Jumping on the Twitter tweetwagon

By Dodge Communications on April 28th, 2009

Feel like you’re the only one NOT using Twitter? Well, you might eventually be right! According to comScore’s recently released numbers, worldwide visitors to Twitter.com increased 95 percent in the month of March 2009 from 9.8 million to 19.1 million, making it the fastest-growing site last month. Of this, U.S. visitors represented 9.3 million alone. What’s more impressive about those stats is that those numbers are only the users that visited www.twitter.com and do not include the masses of people that access Twitter on mobile phones or through third-party applications. As impressive as those numbers are, there are still many people who haven’t yet joined the Twysteria. But projections estimate by summer the worldwide numbers will climb past 50 million. Wondering what the heck are “tweets” and why would you want to “Twitter”? Watch “Twitter in Plain English” for a great video explanation.

Twitter, like any other business tool, might not be appropriate in all circumstances or industries. But as the Twitter population grows, so will the practicality of using it. The healthcare IT industry has largely embraced the micro-blogging service as an instantaneous way to share news  and opinions during a time of great industry momentum. If you’re going to become a Tweep, the key to realizing the proper value from the site is through active participation. Signing up, following two people and then proclaiming it makes no sense is not actually giving it a fair try. It may take a few weeks before you begin to feel like you have a good grasp on Twitter. Depending on your industry and your objective for using the platform, actively participating may not necessarily mean continuously posting updates. Twitter may have the greatest value to you through data mining with Twitter search applications or through actively following users and gauging interest in various topics.

You should follow your industry contacts and search for users who discuss topics that are important to you or your company, but you do not have to follow thousands of people – the idea is to keep it manageable so that you actually read the Tweets of those you follow. By becoming an active listener to the conversations of those in your industry, you’ll gain an understanding of the topics people care most about and ultimately have a greater knowledge of the audience you’re trying to reach through your PR and messaging. If more than 19 million people are using it, there must be some value!