Senators and Congressmen were captured on camera ‘Tweeting’ updates during Barack Obama’s recent address to both Houses. Entrepreneurs on a ski trip turned to Twitter for help when two of their colleagues were recently lost of the slopes of Verbier.
So, what is all the fuss about and what relevance does it have to you?
‘Tweets’ are short messages, no longer than 140 characters, describing what you are doing at the moment. People choose to ‘follow’ each other on Twitter, meaning that every time you post a tweet, your followers see what you’re doing. In effect, it is a quick and efficient way to send a text message to your network.
Many people, me included, wrote off Twitter as a serious business tool for a long time. The impression gained was that you would be subscribing to receive banal, pointless updates from people’s mundane lives. “Why do I want to know if someone is eating a biscuit or going to the loo?” is a common objection.
The reality is somewhat different. While there are non-business tweets, updates that allow you get you to know the people in your network better as individuals, Twitter is at its most powerful as a tool to spread news, share information and useful links, find connections and raise your profile.
Are you looking for interesting businesses to finance? Many of the more innovative entrepreneurs can be found on Twitter, many great ideas are discussed there.
Is it important for you to know what other investors are looking at and trends among Angels and VCs? There are a range of tools that accompany Twitter that help you to find and connect to like-minded people and follow their updates.
Importantly for many investors, you can engage in Twitter and with your followers while preserving your anonymity. Unlike many social networks which reveal the individual, warts and all, Twitter members can adopt a nom de plume and still engage with the community.
Like all new innovations, time will tell just how big a role Twitter will play in business and how it will transform our means of communication and connecting. After being written off as a gimmick originally it is certainly showing strong signs of staying around and producing some real results.