You hear the same question over and over again – What is Twitter?
When Twitter filed for its initial public stock offering last year, they described it as a “global platform for public self-expression and conversation in real time.” Not very catchy! Though better than the original video of Biz Stone explaining Twitter…
In one of his latest interviews Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo said “We think of Twitter as a companion experience to what’s happening in your world”,
Now by breaking down that quote you actually do finally get what Twitter is.
You take your smartphone everywhere, so Twitter is always in reach. You use Twitter while waiting, you use Twitter while watching your favourite TV show, you use Twitter at sporting events, out with friends, at work… You use Twitter everywhere and Twitter makes the perfect companion for you to quickly share and enhance your current experience.
Twitter is real-time and this is one of the major differences it has to Facebook. Jump on to your Twitter timeline and you are living in the now. Search a term and yes you will see ‘Top Tweets’ though generally these are quiet recent, however by simply clicking ‘All Tweets’ you are accessing information (tweets, photos, links) as it happens.
This is the single most important aspect of Twitter that I tell clients and individuals… Twitter is whatever you want it to be. You have the power to follow whoever you want (of course only if the accounts aren’t private) and you have the power to search whatever you want. You can quite simply craft your own world on Twitter. Using tools such as Hootsuite and Tweet Deck you can easily create streams that monitor Twitter activity of Twitter list and search terms. You can then even break down those steams of activity even further to show tweets that only contain photos or links, allowing you quick access to quality tweets without all the noise. Seems like a lot more control than you get over your ‘Facebook Newsfeed’.
Is this how you see and how you would define Twitter?