Twitter: It’s Not Just for Kids Anymore

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Twitter: Its Not Just for Kids AnymoreOr, using Twitter for fun and profit.

I have to confess — I’m not a huge Twitter fan and I’m not sure I understand it, but here’s what I do know.

  • Twitter is the fastest growing social networking platform
  • Twitter has almost 200 million users, although some argue there are only 1.5 million active users
  • According to an answer on Quora, there are over 110 Million tweets a day.
  • If you do the math, that’s about 73 tweets per day per active user.
  • Tweets can only be 140 characters each

Taken together, you see why I’m somewhat disillusioned with Twitter — there are a few folks out there tweeting a lot (much of it trivial) in very small chunks.

How do you build relationships on Twitter?

This is a question I posed to my students — 20 something, affluent, African Americans who spend WAY too much time Tweeting (rather than studying).  Here’s the answer I got:


Rather than a social network,

Twitter is really a glorified text messaging service

They send tweets directed at another user (using the @username), the user responds, and they respond back — in essence texting except their texts are PUBLIC.

Yeah, that way we can overhear other conversations and jump in if we want.

They get around the 140 character limit through creative language usage — similar to that used in mobile texting.  And with smartphones, they’re getting these Tweets on their mobile device.

How do businesses use Twitter effectively?

Forget about talking.  Twitter is about listenting.

An example they gave is a friend who had eaten at Chipolte and tweeted that she wished they had one in her town.  She got a response from Chipolte saying they were opening one soon and sending her some coupons to try it out.

Twitter is all about complaining.

My students don’t want to hear from companies on Twitter.  They may be interested in following celebrity conversations, but they’re not going to follow ANY COMPANY on Twitter. That’s for Facebook (which most of them rarely use — one stated she only logs on long enough to see if anyone has sent her a message through Facebook).

The only thing they’re going to do related to Twitter is complain about a company — AND THEY EXPECT THE COMPANY TO RESPOND IMMEDIATELY.

Your Turn

Do you use Twitter as an important component in your social media strategy?

What have your experiences on Twitter been like?

How can businesses use this information about how users see Twitter to be successful?

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  1. Shanneika Howell says

    Twitter is one of the biggest networking sites today and I believe it can be for both fun and profit. Some students use twitter as a way of promoting not only events in DC but also their own personal business. Twitter is honestly what you make it and who you choose to network with. One of the things I feel twitter does is allow people to brand themselves. A lot of issues from gossip to political are twitted about before other entities announce the information.

    • says

      I think you either love Twitter or you hate it, Shanneika. I like Twitter, but it seems there’s so much noise out there, its hard to hear anything being said. Although, I think the use you’re talking about is a little different. You have friends on Twitter and you message them or speak with them directly. As a company, its harder to do that. That’s why I think businesses will continue to use Facebook more.

  2. says

    I agree with Ariel, twitter is what you make it. Some people use twitter as another form of text messaging. They would get on and talk to their friends about different things, such as what they’re going through or just the update of their life. Others use twitter strictly as a marketing and promotion tool. Party promoters would try to get as many followers as possible so when they tweet about an upcoming party or event everybody would know about it. They would say something like “Hit me if you’re trying to get a table” or “direct message me with your friends list and I can get ya’ll in for free”. Twitter is even used by professional associations such as the NBA or NFL as a way keep their fans updated with what’s going on at the time. The NBA for example tweeted earlier today, “#NBAPlayoffs Eastern Semis: @Atlanta_Hawks vs. @ChicagoBulls Game 1: Monday 5/2 8pm/et TNT”. This keeps fans updated on when the games are and even the scores of the games. Twitter is used a way to not only keep fans updated but as way to increase their fan base and increase their fan support.

  3. Ariel Amey says

    It is in my personal experience that Twitter is what you make it. Many times people will use twitter as a way to vent and sometimes replace Twitter with friends, when in reality by posting a tweet you make all of your follows listen to you, whether they want to or not.

    In a marketing perspective, companies use Twitter for problem solving and promotion. Many times when people turn to Twitter to complain, a company, such as Chipotle, will use it as a way to fix the problem (i.e. the example in the post). Another way the same company, Chipotle, used social media to promote the “new, fresher ingredients” was to make a customer watch a video on Facebook and once they watched the video they received a BOGO coupon. How did this affect Twitter? In today’s world, people are not just on ONE social networks. Twitter exploded, and even had a trending topic, about the BOGO coupon which further promoted Chipotle.

    In the end, Twitter and other social media websites are a way to survey people for free. Before people and companies knew how useful social media could be, they outsourced many different advertising and public relation companies to “get the opinion of the people”. They can now hire people, or use the people they already had to manage these social media websites and not only save money, but save time.