Social Enterprise

Love or hate Twitter: There are jewels in the rough

The popular social networking site has a mixed review among the tech-savvy public. In this TechRepublic blog, IT pro Rick Vanover points out some of the good that lies in the microblogging Web service.

As a general statement, Twitter is littered with junk. I won't disagree with that. Quantifying the junk is a separate task, however. I recently read this quality post on CNET news by Caroline McCarthy about a recent study that puts Twitter traffic at around 40% junk or “pointless babble.” That is about right, in my opinion. I frequently jump onto trending topics (those are the terms preceded by the “#” sign) on posts and can get quickly taken into other worlds that don't exactly feel like the same site that I have used before. I like to think of clicking into trending topics and ending up in somewhat awkward locations as being similar to going to the mall to get a shirt but ending up in a very popular store surrounded by teenagers.

But, Twitter does have good value in its content. The microblogging site is emerging for use as a recruiting tool, for example. The use case is simple, the cost is low, and the reach can be broad for both organizations and candidates. Use of social networking tools as a whole for this purpose is not new, LinkedIn being the prime example.

Twitter conversations can bring replies from other members that can add value to your perspective. Frequently, when I am in a conversation with another Twitter member a number of people will pipe up with relevant commentary. This can include people I don't follow or possibly who don't follow me, as trending topics can pool conversation across follower zones.

I'm convinced that a good set of Twitter members to follow is very valuable, but I have to be careful not to follow too many as this service can quickly become unmanageable. There is no good number of people to follow to use as a meter stick for manageability, as the amount of Twitter posts is a big deal also.

On my Twitter page, I am starting a new strategy to post in "batch mode" for a number of reasons. Primarily to use my time better, as I will post and digest the Twitter traffic all at once in larger time blocks less frequently. Another reason for batch mode is related to my prior point of overposting and frequency of Tweets. I am convinced that less and less people are interested in what I am doing for lunch or whether my socks match, but what is relevant to their technology duties at the moment.

Where do you see Twitter traffic from a value proposition? Sure there is garbage out there. Depending on who you know and follow, there can be good information at the right price. Share your comments and Twitter username (if applicable) below.

About

Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.

8 comments
Andrea
Andrea

I love twitter. I consider twitter like a huge public IM application - an IM tech that I don't have to worry about my PC being infected through some desktop software install. Feel free to follow me - I'm http://twitter.com/legaltypist I tweet mainly about items which interest on line businesses, including law firms and single professionals such as attorneys and virtual assistants.

sheepd0g
sheepd0g

I have just created a twitter account for our office to use to alert field users of computer system outages and keep local office users connected during hurricanes

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Why did you choose that method over sending them e-mail?

famigorena
famigorena

I agree with you Rick: there's garbage in Twitter but not only. Using a couple of tools (like HootSuite and/or TweetLater for example) can help you find jewels ... Thanks for your article, http://www.twitter.com/is_decisions

johncburgess
johncburgess

Haven't you guys got any work to do?? I certainly wouldn't be paying a twit to twitter all day long... Facebook, myspace, twitter... all barred in my workplace... and have no tangible value in the workplace IMO.... and represent a significant security risk... and distraction for the core purpose of the employees role... To perform the work allocated... If you want to waste your life in your own free time... twitter away ya twits...

maecuff
maecuff

And really, I don't know what your definition of a 'twit' is, so he may fall under that category..anyway...my husband tweets for a number of his clients. And they pay him to do it.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

And yet you have time to hang out here, reading articles and posts about a tool you regard as useless.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I'm sure it's due to my lack of experience, but I find it hard to locate anyone worth following. When I resort to lists like the one Jason Hiner put up today, http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/hiner/?p=1860 I find that almost everyone worth paying attention to also has a web log with more information, in a format I don't have trouble understanding. I also find a large portion of Twitter posts from those worth following are to let us know they updated their web logs, logs I'm already following anyway. The final blow is we now block Twitter at work, but don't block most web log hosts. You mentioned 'conversations'. Despite dipping my toes in a few times, I still don't understand how to read a conversation. I can figure out who you're replying to, but I can't determine which of their comments triggered your response, or follow the conversation back more than one exchange. In short, I've given up on Twitter. Maybe if I had some face-to-face hand-holding from someone with Twitter experience I might figure out how to get some value from it.