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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Top 15 Reasons to Use Twitter...

I have been using Twitter for about a year and over the 12 months I have learned a few ways to get the most out of the service. There is obviously a huge social aspect to the Twitter community, and this is probably one of the driving forces for the highly engaged user base. But I have found many other reasons and value propositions within this tool and service and I thought I would share a few…

1. Breaking News – if you follow the right people or services you can receive breaking news almost instantaneously on your phone or blackberry.

2. Breaking News within a specific vertical – by using the right keywords you can find out information about specific industries as the new breaks. For example if you put in the tracking on keywords such as ‘Dow Jones’ for financial or ‘CDC’ for health you can be alerted to news in these categories.

3. Keep in Touch – you can follow your friends, neighbors, or co-workers and always have a sense of what they are thinking or doing.. This is helpful when you are busy and traveling and want to just keep in touch with people.

4. Keep track of travel – by tracking the right people you can always get a sense of where someone is if they are on the road a lot. This is very helpful with clients or people you might work with. You can always have a sense of where they are.

5. Rapid Response to Questions – you can send out questions on anything under the sun and many times can get a very quick response on your question.

6. Efficient Communication – you can provide your Twitter name to people that need to reach you or need to know where you are to ensure they can always keep on top of things.

7. What People are Saying About You – you can track your name or company and get a sense of what people are saying or thinking. You can also respond quickly to any misinformation that might start to leak out.

8. Competitive Intelligence – by tracking the names of your competitors you can get a good sense of what they are up to or planning.

9. Buzz or Rapid Trends – you can get a sense of what trends are moving at almost an instantaneous pace. When you see a lot of posts about a specific topic you can get a sense of how important that news is going to be.

10. Track you Investments/Stocks – keep on top of any news, information, leaks, rumors around stocks you own or are watching.

11. Keep up to Date with your Clients – Always have information or news on your clients so you can react quickly to anything that comes up.

12. Betting/Fantasy Sports – keeping on top of the vegas lines and any news out of the different teams you are betting is important.

13. Job Hunting – you can get a good amount of information about a company or their needs by tracking the news or employees of the company.

14. Emergency Preparation/Watch – watching for certain keywords can help you in making sure you are aware of any potential emergencies.

15. Tracking Local – by watching the local cities around where you live you can keep on top of things that are going on in your area. This also applies to Amber alerts or other local issues that might come up.
Top 5 things I would like to see Twitter provide:
1. Closed Communities – the ability to create a group that people can join or be dropped into where they receive instant alerts/twitters

2. White label solution – for corporate brands the ability to white label the Twitter solution could be interesting. One example that would be fun is American Idol group or NFL group.

3. Corporate Accounts – the ability to list the different companies or services that can be tracked in a much better directory or user experience.

4. RSS Integration – the ability to tie together blog postings with twitters so you can be alerted when a new article is posted and the headline within the same interface.

5. More advanced tracking logic – the ability to provide more advanced logical statements in tracking keywords, such as track ‘google’ if twitter is employee of Google and posting includes any of the keywords ‘layoff’,’investment’,’merger’

And a few stretch ideas…

1. Tracking Local – somehow the ability to post the location of people based on their last twitter (if they enable it). i.e. I post from my SMS and am in NY now it could carry this information with on the posting.

2. Breaking In – somehow the ability to break into twitter users based on certain types of messages. This would be opt-in, but if I needed to get a message to a group of people I could pay to have the message broadcast to them.

3. Embedded Content – the ability to send a twitter message and embed content that is enclosed within the message. This could make it easier for content to be presented to the users based on the different devices they are using.

4. Voting on Twitters – some form of social voting on twitter postings that could allow people to use the voting to weigh information.

5. Security Twitter – okay this is a real stretch, but the government uses twitter to communicate any important information to different groups. Also, users can use twitter to alert authorities to suspect situations or problems.

Okay, that is enough for now, but these are just a few things that seem to be of value in using Twitter. They have a long way to reach critical mass, but I do think there will be some really unique and exciting services that will come out of this team.

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