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Walk over to the watercooler

Friday December 14, 2007

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Reading Time: 7 minutes

In October Lisa and I attended the Blog World and New Media Expo in Las Vegas. We were excited to share and learn from our fellow New Media and Blogging peers. We are your classic early adopters and we were anxious to learn what other early adopters were utilizing in the realm of New Media and Social Marketing. We found iPhones dominated the crowd, this did not surprise us. Our most notable observation, as we looked over various shoulders in each workshop we attended, was the prevalence of Twitter. Twitter was absolutely hailed as the up and coming social media technology.

Our experience with Twitter prior to arriving at the conference certainly foreshadowed its significance.

Our first hand experience with Twitter was remarkably exhilarating. We started networking and researching Blog World Expo before we even arrived. Via Twitter we connected to all the posts (Tweets) on the topics of greatest interest to us. We tracked posts containing the phrases “Blog World Expo”, “Social Media”, “Internet Marketing”. We connected to various people who shared our interests and professional goals. Twitter gave us the opportunity to gather information, watch trends, see comments and conversations, identify key players, and network. During the conference participants “twittering” their workshops enabled a level of participation beyond our workshop sessions.

What is Twitter? Twitter is a new concept in blogging. Just like Blogging was a new concept only a few years ago and is now accepted into the common language. Twitter was developed by the creator of Blogger.

Twitter is microblogging. Why micro? Because Twitter messages (often referred to as Tweets) cannot exceed 140 characters. Twitter messages answer the question “What are you doing right now?” and so they are timely, sometimes personal, and are posted for the world to see.

Twitter can be used in a variety of ways and with a variety of internet appliances. Twitter can be used on cell phones. It’s brevity of messages and portability make Twitter ideal for the web enabled cell phone. Tweets can be received on laptop and desktop computers via instant messenger, email, and through their web interface.

Think Skywriting from your cell phone. You post to Twitter and your post is out there for all your network and anyone tracking the keywords in your post. Think chat room for Facebook. Posting to Twitter alerts all your friends (referred to as followers in Twitter) and you have the opportunity to reply directly and personally to the person who posted. Think Minority report, (Twitter tracking), gives you the opportunity to track conversations containing keywords. These conversations may have not even happened yet.

What is Twitter not? It is not email, you do not have to pay attention, you can tune in and tune out as needed. Your information gathering can be adjusted to your needs. Do you want to be notified on the fly or would you rather return to your page to gather and respond to the online conversation.

So back to our story, one of the people we have been following on twitter is Jeremiah Owyang Senior Analyst at Forrester Research on Social Computing. Jeremiah set off a Twitter firestorm on Tuesday with this blog post, “Some Conversations are shifting to Twitter” Where he tells us that he is getting 2000 hits a week from Twitter to his blog and that something is happing here. His call to action, comment to his post with your Twitter id and friend up.

One of the number one things that we brought back from Vegas was to spend 50% of your time off blog, at places like Facebook, Myspace, Blogs, where ever you find these conversations taking place. Content + Connection = Conversation, is the core of Web 2.0. So I replied to his post with my Twitter ID.

I have gone from having 60 Followers to over 270 and the conversation is extraordinary. My feeling is this, you will not “get” Twitter until you start “using” Twitter and taking part in the conversation. Walk on over to the internet’s watercooler, you will be glad you did.


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