Thursday, 26th March 2009
Tim Buckley Owen
Only time will tell whether the current intense interest in Twitter engenders a whole new ecostructure of nesting native species or merely a springtime migration of exotic visitors that flee when the days start to darken. For the moment, though, Twitter is enjoying an extraordinary vogue – over a thousand per cent growth over the past year according to market researcher Nielsen (http://digbig.com/4ymyn), an achievement also noted in the Twitter service launched earlier this month by the British Library’s Business & Intellectual Property Centre (http://twitter.com/BIPC).
Far from being simply a craze for college kids, Nielsen notes that the most enthusiastic twitterers are working adults, with the 35-49 year age group comprising almost 42% of the site’s audience. Now another researcher, Gartner, has identified four clear ways in which businesses struggling to get to grips with microblogging are putting Twitter to use (http://digbig.com/4ymyp).
In Direct applications a company will use Twitter as a marketing or public relations channel, while Indirect ones allow employees to use it to enhance their own reputations and, hopefully, the company's too. Internally applied, employees use Twitter to say what they’re working on and communicate ideas that occur to them – and finally Inbound Signalling enables companies to search or use the twhirl application for feedback on themselves and their products, or early warning of trouble to come.
Meanwhile the applications just keep flying in. StockTwits (http://www.stocktwits.com/) bills itself as ‘Bloomberg for the little guy and gal’, allowing users to see what their fellow small time investors are saying about their favoured stocks, and leading Outsell’s analyst Kate Worlock to compare it with Alacra’s new Street Pulse (see http://www.vivavip.com/go/e16374 for details), but where you listen to the buzz on the market floor instead of reading the papers.
As Kate points out (http://digbig.com/4ymym), neither StockTwits nor indeed Twitter itself have yet demonstrated any means of generating a revenue stream for their services. But unless and until the bubble bursts, new applications for Twitter are likely to come faster than information professionals can keep up with them.
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