The Growing Importance of Twitter

J0407547 I happen to think that no element of new and emerging media is more important than Twitter – something that should be apparent to anyone involved in communications.

Enter into evidence the role that Twitter played in many recent news events – the Olympics in Beijing; the reporting when Lance Armstrong broke his collarbone; and of course the recent terrorist events in Mumbai.  The role of Twitter as a communications device reached an extraordinary standard when last week the U.S. government asked Twitter to put off a shut down for maintenance in light of the events unfolding in Iran.  

It is not just the astronomical growth of Twitter – the increasing number of users, but the growing applications of Twitter that are going to make it such a central function of mainstream communications in the future.   In fact, so many applications have been built for Twitter – allowing one to assess a person's influence, growth and importance, e.g., that an entire database and site called Twitdom has sprung up to help one assess and employ applications.  

Despite the enormous growth of Twitter, there are only about 16 pharmaceutical or device companies using it, which is astounding.  Those who are using it are employing it for purposes of a news feed (which is what many members of Congress are doing), while others are using it as a listening post (looking to see what others are saying) and still others are actually generating original content.  In my mind, it doesn't matter how you use it, just use it.

Or, if you think you can maintain a competitive advantage by relying on traditional media and read and be part of news today that happened yesterday, instead of news today as it happens, then suit yourself.  But in that case, I would remind you of a statement that a colleague of mine recently brought to my attention.  It is a quote from General Eric Shineski, Retired Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army -

 "If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less."
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