Twitter turned eight years old last week. In real-world terms, the social media platform is still in grade school, but by the same token it’s the online equivalent of a long-running TV show that everybody happens to participate in. Initially dismissed by many (including myself) as a fad, come 2014 Twitter is unlikely to disappear anytime soon (the occasional ‘fail whale‘ indicating a site crash notwithstanding, Ellen DeGeneres’ Oscar selfie being a case in point).
To celebrate, Twitter rolled out a new feature: My First Tweet, which is exactly what it says on the tin. It quickly went viral, with many users in my personal timeline having the good sense to laugh at themselves upon being reminded of their first tries at disseminating their lives into 140 character chunks. One person whom I follow’s first tweet involved this sage observation: “[user] is having a nap.” (Which begs the question, how does one tweet while sleeping?)
In April, I will celebrate my fifth anniversary on Twitter. When I started using the service in early 2009, I found that coming to grips with Twitter had a steep learning curve. Precision in syntax was (and still is) the order of the day. It took two username changes and an effort to be transparent (read: accountable) in tweeting for me to finally feel that I had mastered Twitter. Conversely, though, you never stop learning, as there often new ways to get one’s point across within the character limit Twitter assigns (i.e. Instagram & Tumblr).
Using Twitter for business
However, Twitter isn’t all about selfies and what people had for lunch. In a business sense, it’s a great way to engage with potential customers, current clients, and those services we use on a daily basis here at Image Direct. For a multitude of users, social media is nowadays the first point of call for a customer service enquiry. Timeliness and helpfulness are what people expect when dealing with a service provider online (for example, an ISP such as iiNet). The inevitable PR faux pas that occur when promoting a brand via social media still happen, but again, this is where accountability becomes important. On Twitter, as with any other form of social media, responsibility is paramount.
Whether it’s participating in a hashtag, live-tweeting that movie you’re watching, or just making an incisive observation on the foibles of everyday life, it looks like Twitter’s here to stay. However business or personal your tweets are, though, tweet judiciously and responsibly; as it turns out, Twitter proves the rule – less is more.