If memory serves, it was almost exactly a year ago when I had two colleagues — both senior marketing executives — come to me with very similar questions: “Hey Chris, do you know what this twitter thing is all about? I mean, why would I ever use it?” At the time, my answer to them was basically some disparaging muttering. If you’ve had similar thoughts, but everyone keeps pestering you about using Twitter in your marketing campaign, then hopefully this post will be of some use to you.

What Is Twitter?

For those of you unfamiliar with it, Twitter describes itself as “a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?” It’s a social network, like LinkedIn or Facebook, but with only one feature: the ability to “tweet”; to enter a 140 characters which will be shared with everyone who is “following you” (twitter speak for “in your network”). Now, there are quite a few 140-character things that a junior-high school student might want to broadcast to their entire social network; for example, “Yo dudes! I straight ollied a ten stair without breaking my legs! Meet me in the park in thirty minutes and we’ll roll from there. Tweet!!” (OK, that’s only 138 characters, but you get the idea). I can even imagine wanting to get an update like that — maybe even as late as college — but now, as an adult, the prospect of getting dozens of text messages a day sent to my cell phone from each of the people in my social network, with 140 character updates on their status sounds, frankly, horrible.

Another, slightly less horrifying use of twitter is to stalk your favorite stars from a distance. I mean, it might be exciting to follow the tweets of David Lynch (@David_Lynch) or Snoop Dog (@snoopdog). They might say something that I’d want to receive as a text on my cell phone.

Then again, maybe not.

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