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'Is Twitter "Twuly" twaddle'?


By Anne-Marie Watson

Published June 30, 2009



Oprah Winfreyís doing it, Ashton Kutcherís been doing it for some time, and even more amazing, hundreds of people are watching them!

No, Iím not talking about revealing paparazzi photos on the internet - Iím talking about Twitter Ė the new techno rage thatís sweeping the western world and elsewhere. Twitter is a micro-messaging tool, which became a global phenomenon in 2008 and is owned by the same company that started blogging.


Even in the former Soviet Union, it is a force to be reckoned with, where in Moldova earlier this year; it was given credit for having the power to stop the sitting communist government from steamrolling over electoral discontent about the election results. Twitter was used here by a small group of dissatisfied, young people to gather a large crowd within a matter of hours for a protest rally outside the parliament.


Last month, Indiaís election results became the No.1 Twitter topic as thousands of Indians showed how they are truly tech savvy by watching and joining in as the election results unfolded.

While the hip talk is currently about Twitter, not that long ago it was about Barack Obamaís Blackberry, and how tech power helped him win the Presidential elections late last year.

Today itís Twitter. Yesterday it was Facebook. The day before it was Appleís Smartphone, and Youtube. Before that it was texting and Google. The list goes on and on.

It seems in the last few years, there has just been one technology phenomenon after the other. Each announced in the press in a frenzy of media coverage and each absorbed into our lives like a sponge. Whenever you look back, it seems hard to remember a time when we didnít have this or that.

Unless youíve been living in a cave for the last ten years, you would know that technology is not only driving change in our lives, it is becoming the dominant theme for many of us.

In Australia, we are one of the fastest technology adopting countries in the world. We have one of the highest rates of internet penetration (usage within a population), mobile phone ownership and we love information! Now we are also falling in love apparently with Twitter. Our love for technology isnít going to simmer out soon, so it seems.

In fact media consumption data from Nielsen shows that we spend more time looking at the internet than we do looking at TV- a new record breaking phenomenon in the last two years.

Worldwide, the same trends are occurring, with Facebook usage now passing the 200 million mark. To put that into context, if Facebook was a country it would be the fifth largest country in the world.

Will it ever end? In short, the answer is no.

Technology, and the relentless pace of change that goes with it, is here to stay. You can try and ignore it which many people do or you can embrace it and try to use it for your own benefit.

So what does it all mean for small businesses?

What it means is that technology is increasingly going to provide the means for communicating to customers now and in the future. Websites are no longer an optional promotional idea; they are one of the core tools that small businesses should be embracing.

It doesnít just stop at websites and internet advertising though. You need to consider each new technology and see if it can be harnessed to reach your target audience.

Social media, the umbrella term for programs like Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Diggit, Flickr and others, is now a growing phenomenon. These offer a treasury of new ways to interact with customers.

There are effective ways to utilise Facebook, and other new programs to create brand awareness, get consumer involvement, gain word-of-mouth endorsement and gather new leads.

All these new options may seem overwhelming but the best way to understand them is to try them out. This way you can work out what suits your business. While almost without exception, these are free to join, it will take time for you to set up an account, update it regularly; explore what others do with their sites and to check periodically on what interactions are happening.

One tip is to start off by using just one social media site. Understand how it works and take time to understand what all the possible applications are. Once you have this down pat, then take your time to look at other possibilities. The main thing is to try it and see if any other colleagues or friends use it too, as they can provide some useful tips.

In future articles we will be providing tips for using some of the more common sites around.

Until then, Happy Tweeting!



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