Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Doing Bird

The explosion of Twitter as a social network has been astonishing during 2009 as the micro-blogging mechanism has made the leap from the online niche to the mainstream. It would seem that Stephen Fry getting stuck in a lift was the best thing that could ever happen to newest Silicon Valley start-up in Feb 2009.

So how are businesses engaging in this new tool? O2 UK picked up on some tweets from celebrity Phillip Schofield who was having some problems with his iPhone. Using Twitter, O2 were able to guide Mr. Schofield through the necessary steps in order to resolve his problem. This looked great for O2. The problem was that all these conversations took place in the public domain so all of Schofield's followers, that were O2 customers quickly got in touch to find out about new tariffs, handsets and whether there was a new iPhone arriving in the Spring. The Official O2 Twitter account had essentially become an interface for customers to speak to the brand. As a result, the poor fellow that manages the O2 Twitter account, quickly found that his remit expanded to cover PR, Customer Service, retention and acquisition and O2 had to rapidly rethink how they used Twitter.

Other businesses have encountered problems with how they embrace Twitter as well. Mars offered Twitter users the chance to have their tweets featured on the Skittles home page if they mentioned the word skittles within their tweet. Cue the British public using the depths of the English language in order to crowbar as many profanities as possible onto home page of the brands home page.

Recently, Twitter was even instrumental in the end an a-list celebrity relationship as poor John Mayer's excuse that he was too busy with work to reply to
girlfriend Jenifer Aniston's text messages, were exposed as he was found to have updated his twitter profile numerous times during the same period.

So there you have it, a new craze is out there. Twitter is the tool of 2009 and organisations that feel they should be harnessing the power of social media as part of their online marketing strategy are swarming to it trying to do something, anything to prove they are web 2.0 savvy. It will be exciting to see what brands
will do next. One thing is for sure, there will be more disasters than there will successes before the tool and users find the optimum position for both to benefit.

and if you're reading this Jen, I'd give up twitter for you.

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