LearnTwitter Morphing!

Mel
writes on April 18, 2008

Anyone who hasn’t logged on to the world wide interweb over the last two months might not know that I’ve just come back from SXSW. Anyone who’s never been on the interweb before now may also not know that at Carsonified, we’re all huge Twitter fans… who isn’t?

SXSW made something abundantly clear to me, the way that Twitter is used can change hugely depending on the following things:-

* your location
* your social circle
* your mobile device

Bear with me, let me explain some more…

The way in which I use Twitter changes dramatically depending on where I am at the time. Whilst Twitter’s become the poster kid of the web, it hasn’t reached mass adoption (yet!). I’m still repeatedly telling my friends that it’s like Facebook status updates only better. So, if I’m tweeting from home in the UK, where fewer people use it – as opposed to somewhere like the Bay Area – I’m likely to share random facts about myself (blog style) or stay in touch with my friends stateside.

However, take me to the States where far more people use the app, it becomes much more of an outreach / conversational tool – enabling spontaneous meetups (read: booze-ups) and easy organisation between friends.

When I’m not making random videos and twittering nonsense, my day job of course involves organising Future of Web Apps, so what do I think is the future of this web app? It’s going to be fascinating to see how Twitter’s gravitational pull grows and its potential usage enters a whole new dimension. More and more companies are already using it as a reputation management tool, especially given the emergence of sites like TweetScan that provide immediate feedback on their products and services. That’s bringing about a whole new level of customer service (thank goodness!), and research and development.

Something that’s fascinating me at the moment is the rise and rise of the ‘personal brand’. @Garyvee did a great talk on this at FOWA Miami and is one of the best examples I know of someone that has built a fanbase and brand around their personality. Gary recently said that building a personal brand is the best way of “recession-proofing” and it’s easy to see why. Twitter allows you to wear your heart on your sleeve and for the community to feel like they’re getting to know you (even if this means realising that you’re a little nuts) as well as an insider’s look at the company you work for. Being able to track @melkirk means that I can respond directly to people and maintain close relationships. On the flip side you also need to develop a bit of a ‘rhino’s skin’ – what some people say on the web but never in person always amazes me!

A final thought, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you are, there is nothing better than Twitter for breaking and spreading news right now. The impact of seeing a Tweet on my desktop is ten times greater than a mail in my inbox. Normally from the people “on the ground” without spin. Unedited content. I love that.

0 Responses to “Twitter Morphing!”

  1. Thanks for the comments guys. I think you’re right – only time will tell – but it will be interesting 🙂

  2. That’s a very good rundown of Twitter, I also noticed my tweets changing depending on the situation I’m in, for example at conferences etc. In a place where you know there are a lot of similar people doing similar things, it’s a very direct communication tool. Now if only my close friends would start using it. Alas, most of them are not the creator-types.

    Regarding wearing your heart on your sleeve: I think finding out other people are nuts as well is actually very much a comforting idea 😉

  3. Linda S on April 18, 2008 at 3:17 pm said:

    @Je Maverick: It was interesting to read among my Midwest tweet contacts their news on the earthquake this a.m., so yeah, it may have a life as a news site.

  4. I totally agree on the personal brand thing. I always thought that the whole Global Microbrand idea centred around my blog – which is great by the way 😉 – but Twitter says much more about me, what I am doing, where I am than anythig else I use.

    In just a few short tweets, Twitter communicates far more about me, the person than a long diatribe about the merits of IE8 being standards compliant may ever give.

    Likewise, I also get much more of an insight into other people’s personalities and feel like I already have something in common with people when I do eventually meet them.

    http://www.twitter.com/paulfabretti

  5. Great post Mel. I agree – my usage of Twitter has changed massively now that I’m taking some time off work and hanging out with @jacksoncarson 🙂 It’ll be interesting to see if my tweets go back to being more web-industry centric when I come back to Carsonified HQ.

  6. Interesting article on the usage on Twitter; not promoting the content, as I have never used Twitter, but found it interesting.

