In an earlier blog article, I wrote about Twitter. In it, I introduced what the online product is, how it can be used for personal and/or professional application, and some tips on how to use it optimally. That article can be found by clicking here. Also, I mentioned some areas that I wanted to look into. I’ve since researched Twitter, explored its usage through my own accounts, and more. Those areas that I have investigated are as follows:
- Monitor an organization’s happenings (Microsoft’s Windows 7 release in this case)
- Network through Twitter
- Explore the Twitter applications available
- Research developments within the Twitter organization and future implications on usage
I’ll start by reporting about my exploration of the wealth of information available on Twitter applications. What I primarily wanted to get out of searching for Twitter applications was easier desktop management of my messaging, known as “tweeting” in Twitter-speak. This is because I do not have Twitter installed on a phone and I have multiple accounts, which means I have to manually switch in and out of my accounts to get into them via my computer.
Of the desktop Twitter applications, TweetDeck is by far the best received by the general user community and website reviews for using Twitter. I’ve enjoyed using it and it really helps. It does this by allowing me to manage and be present (monitoring tweets, making my own tweets go out simultaneously via different accounts and tools, and filtering) in my different twittering/status updating avenues. For instance, I have my two accounts (professional and personal-friends-only) displayed side by side showing columns or tweets. Those columns can be custom searches, tweets from those that I’m following, direct messages, mentions of me and more. Additionally, TweetDeck allows me to pull in my Facebook status update feed, which is really helpful. Most of my daily happening updates go out to both my friend-twitter feed and Facebook feed. My professional feed goes out through my professional-twitter feed and to Facebook and/or my friend-twitter feed, if I desire. The most helpful site that I found for simply comparing desktop applications can be found here. For a second opinion and more information, try this site. To download and use the TweetDeck application, the site page, which includes a download link, can be found by going to the TweetDeck website.
Twitter has a number of applications that are available to it. Beyond account management and user interface applications, there are many applications that give additional information. This can be especially interesting if you are using Twitter for your business purposes. Some of the added benefits of these applications are scheduling your tweets for specific times, allowing others to tweet about your blog posts, setting up a tag cloud from tweets, getting trend information, and much more. I found a site that is the self proclaimed “ultimate” list of Twitter applications that includes about 20 different applications here. Another interesting find is a blog that is devoted to Twitter applications. To keep up with the blog go to this URL.
Twittering for job searching has definitely been helpful. I’ve found a number of professional people and organizations to follow. Some examples include my professors and their speaking engagement or research updates, Hay Group citing discounts for particular products, Microsoft stating some of its clean tech and environmentally friendly activity, my professional colleagues, company representatives from companies that I am interested in learning more about and job postings from recruiters. Searching on company names, professional learning interests, specific named individuals, and through social navigation have all been helpful for me as I expand what I follow on Twitter.
-Monitoring Organizational Happenings via Twitter-
Twitter has trends that can be searched on and pooled from anyone posting a tweet. The trends can be identified by their hash mark in the message. For instance, if there was a popular topic on Halloween that was a Twitter trend, it might be marked as #Halloween. A Twitter search could be done on “#Halloween” and a list of recent posts with #Halloween in them would display.
Monitoring the twitter trends is interesting too. I previously mentioned the Sidekick data loss problems that were happening, which I had seen by checking out the trend on T-Mobile. I later found out from a Microsoft Press Release that the Sidekick data can be restored, according to Microsoft. I also read about the number of Windows 7 media releases, parties, and business predictions. The Tweets were proclaiming high and wide, mainly from my more technically oriented friends and Tweeps (Twitter friends), about #win7. From what I could tell, the major points were Mac vs. PC types, trepidation about upgrading and the potential problems that may ensue, and Microsoft champions touting the wonders of the new operating system. This kind of conversation or tweeting is what I would expect from a successful product launch. On a side note, I did find and subsequently follow the sustainability Microsoft Twitter feed (Microsoft_Green), mentioned above, which updates on interesting points about what Microsoft has been doing in regards to its sustainability efforts.
-Recent Twitter Developments and Foreseen Implications-
Also, Twitter is now becoming a hotbed for future live monitoring and data analysis. I read in an Associated Press Article that both the Microsoft and Google companies are both diving into the streams of tweeting data. If done well, I can foresee these information sources enabling them to be both more reactive and proactive if they’re using pattern seeking, trending, smart heuristic based algorithms and long term analysis. Here are some of the business benefits that they can derive:
- Timely and holistic public relations updates and feedback
- Eager, free, and open feedback and input into products and services (think of the consumer research potential)
- Massive crowd-sourced data mining
This could be an amazing way of absorbing the tweet trend data. That is assuming the organizations find effective ways to engage and solicit the kind of responses they want. The manner in which the Twitter public is engaged would be crucial though. That is because opening up a dialogue to get public feedback informs the public at the same time. If the public finds the new information displeasing, it may make for bad press. So, it may be a double-edged sword if used in that manner. I could see that it would be great in more of an idea creation phase of products or services with significantly less risk of negative reactions. After all, being open, sharing, and engaging is well known to be favored.
All in all, I’ve really enjoyed the professional and social returns I have received from Twitter. It’s a good way of keeping in touch and to get the latest news, regardless of whether it is opinion or research based. Twitter is an interesting medium for updates and sharing. The simplicity of the product is grand and the enormity of data is staggering. I expect that I am not alone in being interested in what lies ahead for Twitter and all of its tweeps.
My earlier Twitter blog article: http://whittblog.wordpress.com/2009/10/13/twhitterpated/
The Twitter desktop application review: http://www.listio.com/reviews/2008/08/comparison-twitter-tools-and-applications/
Another Twitter application comparison: http://mashable.com/2009/06/27/twitter-desktop-apps/
The TweetDeck application page: http://www.tweetdeck.com/beta/
Ultimate list of Twitter applications: http://techie-buzz.com/twitter/ultimate-list-of-twitter-applications-and-websites.html
Twitter application blog: http://mytwitapps.com/
Microsoft can restore Sidekick data: http://www.microsoft.com/Presspass/press/2009/oct09/10-15sidekick.mspx
Microsoft and Google both have rights to Twitter feeds: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/10/21/ap/tech/main5407305.shtml