A Twittery Update

I’ve been getting a lot of responses from people about my previous posts on the topic of Twitter. Just wanted to post a quick update regarding the rumour that Google is considering buying Twitter – apparently the price discussed was in the ballpark area of $3 billion.

There’s a number of interesting synergies that come to mind (I’m not saying that a merger would or wouldn’t work – honestly, who can tell) and they’re not necessarily AdWords related.

The whole point of Twitter is that it reflects, in many ways, the zeitgeist. I’ve seen breaking news reported on the site more than an hour before it hit the big news sites like CNN. A company like Google could get all kinds of useful information out of scanning keywords on Twitter and cross-referencing them. They could then feed that information into their news site, or even into search listings, in order to make them reflect what is going on in the world. It would probably be hard to prevent that from being “game-able”, but it might be interesting…

9 responses on “A Twittery Update

  1. Elie

    If Google does buy Twitter and turn it into a news feed, I may reconsider my deliberate avoidance of joining Twitter.

  2. sol

    I give it (and I don’t even know what “it” is yet) two weeks before it’s theoretically gameable, 1.5 months before it’s proven, 6 months before it’s so bad as to degrade the base serivce and turn most intelligent people away. I think I’m being generous.
    If you want more details on how, contact me. I have a couple thoughts already… 😉

    …and celebrity relationship “news” don’t count as breaking news. Well, except to 14 year old girls… I guess there’s SOME market here.

    But still… Twitter is a scourge! IT MUST DIE!

    1. admin Post author

      Don’t you think “twitter must die” is a bit extreme?

      Its a tool. It requires a bit of fore-thought regarding how you use it, and possibly it has a learning curve for new users. Never-the-less, it’s one tool from a pallet of social media and marketing options.

  3. Elie

    I’ve seen some interesting uses of Twitter by businesses as a social media tool (e.g. once a day update on the deal of the day). There are positive aspects. But finding those good posts among the millions of useless posts (walked the dog, hate my shampoo, etc) is a pain, and personally, I don’t think it’s worth the effort.

    1. admin Post author

      Here’s another use: customer service department.

      Many websites have “live chat” functionality. I’ve installed HCL on a few sites for that purpose. The problem is that they’re high overhead, and just generally a pain to use.

      If a company was willing to have somebody logged into Twitter, it would be an easy channel for addressing simple issues. Plus it would give the customer the feeling that they’re actually talking to somebody. I think it would take some thought to do this correctly, but there might be some payoff.

    1. admin Post author

      That’s a good point. From my experience, a “conversation” on Twitter is similar to conversing via SMS or even IRC Chat. i.e. it consists of a series of small sentence fragments, bounced back and forth. I don’t think this is something people will use for complicated issues. It might be good for simple stuff like “does your product contain ingredient ‘n’?”.

  4. Elie

    I’ve gone to the dark side… and joined twitter (username ekochman). For now, I won’t be using it much, but I’ll see how it goes.