It’s easy to laugh at nonsense on Twitter, the microblogging rage. “My nose is leaking,”writes someone called Zapples, “so imma go to sleep now.…” But I’ve heard lots of similar drivel (and even produced some myself) on the phone—an important technology if there ever was one.
The key question today isn’t what’s dumb on Twitter, but instead how a service with bite-size messages topping out at 140 characters can be smart, useful, maybe even necessary. Here’s why I’m looking. In the last few months, the traffic on Twitter has exploded, growing far beyond its circles of bleeding-edge tech enthusiasts and hard-core social networkers.
Businesses such as H&R Block (HRB) and Zappos are now using Twitter to respond to customer queries. Market researchers look to it to scope out minute-by-minute trends. Media groups are focusing on Twitterers as first-to-the-scene reporters. (They were on top of the May 12 China earthquake within minutes.) Loads of new applications and services are growing around the Twitter platform, leading some to suggest that the microblogging service could become a powerhouse in social media.
Lots of information in here about Twitter. I’m not sure how effective it might be in a research organization but then it was hard to see 6 years ago how a wiki might be useful.
This is definitely something to keep an eye on. One of the interesting aspects is its almost instant access to experts. Think of it as just-in-time answers. Beth Kanter discussed an interesting experiment she performed.
She wondered if Twitter or Google was faster at retrieving facts. She wanted to know the atomic number for radium. She twittered the questions and as she turned to her keyboard to Google it, she got 5 responses from her twitter friends.
So Twitter can be used to get simple answers rapidly. However, as the comments displayed, not all questions are equal and many will not get an answer. I’m more curious about finding answers to more difficult questions.
One of the really nice qualities of a research library is that the librarians are very good at finding such answers. What if there was a Twitter group that was designed to help answers that were in immediately searchable on Google. Would that work better than trying to do it by yourself?
Have to think about it.