A little birdy told me so (tweet tweet)

I’ve been a twiiter user for several weeks now and have really gotten into it. (Check out all my twitter gadgets in the right hand nav bar)

Before I start (or buy) something new I tend to research it extensively and I handled twitter in the same way. Quite honestly I didn’t really see what it was good for, it just seemed like some “silly social toy for teens and texters”. So I resisted. But I kept running across it in blogs and chats with others, so I kept doing more research.  Finally I had a chat with my colleague Alec Muffett.  Alec, in his “think different” style wouldn’t let me have the conversation over IM, email, or telephone but instead made me get on Skype to talk to him.  No biggie, I use Skype (though I prefer iChat when possible), but he always has a way of reminding me that leaders in an IT company need to use technology that was invented after Windows 98 and Solaris 2.5.1.  So we fired up a skype video chat and up walks Bart Blanquart.  Alec turns to Bart and says “Hey, Brian’s having trouble getting started with Twitter”.   Bart’s reply:  “Just start using it man, you’ll get the hang of it!”  What more convincing did I need?  🙂

So like I do with everything else, I dove in with both feet.  Twitter asks you to answer a very simple question:  “What are you doing?” – and answer it in 140 characters or less.  The premise is easy enough, almost silly, and I started out with the basic “eating a hot-dog and talking to my kids” kind of entries.  But soon I found myself posting all sorts of little updates about my life, my job, my family, and what was in my head.

After using it for a bit I found that it wasn’t just full the minutia, but also the humorous, interesting, and even down-right useful.  Each day I get links to articles, blogs, and news and exposure to new business ideas that I wouldn’t have found on my own without spending hours combing through the flotsam and jetsam of the Internet.  One of the people I follow is the CEO of Zappos.  He’s got many of his employees using it but it’s his own use that I find interesting.  He surveys his customers with it, giving us a chance to participate in marketing research and exposing us to his ideas in a way that even a blog wouldn’t allow for.   

How to poll an audience with Twitter

Click to view some replies to the above question.

Others like JetBlueSouthWest Airlines, and Comcast have found ways to use twitter for customer support and relations.  

As part of my research I ran across this wonderful commoncraft video which explains that the point of twitter is to fill in the gaps:  “Real life is what happens between blog posts and emails.”  That’s the essence of the whole thing!  

So I’d encourage you to give it a try.  They make it soooo easy, from the web interface to SMS to IM to 3rd party tools, you can twitter from just about anywhere, anytime.  And where else but twitter could you wake up to find this:

MC Hammer (yes it's really him) follows my twitter feed!


Here’s some links for you:
Learn more:  http://www.commoncraft.com/Twitter  (short 4 minute video)
Join Twitter here:   http://twitter.com/
Follow me:  http://twitter.com/brianherman/

By the way, it’s not as interesting when you just read a big chunk of posts all at once, it’s more fun when you’re in with a group of people and the dialog goes by over time… think of it as a chat room that we’re not all logged into at the same time.

If you’re a Mac head, Twitterific is a great 3rd party tool that I like better than the IM or web interfaces.

Give it a try, I think you’ll find it fun and maybe educational – I just learned that Hawaii has a new super ferry between Oahu and the outer islands!

6/3/08 Update: Still not convinced?  Still don’t get it?  Check out this video from Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey.

<Jack Dorsey Presents Twitter from biz stone on Vimeo.>


6/20/08 UpdateStill not convinced?  Here’s a great post by on Park & Co about Twitter as a Personal Clipping Service (this by the way is one of my favorite things about Twitter, I get some great content from it)

~ by brianherman on May 13, 2008.

3 Responses to “A little birdy told me so (tweet tweet)”

  1. I still haven’t made it past my twitter block. I’m registered. I’ve made a few entries. That was some months ago. I will have to check out these posts.

  2. […] A couple of little updates were added to the bottom of my posting on […]

  3. Thanks for the nod to my Park&Co post, Brian. Another timely example of the Personal Clipping Service concept: I learned about ice on Mars – one of the most significant scientific discoveries of our lifetimes – not through newspaper or NPR or even CNN.com, but through Twitter. Thanks, tweeps!

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