All About twitter

Fail what?

Fail what?

Ah, back to business.  Let’s finish up a post that we have been writing for a few weeks…and would have finished weeks ago, if it was not for whole Blogger snafu.

Twitter.  Certainly a very big buzz word for the past several months (years, if you have been paying close attention) and one that will probably come up more than once at ESTO this week.

So, what is twitter?  Well it is easily summed up as a micro-blogging service where communities of friends and followers keep answering the same, basic question, in 140 characters or less…what are you doing?  You can also think of twitter as the best part of MySpace, the status bar (or what are you doing bar).

To say this service is popular with it’s user base is a massive understatement.

Before we get too much further, let’s take a look at a few recent articles about Twitter that should help you understand the importance and power of this seemingly little site / mobile application.

Seven Ways to Get Your Mom on Twitter
A great article from Mashable explaining how to get your Mom on Twitter.  Examples, step by step instructions, plus a Twitter lingo chart (very important!).  You should know what a ‘Fail Whale’ is.

Twitter As News-wire
An excellent post from the official Twitter blog showing the sheer power of Twitter in reference to major news events.  In this case, the earthquake in LA a few weeks ago.  The earthquake happened at 11:42am…the first twitter post about the quake happened with 60 seconds.  Stop and think about that for a second.  In the past, you might not have heard about the quake for hours afterwards depending on when you flipped on the TV or visited, however if you were following @thevixy on twitter you knew about the event almost instantly.

Not only does this make a compelling argument for the influence and timeliness of twitter, but also demonstrates the power that a majority of twitter users have.  We always hear talk of how one person tells 5 friends and then they tell 5 friends, etc, etc.  Well, the users on twitter are that first friend who starts the conversation.

Sci Fi Tries Out Twitter
The Sci Fi channel is using Twitter to promote an ongoing show, Eureka, via a computer-based character on the show who has set up a Twitter account.  Cheesy?  Probably.  These people know a character from the show is not really speaking to them via Twitter, but they do know it is someone from or related to the show and that is enough for them.

Again, this is proper use of new interactive media.  Show on Sci Fi + tech crazy TV viewers + Twitter account = 2,602 people reading what a show character has to say.  That is a small number, but these are 2,602 people who are asking to follow a commercial message about a product, in this case a show.  How more targeted can you get?  Have a special episode, DVD release, action figure, guest appearance on Regis and Kelly, tell your Twitter fans and watch the viral campaign begin.

How “Janet” Fooled the Twittersphere She’s the Voice of Exxon Mobil
Ah, but there is always a downside.  As with most things online, anyone can say, do or even pretend they are someone else.  Same thing on Twitter.  Anyone can register the ‘George Bush’ Twitter name and start tweeting away (tweeting? You should have read the lingo chart!).  Or in the case of the story, begin posting message on behalf of one of the biggest corporations in the world, ExxonMobile.

Refer back to our recent post on How To Protect Your Social Media Footprint.  Twitter was listed.  Register your name and start tweeting (if you are the interactive / social director*) or set that profile to private.  Either way, make sure you are not surprised one Wednesday afternoon when the CEO runs into your office asking why some guy is tweeting on behalf of your company.

*Just the other day, we had become friends with @CrocsInc, the Crocs footwear company.  4 or 5 days later, the account was gone, deleted.  I would assume an overly friendly employee got his hands on a computer and started tweeting, until management heard about it and shut it down.

Side note, one of our favorite celebrity tweeters has to be Darth Vader.  Good stuff.

Okay, Twitter basic training is complete.  So now what?  Who is actually using this in the travel space?

Well, for one, Mo and I are, with two different approaches:
In the case of AOT, we are posting messages from an actual person, making real-time updates to our feed.  Telling our followers what to do, where to go and what is happening in Arizona as well as talking to people on Twitter.
Travel Oregon has taken a bit of a different angle on Twitter.  Rather than posting live comments, they are using an RSS feed to send blog and calendar of events updates directly to the service.  No one has to monitor this 24/7…although, some monitoring is still involved.

Two different approaches, both with the same goal, begin to communicate and inform travelers where they are spending time online.

Other travel-related organizations on Twitter:

Just looking:

There you go, a pretty good primer on Twitter.  Should every DMO, CVB and travel organization be using the service right now?  Probably not, like all of these social media applications some time dedication is required.

Is Twitter a great, free and easy way to communicate with those ‘influencers’ we always hear so much about?  Absolutely, Twitter is a great way to start your social marketing strategy.  In the overall scope of things, producing 140 character thoughts 2 or 3 times a day is a whole lot easier than maintaining a Facebook page.

Should you register your company’s Twitter name right now? Yes!  Why are you still reading this!

Comment? @travel2dot0 or email.