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How can I use Twitter for business?

by Tris Hussey on April 25th, 2007

Twitter is hot among us bloggerati, geekerati, digerati, etc.  All day long I get “tweets” (a message in Twitter) from my friends and other information sources (like CNN and the BBC).  Before I get into how you really can use Twitter in your business life, let me explain it (if you don’t know about it).

Twitter is a site/service where you send messages (max 140 characters).  The messages can be submitted via the web, SMS, IM, or some third-part clients.  They are received in the same way.  People add you as a “friend” or “follow” you and receive your tweets as you send them.  The 140 character limit is for SMS (which I wonder if will change if SMS isn’t being used often).

I signed up for Twitter when I joined PodTech.  Really didn’t use it much.  I wouldn’t remember to update it.  The real idea is to let your friends and colleagues know what you’re up to.  I didn’t have many (or any) people following me, so why update.

Then came SXSW.  Twitter exploded onto the scene.  It also imploded on itself, which almost killed it, IMHO.   During SXSW we really saw what Twitter can do.  There was breaking news from conference sessions.  Updates on blog posts.  People there could use Twitter to self-organize for dinner and parties.  Traffic to twitter must have just exploded.  So much so that for several days it was useless.

The blogosphere hasn’t been the same since.  I get updates from friend, breaking news on the blogosphere, posted breaking news on the blogosphere, and just commented on stuff.  Fine, but rather boring and banal isn’t it?

Yeah, a lot of it is, but that’s not the point, let’s look at the business application of it.  You can your co-workers can use it for travel updates, if you’re running late, if you have an urgent message, a piece of news.  Really anything that you might need to communicate.

Yeah, but I can call or e-mail or IM, can’t I?  Yes, but to how many people?  What if you’re on the road and can’t get online?  Because Twitter is a distributed communication system you can send a tweet from your cell phone via SMS and your followers get it (via the web, IM, or SMS as per their choice).

Now what if you want to use Twitter for fun too?  Won’t my business friends get sick of it?   Just have two accounts.  One that is strictly business, one for “fun”.  Me, I just have one and you can find me here.  I use it for a mix of fun, updates, and short messages to friends.

Give it a shot.  If you’re on the road a lot and need to keep several people updated, I think you’ll find it useful.

 See also Robin Good’s Twitter for Beginner’s Guide.

Eric Rice (aka spin) is lobbying for Twitter groupings … which would solve the business vs personal Twitter accounts.  Twitter competitor Jaiku, has them … but I only signed up for Jaiku to see it and I’ve never used it.

POSTED IN: Cool tools, Internet tips, Collaboration tools, Instant messaging

7 opinions for How can I use Twitter for business?

  • 901am » Can Twitter Make Money?
    Apr 26, 2020 at 12:30 pm

    […] (3) Biz. Twitter for business? Hmm, very interesting. This could work for employees to stay in touch. But then it’d be up against established players like Lotus Notes’ IM and others. Pimp Your Work offers some other ways to use Twitter for business. […]

  • Common Sense PR - Twitter Talk Continues - Exploring the Potential for Business
    Apr 27, 2020 at 5:08 am

    […] Tris Hussey starts to answer the question, How can I use Twitter for business? […]

  • Connie Reece
    Apr 27, 2020 at 8:00 pm

    Tris, I just added you as a friend on Twitter. I’ve blogged about it several times because I find it useful as well as fun.

  • Tris Hussey
    Apr 27, 2020 at 8:06 pm

    Hi Connie! I just saw that and reciprocated! I think Twitter has so much potential, the question is, who will take it to the next level?

  • Connie Reece
    Apr 28, 2020 at 2:24 pm

    Tris, here’s an example of an interesting use of Twitter. NBC Cameraman Jim Long (newmediajim) was in Blacksburg, VA covering the story of the mass murder at Va. Tech. He sent a tweet requesting information to help with a lead they were tracking down. I knew Kami Huyse (kamichat) would be a good resource, but she wasn’t a follower of Jim.

    I used Twitter direct messages to connect the two, and Jim got an NBC producer in touch with Kami. The lead didn’t pan out in this instance, but if it had, Twitter might have been responsible for breaking open an aspect of a huge news story.

  • Tris Hussey
    Apr 28, 2020 at 2:33 pm

    That’s a great example Connie. Yes, the breaking news, connect people needing information-those are some of the best uses right now.

  • TwitterMail is the piece to make Twitter work business
    Jun 29, 2020 at 2:36 pm

    […] and that’s when it hit me…TwitterMail might be the last piece of the puzzle to Twitter for Business.  I’ve talked a bit about this before and why is e-mail the last mile bit?  Because […]

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