Sunday, November 15, 2009

Andre and Carre's Twitter Experience

Advantages of Twitter
Today, socially connected people are frequently using the status updates on social media networks such as MySpace or Facebook to communicate. With these social networks and blogging becoming more popular, it was probably only a matter of time before someone came up with a hybrid of both. Thus, microblogging was born with Twitter being the most popular and used service. Twitter is a platform for friends, family, or fellow students to communicate through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one of the simplest questions: WHAT ARE YOU DOING? It’s easy to use and navigate through and above all: it’s free! (Scott, 243)

That said people generally use Twitter to keep other people (those that have chosen to become “followers” or subscribe to another’s tweets) updated on where they are and what they are doing. Gaining a following can also benefit a business as they might be able to gain insights into their target markets or get feedback on their ideas. Thanks to the ubiquity of Twitter via mobile devices, people are able to let the world know what they are doing anywhere, anytime. Twitter users can choose who they follow e.g. family members, friends, celebrities or politicians. People use Twitter to post information that is much more concise than a blog and more casual than an email (Scott, 243).

Every marketer or advertiser should be aware of Twitter these days. More importantly, they should be able to understand how people use this social network and microblog in order to apply it as an advertising tool. The most important aspect – from an advertising perspective – is that you do not use Twitter simply as a channel to talk up your brand, products, or services. To successfully channel its power as an advertising tool, it is important to also listen. This will allow marketers to understand what their consumers need. By applying that need to the brand they can get people interested in their newsfeeds as well and therefore market something on a rather subliminal level to them (Scott, 244)

Twitter’s Limitations

Despite those advantages, Twitter still has many drawbacks including the limited number of characters allowed in a post, the credibility of the posts, privacy concerns, and spam. Twitter limits the size of posts to 140 characters, forcing participants to be much more concise in relaying their thoughts. We found that if we had more to say, we would need to post a link. That is what many other users of Twitter do as well. Frequently, tweets are linked to YouTube, Digg, blogs, or newsfeeds so that followers can click to get the full story. This doesn’t make Twitter a “hub”, but rather an unnecessary stop along the way to getting credible information.

Credibility is another issue on this SNS. As guest speaker Victoria Selfridge pointed out, many who re-tweet do not check the credibility of the original story and very quickly, inaccuracies can spread.

Many on Twitter use pseudonyms in order to protect their privacy because Twitter is easily searchable using This site allows you to search for keywords and view the tweets of all who have mentioned them.

Finally, as many of us in the class had found out, spam is a problem on Twitter. Spammers often target new members of the site because they are the most likely to accept a follow request from those they don’t necessarily know. According to, Twitter is in danger of following MySpace, “... where fake accounts are abundant and the majority of friend requests are from small businesses pitching a product or scammers trying to sell their fool’s gold” (Moon, 2009).

Moon, Bernard. “Twitter Spam: Three Ways Spammers are Filling Twitter with Junk”. 15th July 2009. Mashable: The Social Media Guide.

Scott, David Meerman. The New Rules of Marketing and PR. John Wiley and Sons. New Jersey, 2009.

1 comment:

  1. I appreciate the advantages you described. Sarah and I didn't have the most positive experience with Twitter for this Social Media Project. I understand that businesses and marketers are heavily using Twitter these days, and it's excellent for quick, frequent updates, but I personally agree with many of the limitations you stated, as well.

    It was frustrating at times to consolidate thoughts into the 140 character space that Twitter allows. Our account also was spammed A LOT which was a big turn-off for Twitter (and MySpace years ago) and allure for Facebook.