Twitter: Not Just for Gaga Anymore

I didn’t understand Twitter at first. I felt the oft mentioned performance anxiety which boiled down to “how the hell am I going to post something interesting 5 times per day?” I still feel this way about all social media – a feeling well expressed in a tweet by Zynga CEO Mark Pinkus:

“does anyone else feel a new social pressure to have interesting lifebits to post? SORRY. i mostly just [expletive] work and i’m really boring!”

Despite this, I gave Twitter a chance, and was instantly hooked.  Once I started following people and organizations that interested me, I was able to consume media that I never would otherwise have seen. The combination of timely messages and a single clearinghouse for a wide variety of information was a revelation.

Naturally, this is old news. Twitter has been around for a few years now, is growing quickly, and is building a huge advertising business. Still, the average person is not on Twitter and remains slightly mistrustful of it. As I used the service more, I understood that Twitter is less about microblogging your life and more about fundamentally changing the way people communicate. For example,  combined with Linkedin, Twitter is changing the job market – not just in tech either. People are landing interviews without submitting resumes, and organizations as diverse as UPS and the Navy SEALs are using Twitter to recruit. 

According to the Venture Capitalist Mark Suster, Twitter is only just warming up. In a recent post, Mark writes that Twitter use is expanding in unexpected ways. For example, Twitter is already being used for “object communications” – that is, school is closed, the show is sold out, the bakery has fresh cookies, etc. Twitter’s timely nature makes it particularly useful in this regard. In addition, Suster believes that Twitter will come into its own as a predictive service – much like Google has done with Flutrends but on a broader scale. Police are already monitoring Twitter to predict potential riots, corporations are gauging customer satisfaction and doing customer service on Twitter, and movie studios are basing their marketing spend on initial Twitter reaction to new movies.

Powerful stuff, right? What’s more, the more “normal” people (i.e. not Gaga and Fred Wilson) who use Twitter, the more useful it will become! Those who may have been initially skeptical will see how well informed their peers are and begin creating accounts – after all, I would guess that it only takes one missed job opportunity for most people to realize that they need to keep up.

Bottom line, Twitter is here to stay, and may well become more important than Facebook, Apple, and Amazon because of its ability to connect diverse constituencies in such a timely and practical way.
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