Micro-blogging service Twitter launched back in March of 2006 and was thought by many to have ‘tipped’ at last year’s SXSW tech conference in Austin, Texas.
But a slew of recent articles, including one in today’s Guardian, suggests that it might be about to tip again. And this is why you should care.
Today’s Guardian Techniology section features an interesting article entitled ‘Making the most of Twitter’.
In it Charles Arthur gives an overview of the micro-blogging service, including some of its biggest success stories (helping to publicise the arrest of, and ensuring the subsequent release of, an American student by Egyptian police), the many purposes it can be put to, and some of the tools, both fun & functional, that have grown up around it.
Despite the fact that many have argued that Twitter ‘tipped‘ at last year’s SXSW, when attendees and speakers used it as a way of keeping in touch, and sending round news of sessions and events, the latest burst of buzz around the service suggests that it may actually be about to get (slightly) bigger.
Whilst Patrick has already given a great overview of how the service can be used for tracking brand reputations, and digital consultant Nico Macdonald thinks that it’s “ridiculously overhyped”, there is still enough interesting about the service to make it worth a try for those with an interest in the digital world who have yet to sign up.
For a start there is the simple fact that, as proved at SXSW, both last year and this, it can be a very simple way of finding out what the tech elite are thinking about, listening to and, of course, where they’re planning to get drunk later.
Now Drama 2.0 has argued on more than one occasion that the digital world can resemble a giant fish-bowl, where hype about a new product or service can be whipped up simply because everyone is talking to each other, rather than anyone in the ‘real world’.
However there is still something to be said for tracking the conversations of the people who put the likes of Google, MySpace and Yahoo on the map.
Equally, whilst the idea of marketing to influencers (as popularised by the same book responsible for the phrase ‘tipped’) is now being rubbished, there can be no doubt that many of the websites that many of us now think of as mainstream, started as the preserve of those people who now spend an inordinate amount of Twitter.
And whilst I’d probably agree with Drama 2.0 that the likely boost in sales generated by those companies actively using Twitter as a promotional tool (it seems to be especially popular with airlines in the US) is likely to be minimal, it’s certainly a cheap way of generating PR, and in these increasingly jaded days, that can never be a bad thing.
But ultimately, Twitter can be great fun; it manages to blend the delights of instant messaging, blogging & texting in one great little application (and for the foreseeable future will be free).
And like those things it can provide you with entertainment, the occasional insight, and often simply acts as a way to keep in touch with friends & colleagues, especially for those of us living in the globalised village which is the digital industry.
So if you’ve even got just a few minutes spare today, why not get set-up on Twitter? The worst that can happen is that someone will call you a Twit.