Twitter for Business, or is it. Really?

Last Wednesday, I attended an excellent BCSNLB event on "Twitter for Business", and whilst it was both engaging and well attended (indeed over-subscribed), I am still not convinced that Twitter has a legitimate place in business - for the very simple reason that people are still talking (or trying to convince each other) about it.

There is a school of thought that evangelism can be misplaced; especially if it is stating the obvious and preaching to the choir (e.g. that social networking applications can be beneficial for business 2.0). But if this is the case for Twitter then why does it appear to be taking so long to gain traction with businesses, and thus necessitating a seemingly endless round of "gee whiz, look-what-you-can-do-with-Twitter" brand of discovangelism (SIC). Ok, so there is Dell and a few other examples of the successful application of Twitter, but does that make it the ubiquitous Web2.0 business application that it is so often positioned? Hmmph!

Granted that just like mobile's SMS, Twitter is a phenomenal tool for exchanging bite-size information and a facilitator of inter-personal interaction with a global community of users (much like the 300M strong FaceBook). All these technologies are being used by businesses as additional, personalised channels for marketing and customer engagement. However, that does not necessarily make Twitter the must-have requirement for businesses wanting to engage with potential customers.   

Perhaps I am just being impatient and this will come to pass in time, as in the innovative use of SMS for mobile money, but it would be nice see some more tangible evidence fast. I just remember dot.com bubbles, irrational exuberance, and other more recent nasties. Oh dear, here we go again…

Note: The above is just a personal opinion, and not intended in any way to detract from the excellent event or brilliant speakers / enlightened Twitterati, i.e. Mario Menti (@mario); Judith Lewis (@judithlewis) and Guy Stephens (@guyatcarphone)

 

Comments (5)

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  • 1
    Shah Auckburaully wrote on 30th Sep 2009

    Twitter can be used for communication in businesses. [Refer to http://network.bcs.org/group/130/discussions/132 ] Twitter does not do much of collaboration aside from 2 way asynchronous communication but it is a social network - thus businesses can use the social network service features (via the APIs.) E.g knowing that there are a lot of Twitter users, someone may develop a tailor-made help desk system whereby people authenticate using their Twitter accounts.

    I invite you to join the following groups on the BCS Network.
    http://network.bcs.org/group/124
    http://network.bcs.org/group/130

    I'd love to have your opinions and hopefully more members will show interest in microcontent and micromedia.

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  • 2
    Sadiq Akbar-Basha wrote on 30th Sep 2009

    The term "corporate silo" is an unfortunate reality that many of us are familiar with. Attempting to increase interaction across functional, strategic or geographic boundaries within our working world has seen resulted in overloading our email inbox, the rise (and in some cases the fall) of office news letters and multitudes of e-media bulletins that end up not being read by the intended audience. Perhaps twittering will solve our communication challenges and then again perhaps it won’t. Let's however not rule it out before we've given it a bash.

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  • 3
    Frank Boesche wrote on 1st Oct 2009

    The concept of Twitter is indeed being slowly adopted to bridge (not break) intellectual and execution silos in large organizations. While Twitter itself taps more into a "global" community the more enterprise/corporate needs for sharing and transparency is met by its equivalent "Yammer". In contrast Yammer not only provides microblogging a a variety of realtime clients for desktop, mobile devices as well as browser plug-ins but also the ability to channel information (overload) through user defined communities. Yammer is in its basis is free like Twitter however the ability to moderate and govern the social space is licensed based on community size. This being the reason why it labels itself as "Enterprise Twitter".

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  • 4
    Carol Long FBCS (@fixing_projects) wrote on 2nd Oct 2009

    Is Twitter a useful business tool?

    Try this comparison: Is placing newspaper stories about things your business is interested in (rather than directly selling the business's offering) a useful business tool? In some cases it will develop enough interest in an organisation's products or services to make a sale. More often, it is about building a presence and a relationship with a target audience and getting to finding who that audience is.

    Twitter helps with the "finding out who that audience is" better than a newspaper article.

    Twitter is a tool with a very specific capability: to send short notes to people who have said they are interested in receiving those short notes and has some capability to broadcast those notes to all Twitter subscribers for a very short period of time after you press the send button. Given that limited capability, it seems to do quite well at what it is designed for. It is not a silver bullet for marketing budgets. Don't overestimate the capability and then you won’t have a perceived lack of delivery.

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  • 5
    Jude wrote on 10th Oct 2009

    "Don't overestimate the capability and then you won’t have a perceived lack of delivery"

    I think that sums it up quite nicely, but someone needs to tell that to the hype machine / police.

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About the author
Jude Umeh is a member of the UK's Sector Consulting Group in Capgemini's global Telecom Media and Entertainment (TME) community. His areas of expertise include: music, media and digital rights management; and he contributes to thought leadership development and delivery of solutions and services to the stakeholders in these fields. Jude is the author of The World Beyond Digital Rights Management.

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