete (responsible for this supposed analysis) spruik numbers just to get some publicity but that’s for another topic.

Is Twitter a victim of quantity over quality? Is there too much noise drowning out anything worth even a short amount of attention?

In the meantime, Facebook has also been trying to emulate Twitter by dropping the little “is” preceding the status updates of its users and adding the ability to use the @ tags to reference friends. Perhaps this was a defensive move to try and retain status update traffic and let the wind out of the sails of Twitter. Also thrown into the mix is the ability to import Twitter updates into Facebook through apps and hash tags and vice versa. It might make heads spin trying to keep track of which way updates are going if you’re not on the ball.

So what is Twitter good for? I guess from a global stand point it can be an invaluable source of information about major events on the world stage such as recent events in Iran. Trending topics through the use of the hash tags could have a use to the authorities (local, national and international) as well as the media. Businesses in general have also been paying attention to Twitter with regard to offering special deals to followers and also as a feedback channel in response to negative experiences that may be tweeted by its customers. It’s certainly a tool that can be wielded to the benefit of the customer.

On a personal level, Twitter is handy for seeing traffic updates from the RTA without going to their traffic page and occasional updates from friends that don’t/can’t make it to Facebook for whatever reason.I must admit that I have found a new use to tweet my blog postings for those that might be interested out in Twitterland. Perhaps I am yet to realise the full potential of Twitter but would love to be enlightened by those who use it on a regular basis about the benefits they get out of using Twitter.

2 comments

  1. Stuart

    Twitter is great for communicating updates to your other online activities (such as your blog) and there’s been a bit of talk around whether it may end up being the equiv for RSS for the less technically savvy. My analytics definately shows that the number of Twitter referrals is increasing, most likely due to retweets to broader networks.

    It’s also great for knowing what your friends have had for lunch. 🙂

  2. Boyd Chan

    Some good points there Stu especially given my culinary interests!

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