The Twitter Shark Yet to Be Jumped

    March 3, 2009
    Chris Crum

Update: Add finding lost people to the list.

Mark McKinnonOriginal article: Mark McKinnon at the Daily Beast thinks Twitter has jumped the shark now that Congressmen are tweeting and making the service unhip. It’s not just that though. He talks about how people are using Twitter just to be using Twitter. Talking just to hear themselves talk. Frankly, he makes some pretty good points.

"Social media provides new ways to connect and interact with people; and it is a powerful and important tool," he says. "There are hundreds of dynamic applications that are improving the way we communicate, work and live. But, it is just as important that we stand back from time to time and focus as much on what we are saying as how we are saying it."

Sidenote: This reminds me of something Rand Fishkin talks about in the following video. He talks about how you shouldn’t be using social media services like Twitter just because they’re hot. You should be using them because you have a business plan FOR using them.

Back to McKinnon…Good enough advice, but…

There is a lot more going on with Twitter than just people babbling to nobody in particular. We’ve yet to see where the monetization model will go (they say there is a plan), but the things people are getting out of the service already should not be ignored.

Tweeting for Conversation

Clearly conversation is one of the biggest draws to Twitter. These are often one-sided, but even in those cases, that is not to say Tweets are not being read. Some people are just content to listen to what others say. Which brings me to the next item…

Tweeting for Information

You’ve no doubt seen stories about news breaking on Twitter. The Hudson River airplane emergency landing was an excellent example of that. It’s not just about news though either. Unlike other social networks, with Twitter, users can follow anybody they want, regardless of whether or not the favor is returned. They can see what is being said by the people whose opinions they respect.

Tweeting for Marketing

Look at what Skittles is doing with Twitter. They’ve got their homepage going straight to a Twitter search for skittles. Michael Gray has a list of things Skittle should be doing to make it better, but calls the move a win for Skittles.

Skittles Twitter Marketing

"Like Motrin did in the Motrin Moms ‘scandal’ they will take hit and look like weenies in the eyes of the techno elite for some critical and 100% preventable mistakes," writes Gray. "However in a few days they will be bathing in the mostly positive after glow of trying something different, getting a ton of attention, and a ton of links … so I say WAY TO GO SKITTLES!"

Tweeting for Charity

Then there is tweeting for charity. Blogger Jim Tobin points to the first-ever sponsored Tweet-a-thon. National Cinemedia’s Fathom Events will donate 10 cents to Care for every tweet you send that includes the hashtag #apowerfulnoise. More on that here (and in the following video).

Long story short, there is a lot going on with Twitter, and frankly, I think we’re still in the very early stages of seeing its potential. This becomes more evident to me, the more third-party apps that become available (including our own Twellow). I think the shark has yet to be jumped.