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A quick introduction to Twitter

On Twitter, things can be fast and unpredictable. Like yesterday. I was having an interesting discussion with @jason_pontin about the changing role of quoting sourses in Old vs. New journalism, when he suddenly said he had to go and then asked me if I would be interested in joining him. He was going to talk to a group of business-folks at the MIT Enterprise Forum about Web 2.0 and asked me to come in for a few minutes and explain, on Twitter, what Twitter is about. An hour later, it happened. Here is the stream (you can find it yourself by searching Twitter for #MITEO):

@jason_pontin Follow @BoraZ and me with the hashtag #MITEO in a discussion about Twitter and business with the MIT Entrepreneur’s Forum at 4.40 PM EST.

@jason_pontin @BoraZ #miteo Hi, we’re here at the MIT/EO Entrepreneurial Class. What is twitter for?

@BoraZ #MITEO First, thanks to @jason_pontin for inviting me here. It was short notice, but I hope we can answer some of your questions.

@BoraZ #MITEO First, let’s get some of the oft-heard myths about Twitter out of the way, so we can focus on the positives and good uses.

@BoraZ #MITEO Twitter Myth #1 “Twitter is bad because the word ‘Twitter’ is funny”. Just like the word “blog” 5 years ago.

@BoraZ #MITEO This is an unprofessional way to laugh at Twitter without using, studying and understanding it.

@BoraZ #MITEO Twitter Myth #2 “I don’t care what you had for lunch” This is called Lifecasting.

@BoraZ #MITEO A little bit of this is useful – makes human connection. If that’s all you see, you follow wrong people.

@BoraZ #MITEO Twitter Myth #3 “140 characters is not enough” You can write a novel using many, many tweets.

@BoraZ #MITEO It’s a flow, not disjointed individual short messages.

@BoraZ #MITEO Those myths out of the way, let’s focus now on good uses of Twitter.

@jason_pontin: @BoraZ #miteo any more myths to get off your chest?

@jason_pontin @BoraZ #miteo is twitter good for things other than marketing?

@BoraZ Yes, @jason_pontin, Twitter is good for many things besides marketing #MITEO

@BoraZ #MITEO Ways to use Twitter: #1 eavesdropping: follow informative people, get information, learn, use elsewhere, relay to people off-Twitter

@BoraZ #MITEO Ways to use Twitter: #2: dialogue: exhange information with friends, discuss, debate.

@BoraZ #MITEO Like @Jason_Pontin and I are known to do often. Both the participants and onlookers learn.

@BoraZ #MITEO Ways to use Twitter: #3: broadcast: used by news organizations, businesses to inform audience about news or products/services.

@BoraZ #MITEO Ways to use Twitter: #3a: Careful with broadcasting – many are blocked as they look like spam!

@BoraZ #MITEO Ways to use Twitter: #4: data collection: for example http://tinyurl.com/dfqwwg using Tweeting fishermen to monitor fish populations.

@BoraZ #MITEO Ways to use Twitter: #5: accidental journalism: examples: landing on Hudson river, Mumbai attacks, Iran post-election protests

@BoraZ #MITEO Ways to use Twitter: #6: Mindcasting (like @jayrosen_nyu) following a story, with links, for a period of time

@BoraZ #MITEO cont’d. – collect and refine on FriendFeed and blog: http://tinyurl.com/d8bcpg

@BoraZ #MITEO The best thing is to mix a little bit of everything: http://tinyurl.com/cnbs7d

@BoraZ #MITEO One-to-many broadcasting alone is bad for business. Making one-to-one connections with customers is the key.

@BoraZ #MITEO Listening, responding fast, showing humanity – essential.

@BoraZ #MITEO People today want to deal with a real person, not a faceless organization. And they expect to talk back and get responses. Fast.

@jason_pontin @BoraZ #miteo what is the best business aspect for using twitter for heads of companies?

@BoraZ #MITEO @jason_pontin surprisingly, it is listening. I spend more time observing what Twitter says about us, then telling about us.

@BoraZ #MITEO this allows for really speedy response, which customers appreciate. Also personal response.

@BoraZ #MITEO the reaction time for businesses is much shorter. Waiting 3 days of committee meetings is not enough for customers today.

@BoraZ @jason_pontin I just think that not watching Twitter is a risk for being blindsided by what people say about your biz #MITEO

@jason_pontin: @BoraZ Thanks for all your help!

@BoraZ: @jason_pontin Thank you. I am glad I had an hour to prepare. Some tweets take a lot of time to craft!

@sachinduggal @BoraZ #MITEO thank you!

@jason_pontin: @BoraZ We just finished! You were so good. Genuinely useful – and interesting and quite funny, too. The MIT Enterprise Forum thanks you.

@jason_pontin It was hard for us to respond #MITEO to @BoraZ on TweetDeck, but his comments were right on.

@jason_pontin: @Boraz I think there was some continuing confusion about the utility of this thing for biz

@BoraZ: @jason_pontin We can try to cont’ the convo, or include some business-twitterers.

@jason_pontin: Again, a *huge* shoutout to @BoraZ for educating the MIT Enterprise Forum today about Twitter.

@BoraZ: #MITEO @jason_pontin Thank you for inviting me. I hope I was useful ;-)

@BoraZ Thanks @OldCola for putting the entire #MITEO stream on his blog: http://tinyurl.com/nq7uhj


  1. #1 Catharine
    June 20, 2009

    Oy, vey.

  2. #2 Cuttlefish
    June 20, 2009

    Too short for sonnets/ Too short, too, for limericks/ And I hate haiku.

  3. #3 Fischer
    June 20, 2009

    Didn’t it occur to you that your followers might feel somewhat spammed by this?

  4. #4 Coturnix
    June 20, 2009

    Yes. I tweeted a warning about an hour in advance. I am sure some felt it was spam. But it was (as PalMD would say) just a brief burst of twittorhea.

  5. #5 Fischer
    June 23, 2009

    Seems like I missed the warning. Found the whole experience rather confusing, to say the least. Did the audience like the demonstration?