I had a comment posted to the blog a little while ago that I thought warranted a proper reply, rather than being buried as another comment. Mhairi Clarke contacted me to ask about my views and experiences using Twitter, the short message mini-blog system:
So are you still twittering? Do you find it useful? I’m a PR student almost at the end of a masters degree and I’m writing about PR and new media as part of my uni blog. From a social aspect I can see the benefits although it’s probably not something I’m going to do to be honest but in terms of receiving news and communicating with audiences it seems like a massive jump in the right direction?
Yes, I am still using Twitter, in fact I’m using it more often than ever before. At the time of writing, I’ve made 227 Twitter posts, and have 34 Twitter friends and 27 followers, all of whom are a mixture of friends, work contacts, industry peers and people stalking me (in a friendly way, rather than the Jack Nicholson’s character from the Shining approach). Also – I am pleased to say that Scoble is NOT one of my friends or followers.
As I use a device with a proper QWERTY keyboard (my Sidekick 2) rather than a phone, it is much easier and quicker for me to punch out a Twitter post than for people using a phone text message-style. It’s not cheap, as at the moment SMS posts to Twitter do not come out of my free texts allowance, but hoping that will change soon.
As for what Twitter brings to the table, you are right, it is a very effective news distribution and promotion mechanism, and I am looking at how we can use Twitter to point people towards interesting content online and offline. The BBC and most recently Al Jazeera have had great success using Twitter to promote and link to new news articles as they are posted to the web. For the user, this provides a cheap, near-real-time and multi-device way of being kept in touch with important and breaking news.
Socially, Twitter fulfils many of the functions of a blog, only in very small, bite size chunks. It is that limitation that makes it complementary to a blog, rather than a replacement. Twitter is for quick thoughts and outbursts. The blog is for longer (or slightly longer) more considered posts, and allows for more use of linking and graphics. The Twitter feed is a way for my friends and other people I know to keep up to date with where I am and what I am doing – and visa versa, to engage me and those who subscribe to my Twitter feed in conversation and debate, and Twitter can serve as a conversation starter and thought provoker.
You really should give it a go – Like a Sky+ box it’s as addictive as crack and can be very amusing.