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The Twuth About Twitter - in plain language

21 July 2009  |  2767 views  |  0

There are some misconceptions going around about social networking such as twitter. The recent report which does not rate a link suggesting that teenagers don't use twitter, for instance is mistaken.

If you want some idea of the potential of twitter and text based messaging - yes - they are one and the same...

Get it?

Anyone out there with kids who aren't using text? If they can (afford it)?

SMS is the most popular messaging system in use and has already exceeded the total number of old fashioned mail letters sent in all of history.

SMS (short message service) = TXT(Text messaging) = Twitter = IM = Chat

While some of your children may not do SMS, generally only those who can't don't.

Even most of the ones who can afford to talk to their friends any time they like.

Twitter doesn't care if you can or can't. You can twitter back and forth on your phone using SMS, or web, or an app.

If you are out of SMS's you can still send text messages to your friends mobiles using twitter - if they have the ability to receive SMS's under their mobile plan (and be paying for them - either SMS's or data).

Put yourself back to the time when you were young. I bet you didn't manage your budget too well? Imagine trying to keep track of your phone plan and stay connected for the whole month, through raging romances, hormonal swings, growth spurts and all the rest.

As of June 31% of twitter users were aged 15-19yrs.

No-one can afford to ignore the fastest growing communications mediums on the planet.

No business can afford not to utilise every communication channel open to their customers. Especially banks. No-one opens their other communications and even their snail mail is doomed.

Exactly how you use it is up to you.

Of course I have my own ideas which are probably very different to yours, but it doesn't need debate about as to whether you do it, only perhaps how you use it.

And yes it is a hot favourite with would be citizen journalists, writers, and of course marketers but they are the first to grasp it's usefulness. There are a lot more uses and users to come. Prey tell me why it won't be ubiquitous - not necessarily twitter, but short messaging in all it's forms being adopted by everyone in some form?

I've a feeling you'll be wanting to know which 'channel' your customers are listening to.

Plain language is a great way to communicate.



I chose this Sysomos.com study which was limited to users who disclose their age. I probably lied about mine (sorry - for security), as I do on every social networking site, but young people are more likely to disclose their rough age.(I'm sure there is an algorithm to describe it like: boys 15-19 add 2, girls 14-16 add 2, girls 16-19 add 3, all boys over 18 in the US claim they are 21, etc.) They have some more twitter stuff here.

If you have no idea of Twitter here is a great explanation of how to use it from Emily Carpenter on youtube.

Sysomos Twitter Pie

Comments: (4)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 22 July, 2009, 10:01

Sorry, Dean, but I think that to say "Twitter = SMS" is complete nonsense.

Yes, they are both instant messaging media. That's where the similarity ends. It's like saying skateboards and SUVs are "the same" because they are both forms of personal transport.

SMS is a bilateral messaging standard with no frills, that allows two people to have a conversation in the absence of audio. Very effective and very popular for simple bilateral conversations between two people who already know each other.

Twitter is a completely different approach. It is a one-to-very-many model, with key innonvations like @ and # which cleverly encourage massive networking and discoverability. It is not a conversational medium but a publishing medium, and as such has more in common with blogs than it does with SMS.

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 22 July, 2009, 13:36

Hi George,

Never had an SMS advert? One to many? Publishing medium? (Sounds like your description of twitter)

.. and you can just as easily do it (twitter) wholly completely using only SMS!

Granted it can be a lot of things but I don't see it as being that dissimilar to SMS, except you don't have to put all your friends numbers in every time you send the group a message (via twitter via SMS).

As for conversations. I have some very interesting and private ones on twitter, both as me and as my alias, the substance of which are not automatically provided to everyone.

I also use twitter to have 'simple bilateral conversations between two people who already know each other'. (during which we sometimes switches transparently to SMS and back to twitter)

I can send web links in SMS's...

We share different ideas of the definition of similar. No problem, it was meant to make it simple to understand and perhaps you took me  literally mathematically.

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 30 July, 2009, 14:26

Who's George?

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 03 August, 2009, 11:07

Anyway, in reasponse to your response -- don't want to drag this out, but: yes, you can indeed use your skateboard to transport large objects if you try hard enough, and yes, your can whizz about in your SUV for fun on occasion. Skateboard=SUV is still nonsense. The reason for the success of twitter is precisely because it has invented a new form of communication in between blogging and IM that turns out to offer major opportunities not offered by either of them. What's important is the difference, not the similiarity, in order to understand why twitter is successful and revolutionary in a way that another "me too" IM site wouldn't be.

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