Intersecting Minds: Education, Business and Technology at the North Carolina State Jenkins Graduate School of Management

Atwitter | March 23, 2009

Seems these days that everyone is talking about Twitter, and for good reason. The social networking site is experiencing explosive growth at the moment. Twitter experienced 1,382% year-over-year growth from February ’08 to February ’09, according to Neilsen. That’s an incredible jump in usage, and these days it seems like everyone is talking about it (link to funny Daily Show video).

So what is the attraction to Twitter? Why do we feel the need to communicate our thoughts/actions 140 characters at a time to a sea of followers? Don’t we already have facebook status messages, individual text messaging, and blogs to do all this for us?

Yes, yes, and yes to those other outlets. But Twitter does offer a unique value-add. It opens the door to providing direct, immediate feedback, and it breaks down yet another barrier between the masses and the elite in our society. Political reporters such as Karen Tumulty (@ktumulty) and Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) are on twitter and engaging their audience in coversations about the White House. And fans can tweet messages to their favorite basketball players (@THE_REAL_SHAQ, @CV31, @JBay4). If they’re lucky, they might even get replies.

Major corporations will also have to seriously consider adding Twitter to their social networking repetoire. Twitter should be another tool in the belt for tech-savvy companies because of its low cost and ease of use. There are all kinds of creative ways for companies to use the site for customer outreach and support. Retailers could let customers know of sales. Manufacturers and distributors could solicit immediate feedback on new products. You get the idea.

As I’ve been typing this blog post, I have my TweetDeck open and have received tweets from two of my favorite basketball bloggers, a quick blast from my cousin in Portland and a link to a hilarious video about people who follow Twitter too much :-). Additionally, Twitter has now made it possible to link your tweets to other social networking sites such as Facebook, Myspace and Orkut. I have my Twitter account (@RyanMills1) hooked up to my facebook status. Twitter is here to stay, and as more people continue to join the conversation, the site will accrue more relevance.

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