Friday, July 10, 2009

10 reasons why Twitter is great

Twitter isn’t as revolutionary as the telegraph, telephone, radio, TV or PC, as celebrity douchebag Ashton Kutcher maintains, but it does have its uses.
Sorry, AplusK, but Twitter is an incremental technology advance that has its roots in Internet bulletin boards and Web logs.
Here’s a list of 10 good things about Twitter:

  1. Twitter is an excellent communications medium for people who want to get the word out quickly and broadly about a news event. The Mumbai terrorist attacks in November 2008 and the post-election upheaval in Iran in June are two oft-cited examples. People were able to bypass conventional means to broadcast their experiences. (Counterpoint: Sourcing is a problem for mainstream media that need to verify information on Twitter. Also, Twitter has been used to spread fake news, such as false reports of celebrity deaths.)

  2. Real-time search. People can do real-time searches of tweets to get a snapshot of what people are thinking about a news event, television show, movie or other subject.

  3. Twitter is great for complaining about companies and government agencies. And people might actually be listening to what you’re saying. Organizations are starting to track customer and citizen gripes to resolve their problems and improve their offerings. I’ve personally complained on Twitter about Dollar Rent A Car service and a bland new premium burger at McDonalds. Among the organizations that troll Twitter looking for disgruntled customers are Comcast, Dell, Southwest Airlines and the city of San Francisco. A startup company, CoTweet, has even sprung up to help companies do customer service on Twitter. WholeFoods, Starbucks and Microsoft are CoTweet users.

  4. Short but sweet writing. Because Twitter posts are limited to 140-characters, the service forces writers to condense their thoughts and focus on getting their points across simply and briefly. Some comedy writers on Twitter have perfected this.

  5. Twitter has become a good way for mainstream media to disseminate their content via Web links. These links drive traffic back to their Web sites and hopefully generate advertising revenue.

  6. Twitter is an open platform that developers can use to make compelling new applications.

  7. Being able to “follow” your favorite news media, blogs and comedy Web sites. It’s a simple way to get alerted to new articles, photos and videos. You simply scan the tweets like headlines and click on the embedded Web links that interest you.

  8. Attracting followers to your tweets. Even if they’re mostly marketers. Maybe I’ll grow an army of Twitter followers and command them to do my bidding! Bwha-ha-ha-ha. (Evil laugh.)

  9. In theory, getting unfiltered comments from public figures. Of course, many celebrities will have assistants tweet for them.

  10. Brian Deagon is on Twitter. Investor’s Business Daily’s esteemed technology business writer reveals his thoughts about classic rock, rants about Sarah Palin and current events. I’m not really serious about this one. Sorry, Brian. But the point is that Twitter lets people stay in touch with friends, relatives and co-workers, and gives them a starting point for conversations via e-mail, phone or even Twitter direct messages. On that note, Brian, you’re absolutely right about Blondie’s killer song “Atomic.” It’s awesome.

This post is a follow-up to yesterday’s “10 reasons why Twitter sucks.”

IBD colleague and Twitter celebrity Brian Deagon (top)
One of my Twitter followers, Nestor Pabon, living the good life. (Alas, the account, name and photo are a front for a sex meds marketing company.)

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