Digital

Of Twitter obsession and disdain

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Unless you have been living under the proverbial rock, you must’ve heard about Twitter being hailed as a social media revolution. It also has it’s fair share of detractors. For an idea of what is being said against them, see here and here.

Am I an obsessive user of Twitter? No. Do I think it’s fun? Yes. While it tires me to read through tweets like ‘eating a water melon now’ or ‘just back from the gym’ (who cares?), I find it:

– a great way to discover links
– a potnetial way to connect with like minded people/interests
– an easy to make connections

For an ‘unsocial’ guy like me who grew up in old media, it makes it (along with stuff like LinkedIn and Facebook) slightly easier to make new connections. If by nature you are not the kind to keep in touch with friends, wish distant family relatives on Diwali and such like, such tools are unlikely to make you a rock star in social media. Twitter is made out to be a rage – but surprisingly, I don’t find the 20-somethings in my office obsessed with it. They are more into Facebook & Orkut and I doubt if some of them are even aware of Twitter. How Twitter is going to make money in the long run is another issue.

Like most things new, a lot of hype and disdain surrounds this. For every person who hails Facebook and Twitter as revolutionary there will be five others who dismiss them as mere fads for the faltu. Take the App Store of iPhone for example – a revolutionary concept in mobile phones that brings thousands of utilities to the iPhone thus enhancing it’s utility & entertainment value. But for every app that truly makes a difference to your productivity there are 5 apps of the ‘fart’ kind. That doesn’t mean that you trash the concept. Similarly, there are those who choose to tweet only about the trivial goings on in their lives (‘waiting for the bus’. Jesus.) and those who make a difference, like this. Ironically, those who come down hard on Twitter are bloggers – who did not have that platform, say 5 years ago. Not all posts in the blogosphere are the inspirational, ‘wprld changing’ kind. There are many posts which could be called ‘extended tweets’ because they write about what they fed the cat and what they did during a holiday and so on.

The key questions about Twitter would be: what is the next level? How will it make money? How can/will brands use it meaningfully? I believe Dell has already made a start but I am sure lots of brands & agencies are still groping in the dark.

I can understand people being obsessed about Facebook & Twitter, but for me, those will be things that I dabble in. Want to Tweet about this? Or update your Facebook status? Post it on delicious? Friendfeed? Reddit?

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A marketing communications professional with a keen interest in all things advertising. I share creative ads and views on the ad industry here. Views are personal. See Disclaimer for more.

2 Comments

  1. Might as well comment about it. I owe my knowledge about twitter and it’s ilk to you and general joblessness… really. Having said that, I think the more ‘readable’ tweets with some insight in them are by 30 somethings, who incidentally are not the facebook and orkut obsessed ones (There is no research done on this subject, I am faffing). Faf apart, I am quite impressed with the media coverage online campaigns are getting these days. Pink Chaddi being my reference. Amazing how 15 days or so generated so much conversation. Amazing ad medium with instant, measurable results (and criticism). What do you think?

    • Yes, conversation on the 26/11 incidents come to mind. It was a virtual live coverage of incidents on Twitter. Though why one would follow that instead of watching it live on TV beats me. Brands like Fastrack (http://twitter.com/Fastrack) have twitter pages linking to their brand page. Apart from discovering links, it gives you a feel of what is creating buzz, what is occupying people’s minds…

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