How can we capitalise on Twitter's addictiveness?

This blog has been a little neglected in the last few days because I have been off playing around with researching Twitter.

I’m not sure what Twitter is – it is like a micro-blogging tool. You can access it through IM, RSS, the web or your mobile (via SMS). Because of the SMS part you are limited to 140 characters per posting! This limitation quickly becomes part of the attraction of using it. Instead of having to think about and compose longer blog posts, you simply quickly type in what you are doing at any particular time (i.e. “Starting work on presentation for Eventsnet“).

It has taken off hugely amongst early adopters and is grabbing everyone’s interest. Steve Rubel has an interesting piece written about how this has implications for the Attention Economy and he goes on to posit:

If Twitter continues its meteoric rise, then we may well be witnessing a changing of the guard. That doesn’t mean blogging as we know it will go away. But it will surely morph in Twitter’s wake if a big shift is underway.

I think Steve is correct in this, just judging from my own experience. Since I started looking into Twitter, my own reading/blogging output has diminished.

Now, if Twitter is grabbing all this attention, how can we capitalise on Twitter’s addictiveness? By that I mean, I can see a business case for blogs, but what is the business case for Twitter?

19 thoughts on “How can we capitalise on Twitter's addictiveness?”

  1. Every time I see someone posting about twitter I go and have another look at the website, and every time I do that I think “what a /stupid/ idea”. I fail to see the attraction. Why would I give a flying f*ck at the moon what people are doing at any particular time? How in god’s name is it interesting?

  2. @dahamsta — that’s exactly what I was just thinking …

    … Tom, as a self professed addict already – what’s the appeal? Is it when friends come on and update themselves? Is it in charting your every move?

    …in terms of business usage, I’m sure you could read in the feed, parse out the words and then have a pretty comprehensive set of statistics as to what’s hot right now.

    Business case … http://30boxes.com/blog/ is a good example … they’ve a real time status update via twitter – it could be very useful for all these web apps where there’s a feature set and users feel as though they’re isolated from the developers…

  3. wot if your boss was the leader of a sect. and forced the workers to hear him/her by twitter…. morning noon & night,,, seriously i twittered that radio feed back could work, field surveys could work, imagine the fuel protests in the UK were done via txt alone, a general strike needs twitter. revolution. ask not what it can do for business but what it can do for people power. Ask not how to CAPITALISE but how to SOCIALIZE it.

  4. Is twitter just the blog equivalent of instant messaging – I can see how it could be used for communication in a good way however does it do it better than anything else ? I don’t think so, I just think it’s a case of bloggers going oh look look something is shiny and new lets use it.

    If I want to know what one of my mates is doing I text/call/email/msn them what does twitter do than isn’t done as effectively as one of those means already ?

  5. Interesting to read your post. Just started using twitter this morning. If I can get it to integrate better with my blog (beyond the JavaScript include) I reckon it could be great for use in politics. There’s a lot that happens in local work like mine that doesn’t necessitate a full blog post, but Twitter lets people know you’re still on the ball.

  6. Guys,

    I can’t explain the appeal to me – part of it is the feeling of connection, I guess. And the ability to build powerful networks, very quickly.

    Damien, excellent idea.

  7. Tom, a lot of blog comment on the use of “twitter and attention streaming”. I can see this being a potential mash up application, i.e. get your security personnel to “twitter their location”, to “plazes”, and then tell you which friend is nearest and “available for coffee”. etc. etc. If you think of the content of the twitter message as being searchable, and distributable, then you begin to see its potential power as a social app.

  8. We have a skunkworks project that monitors appliances for voltage loads and through them, a smart home control centre lets you know whether the immersion is left on, a door is open, a light is burning. The smart home centre can provide web advisories. With a little more coding the smart home centre could send the advisory to twitter as a direct message. Anyone could respond to the direct message — a neighbour, a priest, a garda, the bin man.

    Scale this to independent living in a remote setting and it empowers those in an idyllic setting with a party line.

    The cool thing is a fourth year software developer has already considered the code base required to twitterise a home. The rest is up to the audience to accept the technology’s interference with their lives.

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  10. I think one must be wary of the “new toy” effect. You discover something new, put all your attention into it for a few days/weeks/months, and then settle down to normaler usage.

    I started using twitter early December, and I absolutely love it, and use it quite a lot, but I don’t see that it’s led to less blogging on CTTS for me.

    Are you sure you’re not confusing “new toy addictiveness/attention-grabbing” with “twitter’s”?

  11. I think one must be wary of the “new toy” effect.

    You mean the magpie effect Stephanie? – Ooooohhhh shiny! 😉

    You are probably absolutely correct in your intrpretation – and like yourself I’ll probably settle down a bit (after the ‘new car smell’ has worn off) in a couple of weeks!

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  13. Tom,

    If you get the chance stick on Ray D’arcy on Today FM it looks like Twitter has made the main stream press with D’arcy slaggin off twitter and ‘not getting it’

    Or at least fire him an email 🙂

  14. If you get the chance stick on Ray D’arcy on Today FM it looks like Twitter has made the main stream press with D’arcy slaggin off twitter and ‘not getting it’

    Now I didn’t hear D’Arcy, nor do I hold his opinion in particularly high esteem but he and others are perfectly entitled to think it’s a bit rubbish.

    Tom has said he’s not even sure why he likes it and where it fits in for him so since you ‘get it’ can you explain it to me. It just seems like a stupid idea to me. I can read Tom’s friend’s comments in the sidebar at te moment and for the most part they are incredibly borning. There’s even one ‘post’ there from a guy telling us he’s currently writing a blog post about x or y. Why the hell do I need a blow by blow account like that?

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