What is Twitter?

Twitter: A series of short, high-pitched calls or sounds.

Synonyms: chirp – tweet – chirrup – warble – chatter

That pretty much sums it up! Twitter is a social media network full of chatter. Similar to a chirp, Twitter is full of fast, short, communications from one user to another, or to nobody in particular. Created to allow friends, family and co-workers to communicate quickly and frequently in 140 characters or less, Twitter is a fast moving stream of random thoughts, direct communication, and information.

Ambiguous? Sure. Do you believe it to be unnecessary and irrelevant? You are not alone. Many people have a difficult time understanding why they should care about someone’s every move.

The misconception is that Twitter is only chatter. Its relevance comes in the reality that Twitter updates are instant and in real time. At 2AM, outside of the news cycle, an earthquake, in an area you may have family, will be tweeted as the ground is still shaking. A car accident blocking a roadway that you are scheduled to travel will be revealed instantly, saving you the frustration of sitting in a traffic jam. When the most wanted terrorist in the world is killed, the event is blogged live, and fed through Twitter. There is no other medium where information is dispersed so quickly.

How does a business benefit from Twitter?

Twitter users are located all over the world, are all ages, sexes and race. Whatever a business’ demographic, that audience is easily targeted on Twitter. Once they identify that audience, it is what they do with their audience that dictates how they will benefit. A smart business will engage other users in order to build relationships and loyalty. Social media is just that: social.

Businesses advertising to consumers all day on Twitter are frowned upon and users will unfollow as quickly as they followed. Instead, businesses should have conversations with their target audience about topics of interest to them. This can be time consuming, but is also extremely effective in building a brand identity, increasing sales and improving customer service. Many businesses seek help in this process.