Day 55: 3 things I learnt about Twitter after watching a Ted talk by one of its co-founders

Unless you have been living under a fairly large rock with no reception, you would have probably have heard of a little social media tool called Twitter. I have a confession to make – I was living under that rock. Oblivious and unaware. I had heard of Twitter, but I was baffled by it, so I ignored it. I didn’t understand the point of using 160 character to write status updates. It seemed pointless.

All that changed about two months ago when I was about to attend my first Problogger training event. In the lead up to the day everyone was exchanging Twitter handles on social media. I was not one of those people. In fact I didn’t open up my Twitter account until the day before the event and I am still getting my head around how it works. Evan Williams’s Ted talk has helped me get a broader picture of how Twitter works and has given me a broad overview of how I can use it as more of a marketing tool. Three topics he touched upon in particular really stood out for me.

1.Twitter adapted their platform to suit its users

Just as Greenpeace changed their approach to their marketing campaign in response to users wanting them to name their humpback whale mascot Mister Spalshy Pants, Twitter changed the way their platform worked in response to what people wanted. This seems to be the key ingredient in  having an engaged and happy brand-user relationship.

Twitter listened and responded when people started adding @ before there username. This was not an original feature of the Twitter platform, but so many users were communicating in this way that it ended up being built into the system.

2. Twitter is more than random status updates

Twitter is more than status updates about how great or average your day is going. What begun as status updates between family and friends has evolved into a platform that has morphed itself into many forms such as

Traditional personal status updates: Tweets between friends, family and the stranger you met on a bus.

Real-time coverage: For live events or unfolding emergencies, severe weather situations, traffic updates. These tweets come from both individuals witnessing the event and professional organisations such as Red Cross.

High-profiles: Tweets from celebrities, politicians and even the Queen. Bear in mind that high-profile celebrity tweets can sometimes be paid endorsements.

Fundraising: “It seems when you give people easier ways to share information, more good things happen” says Evan. This is where I like to believe the collective heart of Twitter lies. Promoting good causes and fund-raising campaigns happens on a daily basis by non-profits tweeting using the hashtags #fundraising #nameoftheirgoodcause

3.Twitter is no longer a standalone platform

Twitter can now become integrated in many different ways that goes way beyond status updates about your day. Did you know Twitter can be used to

Send a tweet from unborn babyEqually amazed and creeped out by this!
Tweet from your plant letting you know its thirsty: Not sure if I want all my followers to know that I am a bad plant-mummy.

So Twitter is no longer the scare confusing beast that it once was to me. I am still very uninitiated in it, but I am willing to keep at it for a few more months longer to see how it fits in with my business.

What has your experience with Twitter been? Are you an old-hand at it or a complete novice like me? Do you use Twitter in a unique way? Would love to get your take on it in the comments below.

Vanessa Rose