Joe - this blog post discusses what a friend of mine, Jim MacLennan, is thinking about Twitter: "Twitter" on the Factory Floor? I like it because it gets us away from what seems to be a too restrictive focus on "white collar" and "knowledge worker" usage of workplace collaboration tools.
Alexandria, Virginia USA
I've been trying to incorporate Twitter into my band's promotional efforts. Either we don't have a big enough fan base, or only those people already tuned into social media are using Twitter. Right now I just feel like a Twit! haha j/k
I have noticed that people in the music community have adapted most of the social networking phenom's ... we were using myspace and facebook because they are just free ways to promote, probably not because we are any more adept with computer technology. It's been interesting to see the clamor in the professional world over such things and it's just a nice reminder that people need to focus on relationships produced by the technology and not the technology itself. That's already starting to sound a bit cliche?
Twitter's something I've never used, either on a personal level or in the workplace. Probably because I've never had to - none of my friends use it, etc. But it does seem to be getting more and more exposure, so maybe I should learn more about it!
Who knows, maybe it could be used at work!
I recently joined Twitter and dont really get it either - maybe my life is too drab to announce to all my peeps that I just spilled my Dr, Pepper or I'm glad it's Friday.
BUT for the needs for your band (party hardy) you want to let your followers, friends, fans know what you are up to and where you'll be playing. So from a publishing of content perspective it could work for you. I was recently turned on to www.Hellotxt.com. It lets you put in all your social network sites user names and passwords and you can update your status one time and it shoots out across all platforms. This way your band spends a few seconds updating info to all your peeps across several fragmented networks such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, etc.Plus since you can do it from your phone you can immediately update your fans of any venue changes on the fly.
Just a thought.
I don't think it is Twitter per se that is interesting. It is things like "Topic Trends" on Twitter search. Here is a good example of what this immediate communication can do - Twitter as news wire. Here is an even better example of business application where instant messaging is captured and used - ESME - Enterprise Social Messaging Experiment. It's not Twitter, it's capturing the dialog and mining it.
The other point about keeping work and personal lives separate is a good one. Why would Twitter be different than email? Surely, people don't get personal email at work, do they? Facebook or LinkedIn (or the like) is another good example. Do I want all of my work colleagues to be friends in Facebook? I don't know. I don't but, for 24 year olds who used Facebook all through college probably, yes. I think you need separate identities and the ability to grant rights based on the identity. I would be willing to bet for many the work identity and home (personal) identity may not be synonymous.
If work information were strictly work, without any personal information then email, instant messages, and all correspondence should be available for information mining. When it comes down to legal matters that's how it works anyway so, why not take advantage of the information for productivity \ knowledge purposes?
I've been on Twitter for close to a year now and have found great professional & personal benefit from it. It initially felt like a class room, as you follow and converse with influencers in the industry as you learn new things almost everyday. Having the ability to actually talk with affluent people in the industry is what brings in the value for me. It's helped further evolve my knowledge & understanding of the online marketing/social media space (as well as networking skills) and has ultimately helped my career.
I don't think its a legitimate hope in keeping personal/professional lives separate. It all depends in the network of people you follow and how THEY utilize Twitter that will help you dictate how YOU utilize it and how you want your network to breathe. Sure there's personal things flying around, even from the influencers, but it helps build on those relationships to a more personal level and helps build trust to a point where if you want feedback/help/etc, that person will be there.
There's only noise if you think it's noise. Are you building professional relationships and getting to know people in the process or are you strictly business and don't want any tweets about 'Lil Jimmy's teeball game'? I don't think there needs to be specific tools or filters to cancel out 'noise' that someone may not want to hear. If a person feels that strongly against noise, they should unfollow the culprit.
I wrote a post on Conversation Matters that got good pick up and reactions explaining the business value and attraction to Twitter has. Overall I think it is a misunderstood medium, and it is easy to knock it if you only see what is happening on the surface. Until you feel you are part of the fabric of conversation it will be difficult to understand what is going on.
Overall the real value is the information brokering that happens between the trivial tweets, and for a business it allows you to humanize your message. It can be very powerful once a discussion takes off and is a good example of Dion Hincliffe's network effect in action.
Regarding misunderstood media, a quote from Gina Trapiani of Lifehacker:
The longer I do this, the more I suspect that a good part of the "information overload" story is a myth cooked up by folks who don't know how to use the internet well in order to demonize something they don't understand. I get more done via email and surfing the web than my parents ever did using phones and libraries, even when I'm having a bad day and switch to my email application the moment I see a new message notification.
