Presenting The Case for Corporate Twitter To your Boss

Twitter is a widely known application in the social media circles. Everybody is talking about it, and many use it. However, this application has a lot of potential in the corporate landscape.

What the hell is it?

It is an online service that allows you to follow short messages (up to 140 characters) of a group of people, vie the web, email, IM or text. Each user can subscribe to status messages of other users. The result is a notification stream as seen below:

Picture 1.png

The service also allows users to connect directly in private (what’s called Direct Message) or refer to one another publicly (by the usage of @).

Why people use it?

Oh, there are several use cases for this application. Some use it to keep in touch with their friends. Some use it s a professional tool, for information gathering and creating a conversation with a community. Some use it as a notification service for their podcasts listeners or blog readers about new material. And some just use it as an open chat platform.

Ah, ok, so it is another geek thing. Do you use it?

Yes, you can follow me here. And yes, many geeks use it, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t useful for your company. All the A bloggers are using it, so it is a great tool to learn what’s hot in the blogsphere and beyond.

Ok, so let’s say you are right – why are you talking about Corporate Twitter?

Knowledge management, collaboration and internal communication are major challenges for companies today. Now, think about the following scenario – a development team has a twitter for all the developers. Instead of IMing questions to each other, or emailing status reports, they can tweet them to the whole group and get responses through that system. Because the messages are short, users are writing very efficiently, so the noise is low.

Are you nuts??? Putting corporate information on an open platform? Just from thinking about it the guys from SEC will arrest me!

You are right, so here is a simple solution for you – the guys from WordPress created Prologue, a template that works just like twitter. so you can create such a site internally, based on WordPress, without internet access

Cool – how much does it cost?

Nothing. Buy a server, install wordpress, add that theme, and you are good to go.

Wow – geeks sometimes do cool things. Thanks!

I am not a geek.

Yes you are. You use Twitter. Anyway, What’s friendfeed?

That’s another story. We will talk about it in future posts.


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9 Responses to “Presenting The Case for Corporate Twitter To your Boss”

  1. 1 Ian Hay April 28, 2008 at 10:58 am

    Nice post but in most organisations even IF you could convince the boss the IT department would stomp all over you ….

  2. 2 Kfir Pravda April 28, 2008 at 11:11 am

    yep, IT are always a challenge. But the local wordpress option can solve their problem too.

  3. 3 Ron Shoshani April 29, 2008 at 6:06 am

    “I am not a geek”……ah ah….. love it!

    Where is this GEEK that I read about him in all the articles and posts, and in which company this person work? I would like to meet this guy, because everyone says “I’m not”….

    Man, can you please find me a relevant T-shirt with this sentence ?

  4. 4 Yoav April 29, 2008 at 6:34 am

    I felt a bit moronic for using Twitter over the past few days really trying to discover the power of this massively popular application. Now I feel like I live on a different planet. Why in the world would I want to follow what people do? How is this any better then what people typing on their facebook account the important fact that they are going to the bathroom, except for the fact that Twitter connects all of these bathroom-going people together? I am looking around at Twitter and see no one I should be even remotely inclined to follow and really don’t get what this means – will I now get SMS messages whenever someone from a group I follow goes to the bathroom? And as for the corporate premise – well, don’t people in corporation really just want to hide, and the ones that are not use collaboration suits that have real time ‘What are you doing now’ feed in them already?
    Please help my confusion, I am obviously Twitterly challanged and don’t get this revolution at all!

  5. 5 Kfir Pravda April 29, 2008 at 6:55 am

    Yoav, you are godsend!
    First of all, I don’t think that twitter is widely popular – I think it is popular in the social media circles,and I am working on a post explaining why it is popular only there.
    Re why to follow people – yes, a lot of people are very boring on twitter. There are a lot of very bad TV shows – does it mean that TV as a device is worthless? Follow people that make sense to you to follow. I follow Arrington, Orly Yakuel, Chris Brogan, and a lot of friends. I also follow a friend called Jim Long, who is a video photographer in the White House – his twits are awesome! I also ask my followers a lot of questions and engage in conversation with them.
    To sum it up – follow people YOU find interesting. That’s the whole thing.
    Re the SMS – you can stop it in the settings.

  6. 6 israluv April 30, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    I am a die hard Twitter user – but for corporate use my suggestion to them is to use tweetscan and other services that can notify users when specific words pop up in twitter conversations- that way a corporation can really be on top of what their customers feel/thing/write about. Michael Arrington had a story about problems w/ his internet service and a high up exec at the internet service provider got an alert about the company and responded ASAP to Michael … go onto techcrunch to read about it. It really reiterates how important Twitter is for large corporations.

  7. 7 Yoav May 2, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    Thanks Kfir,
    I kind of get that and yes, the SMS thing – I obviously can turn it off. I brought it up becaue I failed to see the purpose of it. Maybe the Twitter problem is a UI issue? Going around their site it’s nearly impossible to understand: what does ‘following’ really mean? Does it mean that whenever someone changes status you get a note in your email, mobile and Twitter home page? Is that all?

    This morning I got a message that someone is following me. I didn’t know if I should hide or follow them back. Turns out it was some fanatic sports fan whom I don’t know and have nothing in common with. Of course – I immediately proceeded to change my status to “Taking a toilet break”, thus creating a chase-scene diversion to lose the tail of whoever is following me.

    My welcome email from Twitter reads: “The New York Times calls Twitter “one of the fastest-growing phenomena on the Internet.” TIME Magazine says, “Twitter is on its way to becoming the next killer app,” and Newsweek noted that “Suddenly, it seems as though all the world’s a-twitter.” What will you think?”

    Killer app? What other apps does it kill? Isn’t this just a version of the “what are you doing now” box on Facebook that can be posted on a blog and sent via email or SMS? If not, then I missed the point completely and Twitter’s illusive site and media coverage have completely failed to educate me (which may be the reason indeed as to why mainly social media fanatics twitt). But if I am right and that’s all it is then eh, it’s a nice to-have but a far cry from the premise of the hyped up paragraph I quoted above.

    I feel like everyone I know have taken a crazy pill and no one shared one with me. Give me one! And yes Kfir, I do follow you on Twitter. You are quite interesting :o)

  8. 8 Kfir Pravda May 2, 2008 at 5:36 pm

    Yoav – your points are very important. yes, twitter has a lot of media coverage, and I personally think that it is over hyped.
    Re the difference from Facebook – Facebook status is more of a declearion – I am doing X. Though many use twitter in the same way, others start a conversation through twitter – something that is much harder to accomplish with FB.
    Re the guy who is following you – loved your description 🙂 My policy is a bit different in this case – I don’t care if I don’t know that one that follows me, I just want to make sure I am not following crazy guys
    And I am happy you enjoy my tweets 🙂

  9. 9 Yoav May 2, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    I *think* I get it Kfir. Hallelujah!

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