To Tweet or not to Tweet?

I set up a twitter account a while ago based on being nosey and feeling like I was missing out on something.  I didn’t really know what I was going to use it for and generally my initial twitterings were few and far between.  I felt a bit easier about being part of something I didn’t really understand the point of when someone told me that over 90% of people using social media do so in a voyeuristic way in that they simply want to watch everyone else. This was me until a few days ago when I downloaded the OpenBeak (formerly Twitterberry) app for my Blackberry and since then I’ve become obsessed with it!  (I know I seem late with this but I still think I’m part of the “Early Majority”)

I don’t think my tweets are very interesting to be honest but I love letting whoever happens to care at the time know what I am doing.  For example, today my train broke down and instead of calling my boss I got straight online and tweeted about it.

My favourite tweeter (is ‘tweeter’ the right jargon?) is Rosie Phipps from Oxford College of Marketing @oxcom.  She posts links to marketing blogs, news, opinion, latest happenings etc but adds a personal touch with the odd tweet about what she’s up to. I also like following Marketing and the Media Guardian who post the latest headlines- I like to annoy my work colleagues with the news as and when it’s posted (they say it annoys them but they love it really).

What I don’t understand is why businesses invite you to follow them or even ‘be a fan’ when they are not going to maintain their use of this medium.  We’ll always have trend followers but marketers should think twice before signing their organisations up to using social media without a well constructed strategy with clear objectives underpinning its use.  I feel that businesses are quick to jump on the bandwagon with social media because it is free, quick and easy to use. However we wouldn’t dive in to an outdoor campaign without objectives, planning and performance management so why do this with Twitter? 

I’m not against it at all but I think marketers should give some thought to why they are using social media and what exactly they hope to achieve before they begin tweeting. It can certainly become anti-social media if you ask your customers to engage with you in this way and then fail to deliver to them.

Incidentally, you can follow me at: http://twitter.com/katieunderhill

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