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Craig Kerstiens

Why Twitter matters to you

Products Company - For me this may the be most obvious and strongest reason for any of the four groups to begin using Twitter. It’s quite simple, people use your product or service, people talk about your product or service, people ARE talking about your product or service on Twitter. Regardless of whether you want it or not, people are going to talk and they’ll speak their minds. I don’t believe I know of a company that wouldn’t want to know what it’s consumers are saying about them, much less that wouldn’t want to be part of that conversation. But if they really do want to, they have the chance to at least be part of it over twitter if they so choose.

Enterprise - The enterprise has two main reasons why I feel twitter is of importance. Those were highlighted in a little more detail in a previous post, but to sum them up… Twitter is an asynchronous IM that you could rollout within an enterprise and have control over. You could own the messages, which allows for companies concerned about data security to feel more at ease. It is a convenient medium to convey status to a team and reduce meetings while increasing knowledge flow.

Additionally twitter starts to become a place for brainstorming and flushing out ideas. On twitter I follow people with similar interests in similar spaces. As I have a fraction of an idea, or a problem I encounter I post to twitter. Others throw in their opinion and a few hours or days later I have hundreds of thoughts around it, and a hopeful solution or flushed out thought.

Power user - This is an interesting group, because I feel web 3.0 will change in many ways how this group works. Few users like a lot of noise, few users like to see hundreds of messages fly across their screen each hour, and even fewer are truly productive with this. However, for the time being, there are users that want that noise, and that only seem to become more productive and thrive further with the more they have of it. For those users twitter is a gold mine, you can’t find a place where you can get much more unfiltered noise, with the exception of the web as a whole. While in its most raw form twitter is extremely noisy, there are a variety of methods to filter this, which is where twitter seems to become most useful to the rest of the population.

Consumer - If you haven’t fit yourself into any of the above categories then this will be where you fall. If you use facebook, email, or IM to communicate with friends, then twitter will be your friend in coming years. I remember a time where it seemed almost a set time at night I would see my buddy list on AIM start to grow as the usual friends sign on. I wouldn’t talk to all each day, but over the period of a week would talk to most on there, get updates on their lives and make distant plans to catch up at some point. As the world seems to spin our lives become more hectic and complicated with each passing day. Some nights I sit at my machine and see only a fraction of people that I’ve talked to in over a year on AIM. I debate whether to reach out to them to hear their latest and greatest news, or avoid some of the awkwardness. Though I genuinely do care and would like to know, it’s not always a simple and relaxed conversation to feel a part of their life.

Facebook has done a reasonable job of overcoming this, but facebook has hit the tipping point, where you now seem to know more people on there than you actually do. People spend more time, wasting time than actually reconnecting, and at the end of the day it’s originally goal has started to seemingly fade.

Twitter on the other hang allows me to have conversations with friends over a longer period of time. I don’t have to sit and wait for my friend to respond, he gets to it when he can. But for me it still maintains that direct communication path feel like AIM. I can also communicate from one to many people much easier, now instead of sending out an email to all my contacts I post a tweet, then all of my friends get the message. All-in-all what twitter really gives you is a way to still feel close and connected to those people. While a facebook status message may work just the same, it somehow seems to get lost amongst all the noise.