October 30th, 2008

Tweets and Human Curiousity

The talk about Twitter right now is abundant.  It seems that it has finally reached the masses and people (and companies) are starting to get more interested in it.  The Wall Street Journal has even written about it.  I signed up for Twitter about a year ago and write my own tweets pretty intermittently – some days I am very active, other days nothing (you can see my latest Twitter posts in the right-hand column on this blog).  However, I keep Twhirl open on my desktop every day and track many people and news organizations.  I am addicted to getting that feed directly to my desktop all day long.

It is an interesting social phenomenon: humans have always been curious about other people’s lives and thoughts, and now people actually want to openly share their lives and have found a way to deliver those straight to your desktop or cell phone instantly.  I am amazed at how open our lives have become, including mine.  I have always been a private person, but now I am sharing everything online and am having fun doing it.  Part of me feels like I have to do it out of fairness: I love reading everyone’s else’s information and I feel too voyeuristic if I am not sharing my own.

(If you love reading about people’s lives and don’t mind feeling voyeuristic, check out PostSecrets: “an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a postcard.”  I am also addicted to this site.  Some of the secrets are funny, some are scary and many are sad.  I think this site has a interesting way of making people feel not so alone in the world.  It is also a cool mash-up of traditional communication (mail) with online communication (blog).  It reminds me of a more anonymous Twitter.)

For now, Twitter seems to be best for communicating up-to-the-second news updates and keeping up with your friends.  I am interested to see how companies will use it to communicate with their customers and if customers will actually “follow” companies through Twitter.  How Twitter will be used as a direct marketing tool has not fully been determined yet.  Marketers can (and should) be using Twitter to better understand their customers and their perceptions of brands/companies; we should think of it as an online focus group.  Through the Twitter search feature, we can plug in company names and see what people are saying about us and our clients.

A new Twitter project that I love is My First Tweet.  This was created by Noah Brier of Brand Tags-fame (I am jealous of his ingenuity when it comes to things like this).  My First Tweet is a database of people’s first words on Twitter.  He calls it “an anthropological dig on Twitter.”  Love this.

For those in Arkansas: Thank you to Lance Turner of Arkansas Business for the shout out on his blog as a local Twitter-er.  Check out what Lance says about Twitter here.  Blake Rutherford also recently wrote about his use of Twitter: see his comments at Blake’s Think Tank and follow Blake’s political commentary on Twitter.

You can follow me on Twitter here.

4 thoughts on “Tweets and Human Curiousity

  1. Interesting post.
    You might check out what Best Buy is doing with social media. Barry Judge, Best Buy’s CMO @BestBuyCMO has a Twitter account (I believe he had around 1500 followers last time I looked) which he uses to direct traffic to his own blog, in which he solicits input for the brand from a rapidly-building community.
    @LindsayLebresco is doing some great stuff for Graco. And @TheHomeDepot has done some interesting things with Twitter, especially during Gustav and Ike.
    I’ve been some to create awareness for Tyson’s hunger relief programs. @TysonFoods

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