Twitter seems to be growing at an alarming rate. It seems everywhere you look, people are "tweeting." My first instinct when I saw Twitter was ---- why? I just didn't get it. But I forced myself to try it, wanting to be up on the social media scene, especially with regard to my research on virtual teams---not to mention the research we're doing with PMI's New Media Council.
Sure it made sense for people who follow bands, or celebrities, or companies (as a huge "news aggregator" and "party line" all mixed into one), but is there a use in business? It seems there is. For one, marketing people or researchers can search for all tweets regarding their product or their topic of interest. In fact, there's a whole field now called "Social Marketing" that makes use of this, and other channels, including Facebook.
And there are all sorts of free tools that should be in any Twitter user's toolbox that augment its value:
http://www.search.twitter.com can be used to search all tweets by any topic or phrase, or other criteria.
Tweetdeck (http://www.tweetdeck.com) is like a master control panel, where you can view tweets from all your followers, reply, and more.
Twollow (http://www.twollow.com) allows you to follow people in bulk based on a certain topic.
And even project managers can benefit from Twitter. There's an excellent article on Projects@Work (you need to register, but it's free) regarding how project managers can use Twitter. Some key uses, as noted in the article, are as follows:
- To broadcast updates from classes or events (and even address questions)
- To have "followers" subscribe to a feed to receive brief updates on the status of the project or certain activities (with a 140 character limit it forces updates to be brief.
- To pose a topic for input, allowing others to respond briefly. Many valuable responses can be quickly gathered.
- Hash tags (beginning with a #) can be used to view all tweets related to that tag (for a running commentary on that topic) -- this can also be used for project-specific data.
- Twitter is even being used for job postings (so staff assignment can also be "advertised")
- Tweets can be used to highlight blog posts or important website articles, etc.
All in all, it's an additional source of communication, and like it or not, it's here and growing. I'd love to hear from PMThink readers how YOU are using Twitter, especially with regard to project management.
By the way, my Twitter home page is http://twitter.com/jmanas. Here's the article...