Do you know how many emails you’ve sent? How about how many instant messages? Probably not. I sure have no idea. But I do know that I just sent my 1,000th Twitter update. Or rather, that twitterfeed did on my behalf. People on Twitter observe milestone (millstone?) numbers like their 100th or 1,000th update or follower as if they were birthdays. I’m not one to be terribly orthodox about observing birthdays, so I was reluctant to make a fuss over achieving a kilotwit, but it’s a slow blog day, so here’s what I’ve learned on Twitter:
Use (abuse?) Twitter customer service while you can. Twitter is still small by the standards of the internet, and the smallish number of companies that are staking out a presence there are eager to make a good impression. If a company is on Twitter, you can often get very good customer service or at least a live response faster than you can with regular email, chat or phone. The economics of this situation are transitory, so get it while it’s hot. Try @comcastcares or @wholefoods for two.
When asking the Twitterverse for advice, you get what you pay for. For the reasons cited above, you can sometimes get some really good inside dope from people and companies on Twitter, such as discount codes, beta invites, weather and transport alerts, etc. I’ve asked for and dished out random advice, usually about food and wine, and gotten (and probably given) mixed results. Caveat twittor, and expect the neighborhood to get less neighborly as it grows.
You can do a lot – but not everything – in 140 characters. There are a lot of people who tweet haiku (I’m one of them) and a few who tweet exclusively in haiku. At least one person, @gracepiper, tweets recipes. So far as I know, nobody tweets haiku recipes, but it’s probably only a matter of time. Constraints are the mother of innovation, and the exercise of precision can really help sharpen your message. If you have one. On the other hand, longer discussions of meatier subjects really need to be taken elsewhere.
Maybe in my next thousand tweets I’ll figure out if this thing is really good for anything and maybe the Twitter people will figure out how to make money doing it. Either way, it’ll be an entertaining ride. Follow me @limeduck for the play-by-play.
Congratulations on your 1,000th tweet. And, it looks like the Twitter people are trying to make money. As per a Business Week blog, they have introduced banner ads in Japan and that is likely a test before a broader roll out. See http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/aug2008/tc20080815_597307.htm.