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Should you be on Twitter?

by Heald

To tweet or not to tweet: that is the question. If you’d asked me a few weeks ago I would have answered a resounding “YES”! The Internet was alive with news of the Ashton Kutcher-vs-CNN “tweet war”. They were racing to see who would be the first to reach 1 million followers, and when Kutcher finally won he branded it a transforming moment in media, placing the control of content firmly in the hands of the consumer. He even brought the mighty Oprah to Twitter, and helped her send her first tweet on her top-ranked daytime show. The people running Twitter must have seen glittering dollar signs flashing in front of their eyes.

But the excitement has died down somewhat since then. As with so many social networking sites and applications (see Leonel’s article in this issue), no one has quite figured out how to make money from using Twitter. And it seems that many users have realized that Twitter offers just one more way to become overwhelmed with often useless information. I’ve now turned off most of my SMS Twitter alerts, and I’m “unfollowing” the Tweets of the major news outlets, whose content I can get elsewhere.

There are still many ways Twitter can be a useful tool, however. Many companies use it as a closed network tool for collaboration and time management (Cisco is one example). Others monitor it regularly for signs that their brands are being talked about, and how to gauge what the public is saying. Some, like Dell Computers, have begun using Twitter to offer immediate offers and promotions to their followers. They promote their Twitter feed through their e-newsletter.

So the jury is still out on whether Twitter is an innovative tool to improve marketing and management efficiency, or just another time-suck. At Quaxar, we’re still using Twitter to let you know about the cool products we find, the trends we’re watching, and the topics we think everyone should be talking about. Are you using Twitter? Have you sworn off it? Let us know what you think!