A lot of people have been trying to figure out what to do with Twitter ever since it first showed up on the scene.   “How can I use Twitter to market my business?”  That’s the big question that I hear over and over again.  Good question.  Don’t know if I have the answer.  But I have observed some really interesting ways that people are using Twitter.  Here are a few.

1.       The Q & A Twitter:

Seth Godin recently tweeted a Q & A about his new book, Poke the Box.  Using the hashtag #pokethebox and publicizing the Twitter event beforehand on his Domino Project blog, he conducted a fast paced, highly interactive hour-long Twitter Q & A. (I was able to get in my own question – which would have been way harder in a phone or in-person Q & A.  I wrote (tweeted): “What’s your number one goal with this first book published through Project Domino?” and Seth replied:  “We’re trying to make a point, to create abundance instead of scarcity. So far, it’s working. Readership is way up. ^sg.”  The exchange was almost instantaneous and public to anyone following the feed.)

2.       The Twitter during Live Events:

What’s so interesting about this use of Twitter is that it allows people to get an insider’s view not available to the general public.  Perhaps the most notable of these recently was actor James Franco who apparently managed to co-host the 2011 Academy Awards with Anne Hathaway while tweeting away all evening.   I missed it and undoubtedly so did most viewers, but had I known, it would have been a great way to fill up those commercial breaks – and get a whole new take on the event.

My first experience of this use of Twitter was a year ago, following Rebecca Lobo’s live twitter feed during one of the NCAA’s televised women’s basketball games with UConn on the court.  Lobo was a live sports commentator that night.  But when she wasn’t on camera, I’d switch to twitter and she’d be tweeting away about what she’d just overheard a coach say, for instance, or a player.  Totally fascinating inside view.

Think about the possibilities – if you’re attending an event that people care about, and people care about you enough to read your tweets, set up a special #hashtag for that event and live tweet.  That’s a way to build a following.

3.    The Twitter Teaching Event:

Okay, so this one is fictional, but it really rocked.  Grey’s Anatomy fans, you may have seen this episode.  Dr. Miranda Bailey (fictional surgeon on Grey’s Anatomy, for the uninitiated) was using Twitter during her surgery as a teaching device (actually, it’s two of the student doctors who are tweeting, while Bailey operates.)   As the surgery becomes problematic – and the Twitter following has expanded nationally and internationally to over 3,000 live members – Dr. Bailey receives medical answers and ultimately concrete medical assistance – in time to save the patient’s life.  All thanks to that Twitter feed.  Fictional, but not entirely far-fetched; it showed possible uses of Twitter – in education and in medicine.

p.s.  An added twist to this the episode:  the actor,  Chandra Wilson,  who plays Dr. Miranda Bailey, was set up with her own twitter account – at @MirandaBaileyMD – and tweeted before, during and after the surgery. Check her actual tweets out at @MirandaBaileyMD.

  One Response to “Whither Twitter”

  1. Hi Anne; your observations help me better understand some of the uses of “tweeting”. In addition to replacing Tweetie Bird, a cartoon character from a few generations ago, it appears that “tweet” will be in our lexicon of language for awhile. When I observe folks “tweeting” or doing some rapid finger movement over their digital devices I can’t help but think how they, the devices, look like 21st century prayer tablets, and those doing the digitization look like they are praying.
    Talk to you soon;
    one who has decided to retreat, rather than re-tweet!

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