[LINK] A Quick Comment on Twitter (was Re: More KevinPM - crashed site)

Stilgherrian stil at stilgherrian.com
Mon Nov 17 06:52:06 AEDT 2008

On 16/11/2008, at 10:51 PM, Kim Holburn wrote:
> There are twitter experts?

Of course there are.

In a broad sense, Twitter is just one form of the emerging "social  
media". There are experts in many aspects of how the increasing use of  
social media is changing business, society and personal life, some who  
look at it from an academic perspective, for want of a better word  
(monitoring, describing etc), and others in a more practical sense  
(what does this mean for your business? how can we use this in a  
marketing or customer support role?).

Twitter is already being used heavily by some businesses to monitor  
their brand's reputation and to pick up problems. This happened to me  
recently with Dell.

     "How Dell fixed my monitor order"

Other uses are listed in the Wikipedia article.


In a more specific sense, there are people who could have advised the  
PM's office on how Twitter has already been used for political  
purposes, and given them some pointers on the "social norms" and other  
social dynamics which could have made Mr Rudd's entrance into the  
Twitterverse less of a (slight) stumble. Native guides as it were.

I suspect many people underestimate Twitter (or whichever of its 100+  
clones and competitors will eventually become standard communications  
tools) because an initial impression can often be that it's inane.  
Taken in isolation, human social grooming and phatic communication  
often is. If you were just listening to the typical conversation on a  
bus or in a front bar or around a water cooler you might similarly  
imagine that "talking" was a pointless tool. But of course talking is  
also how we produce some of the most profoundly important "results" of  
human communication -- Society, Politics, etc etc...

The key issues are that tools like Twitter makes that conversation  
global, instantaneous, searchable, linkable... Already the  
hyperconnected Twitterverse gets a sense of, say, the impact of an  
earthquake in half the time taken "professional" news outlets.


The Twitter "back channel" is changing how conferences run. Google  
"twitter conference back channel". Twitter-connected folks in the  
audience are summarising, discussing and forming opinions on the  
material being presented *while* it's being presented, even when  
they're not physically present at the venue.

The other day it was revealed that Google trends can predict a flu  
outbreak 7 to 10 days ahead of the Centres for Disease Control's  


Twitter is faster still.

Mark Pesce's keynote at Web Directions South, "This, That and the  
Other Thing" http://blog.futurestreetconsulting.com/?p=76 was the most  
wide-ranging of is presentations on this theme, so "Friends, Enemies  
and My Army" http://blog.futurestreetconsulting.com/?p=57 might be  
more user-friendly.

Googling the term "ambient intimacy" might generate some useful links  


Stilgherrian http://stilgherrian.com/
Internet, IT and Media Consulting, Sydney, Australia
mobile +61 407 623 600
fax +61 2 9516 5630
Twitter: stilgherrian
Skype: stilgherrian
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