Why Twitter? Communicate the Everyday Things

April 20, 2009

uconnseton@Peabody Twitter for emergencies. Got it. But I still don’t see why a friend would care if I’m at Bongo Java.

@Stella I watched the UConn game at a sports bar last week. No one cared when UConn was down, but I could commiserate with friends on Twitter.

@Peabody Instead of just sending eight separate text messages to eight friends, you sent one tweet to all your friends with Twitter?

@Stella Right. And my friends tweeted back – 8 friends talking on Twitter. And my buddy Dan came to watch the 2nd half because of my tweet.

Twitter is a good way to keep up with friends

Last week we talked about how Twitter could be used during an emergency. But Twitter is also useful for casually keeping up with your friends and family.

For instance, you wouldn’t email all your friends just to say you’re watching basketball. And you’d feel foolish emailing all of your friends to tell them you’ll be in Kentucky for the weekend. But your friends might like to hear about the little things that are going on in your life. These little things help us feel connected in between times when we can talk to each another.

So, my brother might tweet “Headed down to Bongo Java for some coffee and cake.” That’s not really worth a phone call or email to 30 people, but it is a fine thing to mention in passing. And who knows, maybe a friend is up for some cake. Because of Twitter you could have an impromptu meet-up, much like we used to stop in when we saw someone out on their front porch.

Twitter is a great way to spread the word

Twitter is a way to know what’s going on outside your own circle. Say you’re on the bus headed for work and you overhear someone talking about the rumored Keith Urban video shooting downtown. You might know one person who’s a Keith Urban fan, so you could email your friend. Or you could tweet the news to your circle of friends on Twitter. Now, anyone you know who has a friend who likes Keith Urban can spread the word to their friends. Without Twitter, the news may have spread much slower in your circle.

With emails, blogs, or texts, we message people we know – our audience is limited. Twitter lets to spread the word to an entire circle of people who can then spread the word to their circle of friends.

Twitter is great for businesses and organizations

If you’re wondering how a business might use Twitter, Comcast is one of the the best examples we have seen. Visit the ComcastCares Twitter page and you’ll see what we mean. You’ll see dozens and dozens of @ replies where the Director of Digital Care it talking to customers who have tweeted to @ComcastCares. If you’ve got a problem with your Comcast service, just tweet a message to @ComcastCares and the Digital Care rep will tweet back and try to help. It is simple, direct and personal.

Starbucks also reaches out to customers through Twitter. Wondering if you should store your coffee in the freezer?  Curious to know a coffee similar to the seasonal Christmas Blend? If you have a coffee question, tweet it to @Starbucks and Brad will get back to you.

H&R Block used Twitter to respond to tax questions. Amazon and Dell often post special deals on Twitter. These are just a few of the ways companies can reach out to customers through Twitter.

You’ll even find the library experimenting with Twitter. If you haven’t checked it out yet, visit the Nashville Public Library Twitter page. You’ll see tweets about upcoming events and even questions about the very first Online Book Club pick. Who knows where it will go from there?

What do you think of all this Twittering?

Do you tweet? Do you follow anyone on Twitter? There’s no activity on this one, so just share your thoughts in the comments.

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2 Responses to “Why Twitter? Communicate the Everyday Things”

  1. Mickey Rourke of the NPL Says:

    So far I’ve found twitter to be fun and useful. I can follow librarians and other folks that interest me. Haven’t quite got the hang of following topics with #(hash marks) yet. On the dutiful side of things, I can follow Joe Murphy or Stephen Abrams and see what the thinkers are thinking about. On beautiful side of things, a member of a band I like was tweeting from on stage at Coachella and that was blowing my mind. This made me realize though that maybe I needed a work~library twitter and a separate fun stuff twitter so I did that. Though my initial twitter account was created for Staff-in-the-Know so library stuff has been my focus.

    So librarian twitter name is: librarianbryan.

    Look me up. My microblogs are as fun as dirt, or pies if you don’t like dirt. I figure between pies and dirt I appeal to most everyone.

    If you might me thinking “I have no time for twitter!” There is a great end around: Use a startpage with a twitter widget. The best most useful staff-in-the-know ever was the one about startpages. I want to thank K&J for writing that one up because it was transformed (or at altered) the way I use internet here at work and at home for the better. Do you hop from computer to computer during your workday? I do, and my Netvibes startpage saves my life. All the resources I use are always at my fingertips thanks to my startpage. I added the twitter widget and now I can tweet where ever when ever without a second thought. You can only use 140 characters so its not like it is using up a lot of work time.

    Perfect example: I hoped on the ref desk today and had a moment or two before our volunteer started bringing me paged items to scan. So I tweeted about an interesting experience I had on the bus today (that related to libraries). [In a related matter our mayor rides my bus and reads newspapers with his Kindle, but that’s for a different staff-in-the-know.]

    If I see a downside to twitter it’s information overload. If I followed on twitter every coworker, friend, talking head, celebrity, author, company, band, that I am interested it I could never keep up with it. Or I think I might miss tweets that were useful or of interest to me. I’m not sure how to get around that but time will time.

    One more thing: today is administrative assistant appreciation day and I just want to say: MAMEE YOU’RE THE BEST!

  2. Jesse Says:

    An ironically gigantic comment about microblogs. Good job, Bryan.


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