What is Twitter? Twitter is part micro-blog, part instant messenger and part social network.
Class of tool: Micro-blog
What makes it different? It's the biggest and most used micro-blog in the world.
Popularity: Alexa site ranking: 11 (worldwide traffic rank) with 681,415 sites linking in.
Who is using? Currently has more than 100 million users. In just the first quarter of 2010, more than 4 billion tweets were posted.
Ease of use: If you can send a text message, then you can certainly post a "tweet".
Time to setup: 2 minutes
Time to maintain: The account itself requires no maintenance. To send tweets, it could take from a few minutes a week to hours a day, depending on the amount of tweets you send. Using Twitter add-ons and programs can save significant amounts of time, and increase your effectiveness.
While it adds a few more minutes to setup, its worth listing your new Twitter account with Technorati (blog search engine) and Klout (Twitter ranking tool). Both will help drive traffic to your account.
What you need to know: Twitter has firm rules preventing "spamming" which include:
- Following Thresholds: Users are prevented from following (either manually, or automatically with software) thousands of authors, without having a significant number of their own followers. Currently, the first threshold is 2000. Users are prevented from following more than 2000 people, if their own follower list is less than 2000.
- Direct Message Constraints: Users are prevented from spamming direct messages to their followers. Direct messages are still 140 characters, but are private, between Twitter users.
Bottom line: Twitter has the power to reach thousands, even hundreds of thousands of people with your message. While setup time is quick, it does take regular ongoing time to make it worthwhile. There is a consensus among many, that Twitter is becoming a news feed, which isn't necessarily negative, if you're making the news. Because of the volume of posts, it can be a challenge to be noticed.
Twitter has become the standard for both business and personal communication, and should be considered for your marketing strategy.