  7. Like some people, I didn’t get the whole Twitter thing either at first. However, I find it much more useful if you use a desktop client like Twitterific. It’s especially useful when you are trying to introduce yourself (personal branding) or show the progress of an upcoming project. Much like your new ‘secret’ project coming out.

    I’ve never thought of it as a customer service tool, but that’s a pretty interesting take on it.

    It just seems to damn simple, why didn’t anyone think of this before?

    BTW, I need more followers 🙁

  8. I thought that I’d include the twitter responses below so that I can answer everything in one place…

    @pierskarsenbarg – Why do you think twitter hasn’t taken off as much over here?

    I think at the moment that Twitter is still mainly used by people in the industry. In my opinion I would say that there is a greater web community in the States that in the UK – I don’t think that will always be the case, but whilst it is I think it will continue to be used more over there.

    @davidhughes – Interesting post. I’m also struggling to get friends here. I think you are either a creator or a consumer. Creators Twitter.

    Interesting observation David. I would say that I was a cross between the two but I think that will definitely change as more people use it.

    @Jé Maverick – I would say that Twitter can be trusted, it’s just sometimes the users that can’t be – so therefore it all depends on who you are following. Much of the content can be speculation and not fully researched like if it were on a news or blog site. However, in situations where you see a number of simultaneous tweets like “earthquake” you can be pretty sure it’s true 😉

    @Andy Budd – I agree that Twitter is incredibly granular and geographic. Maybe I’m speaking just from my personal experience and I don’t have many British friends, but the majority of people I communicate with on Twitter are in the States (even though I’m in sleepy Bath).

    I couldn’t agree more with your point about marketing yourself. No matter what tools you use to self-promote, it has to be sincere. There has to be a genuine interest in the community and a desire to interact. This also stands for blog posts, email communications, site copy etc. Sincerity is the quality that makes the difference between OK and amazing.

    @prisca – Thanks. It’s my first “proper” post on the Carsonified blog, so I appreciate it :). Totally with you – after Southby ’07 I’d almost OD’d on Twitter and really withdrew, but now I’m more immersed and in love than ever.

  9. You can tell twitter is coming of age, as it’s being spammed more and more now.

    I think twitter works best when it’s someone being genuine. Genuinely updating with genuine tweets about what’s going on.

    I think twitter works best when it’s trying to push at people. A genuine person follows people they find interesting (in some respect). Someone trying to push info at people follows people they want to follow them back. Which is why I am suspicious of anyone who follows more than 200 people (baring some people like Ryan, who are connected kind of people) and pretty much block anyone following over 1000. The average person can’t manage that many connections properly, and they’re just link farming for followers. IMHO.

    I think as it grows things like tweetscan will become more useful and more integral, but the best twitternets will still be groups of people tweeting about genuine stuff.

  10. Nice article, Mel 😉

    I was initially not that interested in Twitter as I didn’t quite ‘get it’ before trying it out. With so much talk about it and a lot of my favourite geeks using it – I finally gave it a go and now I am also one of the Twitter fans 🙂

    I love the immediacy of it – it does make it so easy to stay in touch with friends, colleagues and fellow geeks. I feel it does connect us. It’s also nice to get a glimpse of someone’s personality which might not come across on their blogs or sites as much. I also love the aspect of sharing links – to resources, new online happenings or just fun bits 😉

  11. I’m not sure I agree with your assertion that less people Twitter in the UK than the US. It’s far more granular and geographic than that. For instance, there isn’t a massive Twitter community in Bath, but there is a huge one in Brighton. Similarly there probably isn’t a huge Twitter community in NYC, but in San Francisco it’s massive.

    I can understand the desire to use new technologies and services like Blogs or Twitter to market yourself. However this approach always makes me feel slightly uncomfortable as it lacks a certain amount of authenticity. You never know if people are being genuine or just filling in their daily marketing quota.

  12. I’ll probably start using twitter more when I launch my site properly. Do you think that Twitter can be a trusted news source though?

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