There was a short exchange on Twitter between myself (@StalkerB) and Michael Gray (@Graywolf) which was prompted when I saw this Tweet from him.

“I love that easytweets lets me set up a whole day tweeting for my multiple commercial accounts in less than 30 minutes a day”

To which I replied

“@graywolf Tweeting for business. You’re doing it wrong.”

Which was slightly mis-interpreted as if I thought businesses shouldn’t use Twitter, which is why he wrote back

“@StalkerB tweeting for business is wrong? you wanna rethink that tweet and do it over”

While I was elaborating slightly with

“@graywolf Depends what Tweets you schedule, pumping out promos every hour instead of interacting with people is not what it’s about, is it?”

So, my initial response wasn’t at all to do with businesses not using Twitter but everything to do with how I see the use of Twitter. After a bit of reflection I thought I should make that view clearer.

Twitter is the new web darling and after 3 years (birthday soon?) on the go seems poised to be jumped on by every business, marketer and spammer around; although it’s still a few years away from being used by your mum. It provides a unique opportunity for group level discussion and answers from companies to consumers but if history proves anything it’s that companies don’t know how to interact with customers and new media will be ignored or abused.

The absolute best thing about Twitter (to me) is how instant it is. The instant search is brilliant http://search.twitter.com/, Twitscoop let’s me see what people are buzzing about that I didn’t even know existed and the breaking news that sweeps across the Twit-o-sphere (that’s not a word, please don’t repeat it anywhere) is nothing short of a phenomenon.

As for what prompted my comment, EasyTweets is a great tool when used well but as companies get on board they’re not going to appreciate the value in interacting on Twitter so some poor sap is going to have to write a regimented 5 Tweets a day on corporate BS and will use EasyTweet to do it. Alternatively @TwitterSpammer (not registered, get on it!) will set up 100 accounts each to Tweet the same link to some shoddy money making scheme and now be able to do so quickly and efficiently.

So with all that in mind, scheduling Tweets for 4/8/16+ hours from now seems like a bad idea and not being online to manage Twitter campaign responses also seems to be ‘doing it wrong’.

Having now had time to reflect there are a few issues I didn’t immediately consider.

1) ‘Tweets don’t kill people’, just because the tool could be used poorly doesn’t mean that it can’t be used well. A good example would be to let customers know of an upcoming sale, where stock is limited and getting in before the event is a must. If your business knows that the prices will update on the website (or brick and mortar) at 13:00, a Tweet a few hours earlier will make sure users turn up to get a bargain.

I assume that Michael knows what he’s doing and the ‘doing it wrong’ wasn’t based on knowing what his commercial Tweets were about. So I apologise for claiming otherwise if you read this.

2) If you spam me I don’t have to follow you. Even assuming Michael did nothing but Tweet every hour on the hour about bargain iphones I can easily distance myself from him by stopping following and thereby not even see the offending Tweets.

That’s all I have time for on my lunch, so I’ll leave it there.

The end of the Twitversation (that’s another made up word, don’t let it catch on) finished with

“@graywolf No, business Tweeting is good. Tweeting for Tweeting’s sake is bad. Like I say, depends what’s scheduled.”
“@StalkerB develop a profile where ppl are used to U tweeting links yours and others, pass back thru and answer @ and DM’s how is that wrong”
“@graywolf Sorry, can’t read that last Tweet :(“

I still can’t make out the implied punctuation for “where ppl are used to U tweeting links yours and others” (is this to do with Tweets that include links or that the act of Tweeting intrinsically links you to other people?) but now see that as long as you monitor the responses that scheduling a Tweet may be okay.

I guess I should follow this up at some point with “Twitter for business. You’re doing it right!”, maybe tomorrow 😉

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