Friday, May 15, 2009

Twitter: White Angel or Dark Knight?






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Shivam Kataria, IIM Shillong

Twitter, the word has the potential of becoming the next buzz word in the business arena and is influencing the way information flows through internet. For the introduction it is sufficient to say that Twitter is a “micro blog” where users can tell the world what you are doing in a maximum of 140 characters. The biggest potential of Twitter is in connecting people and getting them on the same platform. Every user has the same 140 characters, unlike blog or social networking sites, to express the idea. Twitter has so far made possible what the Instant Messenger (IM) or blogs could not achieve; a sense of flexibility and privacy among the users.

From the business perspective, twitter has a great potential for brand building. By acting as a media to reach public faster, it acts as an instrument for exchange of information and ideas. Many companies like BBC, Apple, and CNBC etc are moving on twitter to connect better with their customers and understand their needs. Barack Obama used twitter effectively to connect with the voters. A latest update about his presidential candidate could easily be found on twitter much before it made it to conventional print/television media or even blogs.

Marketers use twitter to market and promote their product to the wider base of aware customers. It is also a tool for viral marketing and ensuring transparency between a company and its customers. The key to successful marketing here is to strike a conversation with the potential customers and make them aware of the companies offering. So basically whether you are looking for brand building, generating money, sales promotional announcement, updates from any field of knowledge or feedback from the customers, twitter can make it simpler and faster for you.

Counterview

Sunil Rathode , IIM Shillong

Twitter, a free social networking and micro-blogging service, has grown rapidly among internet users. Although in March 2009, a Nielsen.com blog ranked Twitter as the fastest-growing site in the Member Communities category, but there are bad apples in every bunch. Twitter is no exception. As we know that Twitter is a public communication medium; everything said is permanently etched in Twitter's digital fabric. While Twitter can be effective as a marketing tool, if you are not careful, it can become a viral tool for negative publicity. Anything typed in Twitter is 'ON THE RECORD’.
Twitter is a micro-blogging service means everyone starts spending too much time in exploring and twitting. Then slowly become addicted to twitter and not focusing on what needed to be done. Now twitter has started consuming our life this way.
Even the worst thing is ‘brand-jacked’ with several fake twitter accounts; someone can shadow every tweet by using our avatar and twisting the words with malicious intent. Then we start realizing that this was some creeps attempting to rile us.
If we look at the broad picture of Twitter as a social networking, it is also helping in shrinking ‘Human moments’ due to this virtual world. Now we are spending more time on virtual networking rather than real social networking. Twitter friendships are just as limited as acquaintances you meet at a cocktail party. There are millions of followers on Twitter, addicted to follow anyone. On the very next day we will forget about previous day’s twitting.
So ultimately it is sheer wastage of time, nothing as productive which we can utilize. If you're not already on Twitter, it might be wise to reserve your time for productive use.

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