Home  › Marketing › Strategies

Can You Really Take Something Called Twitter Seriously?

  |  January 15, 2010   |  Comments

A Twitter skeptic changes his stripes. But don't thank Ashton Kutcher.

In my not-so-distant Twitter-skeptic past, I used to fairly frequently ask the question: "Can you take something called Twitter seriously?" Why in the name of (add name of preferred religious figure here) would anyone care if Ashton Kutcher had just changed his underpants?

Google was pretty stupid as a name, I thought, too. But it was so much easier to handle that because I could see the immediate benefits. Google was taking the world's information and making it easily accessible in 10 smart, blue, and usually relevant links. And for the most it was Ashton Kutcher free and Kim Kardashian was at least a million dance steps away.

It wasn't until a totally trivial incident occurred that I actually started using my Twitter account. Of course I'd signed up for an account and then made a point of forgetting about it. Then one day I replied to an e-mail from my friend and fellow ClickZ writer Jim Sterne. I hadn't seen him for some time and asked when he'd next be in London. Turns out he was in London two nights before. In the restaurant right next door to the one I was in!

"Looks like you've eventually found a use for Twitter," he was happy to reply. And on that basic "don't miss your buddies when they're right next door" premise, I downloaded the Twitter app. But I still couldn't really take it seriously.

During this past week, like most, I've been surrounded by the news of the horrific earthquake that has caused so much damage and human misery in Haiti. And it's incredible the coverage and praise that social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook are getting in mainstream news reports.

Hard-line news reporters are saying the word Twitter directly to camera amid the chaos and devastation and there's a not a snigger in sight. Time was, not so long ago, that serious journalists took my previous, glib, Ashton Kutcher view of Twitter and referred to it as though referring to a child's toy.

Praise is being heaped on Facebook, which managed to attract more than 100,000 fans in the space of a day. The amount of information relating to the disaster flows freely and is supplied directly by those who have access in Haiti and those connected to people in Haiti.

And Twitter is connecting people from the rubble of the earthquake to their friends and family around the world. Discovering that someone you know is alive and well amongst the chaos via a social networking medium probably seems to be a modern miracle to the average person.

And as I write this column I just checked the American Red Cross on Twitter and it has just announced that it has pledged $10 million in aid to Haiti relief and $3 million has been pledged via social networking sites.

With the phone lines down and the usual mass communications channels in a mess, it's fascinating to see how people are coming together and sharing in a way they could never have done before during a crisis. And just as fascinating is seeing mainstream news coverage of what's happening as supplied by the community itself.

I'll just quickly expose another skeptic element. I used to think of YouTube as being nothing other than a place where you could view furry creatures falling into toilets or wearing children's clothes. Yet coverage of the Haiti disaster there and places like CNN's iReport suddenly seem to be getting featured in the lead news reports, completely flipping around the way things used to be.

We as marketers contemplate these questions: How will Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites make money? And how will we as marketers ride the back of that and earn money for our clients?

But strangely enough, this week my marketing head has given way to just how seriously we need to take something called Twitter as a fabulous communications medium and not simply another way to make marketing dollars.

Meet Mike at SES London, Feb. 16-19, 2010.

ClickZ Live Toronto Twitter Canada MD Kirstine Stewart to Keynote Toronto
ClickZ Live Toronto (May 14-16) is a new event addressing the rapidly changing landscape that digital marketers face. The agenda focuses on customer engagement and attaining maximum ROI through online marketing efforts across paid, owned & earned media. Register now and save!*
*Early Bird Rates expire April 17.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mike Grehan

Mike Grehan is Publisher of Search Engine Watch and ClickZ and Producer of the SES international conference series. He is the current president of global trade association SEMPO, having been elected to the board of directors in 2010.

Formerly, Mike worked as a search marketing consultant with a number of international agencies, handling such global clients as SAP and Motorola. Recognized as a leading search marketing expert, Mike came online in 1995 and is author of numerous books and white papers on the subject. He is currently in the process of writing his new book "From Search To Social: Marketing To The Connected Consumer" to be published by Wiley in 2013.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get the ClickZ Marketing newsletter delivered to you. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

ion Interactive Marketing Apps for Landing Pages White Paper

Marketing Apps for Landing Pages White Paper
Marketing apps can elevate a formulaic landing page into a highly interactive user experience. Learn how to turn your static content into exciting marketing apps.

eMarketer: Redefining Mobile-Only Users: Millions Selectively Avoid the Desktop

Redefining 'Mobile-Only' Users: Millions Selectively Avoid the Desktop
A new breed of selective mobile-only consumers has emerged. What are the demos of these users and how and where can marketers reach them?

Jobs

    • Contact Center Professional
      Contact Center Professional (TCC: The Contact Center) - Hunt ValleyLooking to join a workforce that prides themselves on being routine and keeping...
    • Recruitment and Team Building Ambassador
      Recruitment and Team Building Ambassador (Agora Inc.) - BaltimoreAgora, www.agora-inc.com, continues to expand! In order to meet the needs of our...
    • Design and Publishing Specialist
      Design and Publishing Specialist (Bonner and Partners) - BaltimoreIf you’re a hungry self-starter, creative, organized and have an extreme...