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Twitter, time waster or value adder

A presentation I gave at the Online Information exhibition, Olympia, 3 December 2009. I outlined why people think Twitter is a 'time waster' and followed up with five reasons why it isn't. Short explanatory blog post at

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Twitter, time waster or value adder

  1. “Do we really need to know that you just put your pants on, just brushed your teeth, just ordered a hamburger, just finished dinner, just walked out of the bathroom.” (A Twitter detractor on USA Today) Twitter - Time waster or Dirk Singer (twitter @dirkthecow) value adder?
  2. Social media specialist (not really an expert) at Cow Digital...and Twitter is a good place to make me seem About me smarter than I really am!
  3. “Twitter and Second Life were hailed as the next big thing - until someone pointed out they weren’t actually big” (Greg Verdino) The case against Remember this place?
  4. Second Life and Twitter Second Life Twitter 1 - No one will shut up about it 1 - No one will shut up about it 2 - Perception that it’s for 2 - Perception that it’s for people people with too much time on with too much time on their hands their hands 3 - A lot of hype but the numbers 3 - A lot of hype but the don’t stack up numbers don’t stack up 4 - No media back lash yet, but signs 4 - Media back-lash against it it could happen 5- Very quickly vanished from 5- Due to vanish from the public public eye, became a minority eye, to become a minority or or hobbyist pursuit hobbyist pursuit?
  5. “I know we think we’re normal people, but we’re not” (Greg Verdino) What did you have for lunch today?
  6. “Twittering stems from a lack of identity. It’s a constant update of who you are, what you are, where you are. Nobody would Twitter if they had a strong sense of identity.... “...I would guess that the typical profile of a ‘follower’ is someone who is young and who feels marginalised, empty and pointless. They don’t have an inner life.” Oliver James In the words of an eminent psychologist
  7. Is this what ‘experts’ talk about online?
  8. Does anyone actually use it? • In October, traffic to the Twitter site dropped by between 2% (Compete) and 28% (Nielsen) • Twitter’s active - core - user base is actually very small. Sysomos found that 5% of ‘power users’ account for 75% of tweets. That would mean that Twitter has 275k really active users (out of 5.5 million registrations) - less than the circulation of most national newspapers • Twitter’s rate of churn is very high - up to 60% according to Nielsen. Just like Second Life, most people register but don’t participate
  9. 1 - The numbers are in many ways irrelevant. It has an influence out of proportion to its numbers So what is Twitter good for? Five things
  10. Who are Twitter ‘power users’? • The common words in biogs according to Sysomos: • Web designer, internet marketing, business marketing, graphic designer, video games, software developer...people who know how to make things happen online • Also bloggers and journalists - both are more likely to be active on Twitter. Sky now has its own Twitter correspondent • The common misconception - Twitter is often a bridge to other media. Conversations start there, move elsewhere
  11. 2 - Twitter shapes news events in real time
  12. The four hour news cycle on Twitter • Thursday afternoon - blogger Jonathan MacDonald spots an LU staff member called Ian abusing an elderly passenger • Goes home and posts it on his blog • Friday morning it hits Twitter • Friday afternoon makes the front page of the Evening Standard • How many customer facing organisations would even know this happened to them?
  13. 3 - Twitter builds relationships • It doesn’t wreck real world relationships, it strengthens existing ones and builds new ones • It’s a myth that we talk exclusively to strangers online - a US University study found that in virtual worlds, people 10km from each other were 5x more likely to be connected than ones 100km from each other • A look through Twitter lists will show that often they are grouped by industry and region
  14. 20% of tweets are about brands (Penn The 2nd most popular State) word on Twitter is “I” 4 - People like sharing their experiences of brands and companies online...maybe even yours
  15. “Over the course of my unemployment, my Twitter account grew from roughly 2000 followers to 5000 and it was undoubtedly these impressive numbers and a demonstrated knowledge of the power of social media that played a role in my hiring and differentiated me from others with similar skills.” “It took being unemployed to really understand how Twitter could be used to foster community and relationships…for me, Twitter will always be both a guardian angel and one kick-ass job placement board.” Journalist and blogger Mark Luckie who used Twitter after being made redundant 5 - Twitter can help you personally
  16. At the very minimum - monitor! Even if you use free tools - a column on Tweetdeck / Seesimic and At the very minimum - register! Claiming an ID back takes time So what can you / your organisation do to get the most out of Twitter?
  17. Use Twitter lists Use it to give to build and your company a monitor human face / professional personality contacts What can you / your organisation do to get the most out of Twitter?
  18. Thank you for your time! Any questions?, Twitter @dirkthecow
  19. Creative commons credits (flickr) Grahambones Rafeejewell moe_s TenSafeFrogs L.Marie decjr dulhunk Sankarshan David Fraitz MangakaMaiden Metro Centric