I Don’t Read the Paper, I Read Twitter

Posted on July 17, 2009 by 1 Comment

Tac Anderson, Digital Consulting Director

On a recent trip down to Austin on the red-eye with David Patton (@spincycle3), I was at a loss for what to do with this stack of newspapers he brought on the plane.

Statue reading a paperThe only value I see in the newspapers is passive discovery. The ability to read something, turn the page and find an interesting article about something you’d never go out of your way to find. The problem is most of the time I have no interest whatsoever in the article on the next page and there’s no StumbleUpon button to take me to the next article that I may have more interest in. I’m just stuck with what’s in the paper. (As a side note, I found it much harder to scan a newspaper than a Web page.)

A VC, Fred Wilson, one of the original early-stage investors in Twitter, recently gave a speech at the 140 conference: The Value Of Twitter Is In “The Power Of Passed Links.”

To me Twitter is my passive discovery. The thousands of people I follow provide that discovery that most people get from the paper. Except instead of reading one paper I read bits of hundreds of “papers” and blogs.

Twitter is the Internet’s Water Cooler

Posted on July 6, 2009 by Comments Off

Tac Anderson, Digital Consulting Director

An office water cooler with a reusable 5-gallo...You can’t monitor the whole Internet. Nobody can, not even Google. So what do you do? It’s obvious that you can’t ignore it. You need to be monitoring something.

“But I don’t have budget for fancy monitoring tools.” You don’t need any budget. There are dozens of free or nearly free tools to use but you could probably just monitor Twitter if you had to.The easiest and cheapest way is set up your team with TweetDeck, let it run in the background at work and run a search for your keywords.

I’m not advocating that you only monitor Twitter (and the above solution only works while TweetDeck is running) but I think if you only did one thing, it should be to monitor Twitter. Why? Why not blogs or set up alerts?

Twitter is the water cooler of the Internet. One could argue that it’s becoming the World’s Water Cooler. But they’d be wrong. The world has many Internet Water Coolers.

Facebook is the World’s Largest Water Cooler.

The Facebook Water Cooler started off as a brand of water bottles exclusively sold at college. It quickly became the favorite water cooler brand in the U.S. and has quickly become the favorite at all of the Internet’s international offices as well. After a redesign of the water cooler people complained that it released too much water too quickly, but eventually they got used to it. People do get really uncomfortable when they run into both their ex-girlfriend and their mom at the Facebook Water Cooler.

Twitter is the World’s Noisiest Water Cooler.

The Twitter Water Cooler is not the largest but is by far the noisiest water cooler in the office. This is the water cooler that people who don’t drink water hate having a desk too near, and put up signs outside their cubicle wall reminding visitors that there are people working, asking that conversations be kept to a minimum. The Twitter Water Cooler used to run out of water all the time but it’s been much better lately. It also has really, really small cups.

FriendFeed is the the Geekiest Water Cooler.

The FriendFeed Water Cooler is where IT support hangs out and bitches about everyone else. It has superior filtration and state-of-the-art cooling, and is more energy-efficient. In fact, it recently implemented new water reclamation from the air, but only a few people know how to use it.

Internet vs. the World

While there are many water coolers, for what’s happening in the world, Twitter is the one that everything on the Internet passes through. If there’s big news in the office everyone, including PR and HR, goes over to the Twitter Water Cooler to find out what’s up and then goes back to their water coolers to talk about it.

So some of you are rightfully thinking, “Tac, the Internet *is* the world.” Yes, it is. But many things in the world don’t rise to any significant level of awareness on the Internet. My wonderful wife spends more time on Facebook than any other Internet site. She gets news about what’s happening in our neighborhood, in our community, and in our friends’ and families’ lives. That stuff doesn’t make it on Twitter and you don’t need to know about it.

US Airways Flight 1549 Plane Crash Hudson in N...

But if a plane crashesa celebrity dies (or one allegedly dies), a nation revolts or your marketing campaign tanks, the Twitter Water Cooler knows about it. If you’re going to monitor only one thing right now, Twitter will get you 90% of what you want faster than anything.

Top Image via Wikipedia

Bottom Image by davidwatts1978 via Flickr

This article was cross posted on New Comm Biz

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