For those who don’t know, Twitter is the free service that let’s you get updates from other people via cell phone. Unlike SMS which is one to one, Twitter lets you have those who “follow” you. Every time you update your Twitter status, which you can do via cell phone or at Twitter.com those who follow you get an update via Twitter.
Like any tool – technology or not – Twitter is only as good as how it’s used. I follow 61 people, and almost 200 people follow me. Like talk radio and other things in life, I would guess 80% of those you follow do the most updates with others not using Twitter all that much.
Here’s what I learned
Twitter is a very useful tool for keeping informed of something now. If you need to be notified immediately, SMS is probably the best way to be notified via a short and informative message.
The problem I found is that I’m not entirely interested in the small details of peoples lives (I’m in the show, my kids are home, etc), but am interested in the more professional aspects of their lives such as I’m in a strategy meeting now about a new server or We’re being sold to Google. Through Twitter I did get some of this useful, more professional information but there was indeed a lot of noise.
Thirdly, I found that often people sent web links via Twitter. This information is best received via email to look up through a desktop computer.
Finally, my phone bill was a lot more this billing cycle – due to tons of Twitter messages!
I no longer have Twitter messages sent to my phone via SMS, but now check Twitter online.
What does this mean for your business
If you want your customers to receive updates about something, Twitter is a great companion to a blog and email newsletter. Your programmer can help you setup a blog that sends each blog post via email, RSS, Twitter, Facebook and more. You can write once and give your customers (or anyone else) the option of how they receive information from you.
Twitter is an awesome business tool. But between getting pinged from Facebook and other social network sites (pings from sites such as Hi5 are increasing) it gets to be a bit much.