Interesting Report... Twitter and the Micro-Messaging Revolution - An O'Reilly Radar Report by Sarah Milstein
I recently received a copy of the O'Reilly Radar report titled Twitter and the Micro-Messaging Revolution: Communication, Connections, and Immediacy--140 Characters at a Time by Sarah Milstein. Like a number of my colleagues, it took me awhile before I ventured into the Twitter stream. Even then, it was primarily due to issues I had with not being able to contact my virtual network via instant messaging while at particular locations that block those sites. But in a short time frame, I became a believer in Twitter as more than a "I'm having lunch now" diversion. The concept of "ambient awareness" grows on you quickly, and pretty soon the twitterers I follow started to expand my vision and awareness of cool ideas and concepts in ways other platforms can't touch.
Milstein covers the brief history of Twitter, as well as what it brings to the table for individual users. The ambient awareness concept is more than just a fluffy meme with no substance. It's the ability to follow people, events, and unfolding situations (and also cover said people, events, and situations) in an "as they happen" mode without the overhead of blogs or RSS feeds. The short 140 character limitation makes for concise thought and impressions, and these microbursts offer immediate information long before other more formal avenues. They also offer up looks at what influential industry leaders are thinking about, leading to the discovery of trends and direction in a near real-time mode.
While most of the "individual" use of Twitter was familiar, it was the chapters on Twitter as a business tool that made this report invaluable to me. Companies as diverse as Comcast, JetBlue, and Zappos have used Twitter to monitor what people are saying about their company and product in real-time. By having someone immediately step up and address issues raised via Twitter, they are able to create a perception of exceptional customer service. Imagine twittering that you've had a horrible time with your Comcast internet connectivity. Don't be surprised if you receive a return tweet from ComcastCares offering assistance to cut through the red tape and get you a resolution. In addition to customer service, business are also using Twitter to monitor what's being said about competitors. All of this virtual chatter is rich with opportunity for business, and it's there for the taking. All you have to do is plug into it.
Twitter hasn't reached the level of blogging in the business world, nor is it a replacement for blogging. Instead, it's an opportunity to tap into your customer in ways not possible before. Reading this report is a good way to get Twitter on your business radar screen and determine if and when its time to pay attention to this technology.