Social media is at the same crossing. Texts, social networks, IM's, Tweets, status changes, wall posts, etc. don't represent information overload, they represent information opportunity. I'd love to see more more more... the smart programmers will be the ones that give me the best filters/indexes to sort it all out.
Interesting discussion here and some really good links. Funny thing about twitter is considering how small the communication capability is (140 characters) people sure do have a lot to say about it. This is good. I think we should be talking about it and finding the best use for it.
With twitter you either find it useful or you don't -- nothing wrong with not "getting it." It will evolve and filters are the key to that evolution. Personally, because I work at home and with a team all over the US, I find it very useful from the perspective of ambient intimacy McAfee mentions.
I initially tried to separate my personal twitter from my work twitter, but recently have decided I would rather not go to all that trouble. As with facebook, I have friends IRL and in work life and I see no need to keep them separated. Maybe my social life isn't as exciting as some .
Overall, twitter is a useful tool. So useful, in fact, that I hear it mentioned as a possible solution to various issues at least once a week. And that's great. It cannot be used for everything, but the good idea of using this type of functionality (micro-blogging, opt-in communication w/out e-mail, rss capability, etc.) is the beginning of a lot of other great ideas. We are using it already as part of our community. It's perfect for getting out short status updates on platform upgrades, downtime (not that we ever have any) and anything else I need to quickly share with our ever-expanding online community.
If it's useful, I reported on the company Zappo's use of Twitter, as well as some other ways individuals and brands are using social networks at
http://www.nyreport.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=Feature.showFeature&FeatureID=638 in the NY Enterprise Report.
Twitter is only noise if you pay attention to the noise. I mentally filter the clutter, and find useful tidbits from friends, people I respect, and even those I follow and I don't know. It is something that takes a bit to get used to.
To try it out, try following just a few people - perhaps use Search.Twitter.com to see who's talking about something you're interested in. Then when they reply to someone and the topic seems interesting, follow the person they replied to. This way you build your following (and followers) without getting overwhelmed.
I was just thinking that it would be awesome if there were a blog service set up where the "headline" aspect was tied into Twitter, so that every time you published a blog the headline would be sent through your twitter feed and all your peeps would instantaneously know you just created another masterwork!
alexking.org/projects/wordpress has a "twitter tools" plugin, so that any post you make on your blog can be Tweeted. Conversely, it can also post your tweets on a blog.
I've been inviting people to share how they have been using Twitter specifically to collaborate here: http://onlinefacilitation.wikispaces.com/Twitter+Collaboration+Stories
My sense is that there are a variety of levels - and your usefulness with them will vary. Here are three that have shown up for me.
- personal social presence with close people in your network (status updates, small thread of social connection)
- specific thinking and learning together (having a network of people in your domain, willingness to share, etc.)
- meta patterns (using hash tags to pull together related tweets, such as tweeting live from an event, looking for patterns across a wider network of tweeters, etc.)
I am a big fan of twitter myself, but when it comes to "internal Collaboration" I do not believe many organizations would see the benefit from twitter directly.
However, I do believe their is an opportunity to use a similar messaging style to break down communication walls and get more knowledge out of IM/Email and into a centralized area where others can benefit from it and when necessary add to the discussion.
Sorry - a bit late to the discussion.
I found Twitter became useful once you had reached a tipping point of follower/following - about 50 of each was the number for me. Less than that and the 'noise' outweighed the useful stuff; from there on the ratio of signal:noise improved. (By the way - I don't mind the noise most of the time ... it's generally easy to ignore if you're not interested in it, and I agree with earlier comments about providing a "human" perspective to the network).
The other benefit of having a reasonable number of followers/following is that it becomes easier to treat Twitter as a "river of news" that doesn't need to be monitored all the time - if a topic is important, then with enough people in your network it will probably come around again at a time when you ARE available to see it.
For those who want to focus on a topic, then there is the already-mentioned hashtags, or Twitter search (http://search.twitter.com/).
Personally not finding much use for twitter as non of my social contacts use it however I can see the appeal and understand the interest.
I do feel there is a use for the tool in the enterprise somewhere, just not sure about the niche. I was responsible for the implementation of Sametime here at Mars and I see similarities with twitter. I remember people telling me IM was a waste of time and something kids use on the internet, it has no business value. People didn't get it. Now if the sametime server has a slight wobble it lights-up the helpdesk phones. I have a feeling an enterprise implemention of twitter could do the same.
Joe, I agree. "Information Overload" is a myth. There has ALWAYS been an information overload.
As you say, the tools we now have provide more opportunities to manage. Problem is, some of the tools (e.g., RSS) just aren't intuitive for the casual user. That's a problem.
Alexandria Virginia USA