There is much confusion on how to use the Twitter @ sign – even amongst daily Twitter users. So as part of my ongoing series Twitter Insights, I wanted to cover how the @ actually works (even experienced users may be surprised by some of the points)
1. When you use the @username (e.g. @msuster for me) the message you write appears in my @msuster inbox on Twitter.com and on any of the desktop or mobile clients. Great.
2. This is a good way to call something out to my attention since it is narrower than just broadcasting hoping that I might see the message
3. It is also a sign of attribution when you retweet a message by another user (e.g. RT @msuster). People also use it in other obvious ways including suggesting users to follow such as #FollowFriday @msuster
4. You can send an @ message to anybody – whether or not they follow you. You can only “d” people (direct message) who follow you.
5. I am currently not overwhelmed with people who @ message me so I read all of mine. Usually in a timely manner. But if the person you @ has tons of followers (think Robert Scoble, Michael Arrington or any celebrities who use Twitter) don’t assume they’ll see your messages
1. This is important … If you send somebody a message and you START it with an @name then the only people who will see your message are people who follow you and people who follow the person you replied to. Most people don’t seem to know this. For example, if you follow me but not @deblanda an I send her a message starting with an @ then you won’t see it at all. Anyone who follows both of us will see the message. If you precede the message by anything, even a dash and a space like, “- @deblanda nice to see you” then everybody will see it.
When Twitter first became popular with niche crowds in 2007 it seemed to take hold initially with bloggers. People had been steadily blogging for 2-3 years and this crowd seemed to bifurcate.
On the one hand were the blogs that “blew up” and became real businesses like TechCrunch, GigaOm or TalkingPointsMemo. On the other hand were everybody else including those that tried to make a full time of it like Robert Scoble as well as those that did it as a side job like VCs, CEO’s and start-up entrepreneurs.
So Twitter was initially billed at a “micro-blogging” platform. It seemed to save all of the bloggers from coming home at the end of the day from whichever conference they were attending and have to turn in long-form content like a journalist. Suddenly it was about very frequent commentary in a bite-sized format. Whew. Now we could all sleep more. Or could we?
So with the metoric rise of Twitter now forecast at 45 million as of August 3rd, 2009 (and rising fast), has Twitter Killed the Blogger Star?
I would argue it’s the exact opposite. I believe that Twitter has sparked a resurgance in blogging. Here is some anecdotal evidence:
ExpenseBay Wins Showoff
Twiistup 6 has come to an end. It proved to be a great transitional year. Out is the “cocktail only” Twiistup and in is the new format of a conference that should take its rightful place on the national technology calendar. I believe that Twiistup is now a platform from which to grow and highlight what is uniquely LA. We are a city unique in merging the world’s best content with digital media and technology expertise. Much of this was highlighted at Twiistup.
LA not only produced the obvious – MySpace – but also created the whole category of sponsored search (Overture), AdSense (Applied Semantics), Local Search (City Search), comparison shopping (PriceGrabber, Shopzilla) and lead generation (LowerMyBills). In SoCal we are also leaders in affiliate marketing (Commission Junction), Internet video (Hulu) and bringing local businesses online (ReachLocal). We are also home to DemandMedia (Richard Rosenblatt) and Mahalo (Jason Calacanis).
We have accomplished much yet have much work to do.
This post is part of my ongoing series Twitter 101 for all those that still “don’t get” Twitter. I’m now moving from the 101 basics into the business applications. I think we all know by now that a conversation is happening on Twitter and that this extends to talking about brands.
Twitter is the new CRM (customer relationship management) channel. The volume of Tweets is enormous and growing at a rapid pace so tools are emerging to help brands manage this information.
In an earlier post I spoke about the asymmetric nature of Twitter vs. Facebook. It turns out that this difference has a huge impact on the business applicability of Twitter that nobody could have anticipated. On Facebook (and nearly all social networks that preceded it) the relationship was always reciprocal – if I accept your invitation to follow me then I have to follow you. The default setting and behavior on Facebook has been “private” and therefore you need permission to follow my status updates. It is a closed, two-way relationship between users in which brands are not invited into the discussion.
This is the fourth posting in a series I’m calling Twitter 101 for all those that say “I don’t get it?” If you want to see the full outline click on the Twitter 101 link.
In the second post I talked about Twitter being like Instant Messaging (IM) and text messaging (SMS) and that is the reason for the 140 character limit. Many people I speak with mock the 140 character limit as it was even parodied by Maureen Dowd in this much mocked Op-Ed in the NY Times. I actually think that the service would be slightly more useful if it was a 250 character limit but I do like the brevity imposed by a having a limit so I tolerate 140.
But the main point of this post is to point out to people who “don’t get” Twitter why the 140 character limit isn’t the problem they imagine it to be. The usual comment I hear is, “what can anybody usefully say in 140 characters.” The point that this comment is missing is that the most powerful use for Twitter is “link sharing.