Tweet me – What is Twitter? And what is Yammer?

First of all, happy new year everyone! I hope 2K9 brings everything you wish for.

Just wanted to write a short post on twitter before I head off on my new daily run around the block (one of my new year’s resolutions – to get fitter!).

Anyway, my brother brought this up today – what is twitter? I’ve had a few other people ask me as well. It’s basically just short updates like facebook status updates. You can have 140 characters in there such as “I’m going to walk the dog”, or “Obama will win Ohio”, etc… You can’t post pictures or tag friends. You can only leave the updates and you can respond to them. Because you can update it from your phone, its always constant updates. Links can be shared but they are in tinyurl formats (shortened forms of websites so that it can fit within 140 characters).

Again, just like RSS and Reader tools, I don’t believe its widely used here in Australia. Its only for those early adopters, working in marketing, journalism, or those social butterflies (you know who you are). Its more popular in the states and for those with internet on their mobiles.

I believe it was made by some former Google engineers. Its quite a neat application, but it hasn’t really caught on. People can follow you on twitter and you can follow others. Its stemmed from the facebook status updates, and the idea of staying connected with your friends even when they haven’t logged on or sent you an email. Check out this video, twitter in plain english for a better idea. There’s also an interesting article here about top 10 uses of twitter and why you need to be looking at twitter (from a marketing standpoint).

Personally, I don’t use it that much. I only update it once in a blue moon, though may start to use it more in 2k9 to see what other digital marketers are up to and ongoing trends in the industry. Some companies have started using it like Comcast and Telstra, to see what customers are saying about them and to respond to customer complaints.  I don’t think its appropriate for all companies to be using it, but they should monitor it just like they monitor what is happening on the internet (i.e. what consumers are saying about them via blogs, their search results, online forums, etc..).

What I like about twitter and facebook updates, is that they are bite size snackable updates (you can get a lot of social information at once). From a corporate point of view, you better have something interesting to say in 140 words or I’m not going to bother reading it 🙂 If Jetstar had one and constantly updated it with sales offers, yes I would follow you!

This is my twitter account, check me out (best yet, follow me)!

At work, we use a tool called Yammer. This is a offshoot of Twitter, like a corporate version. I don’t think its related to Twitter – they’ve just given it a corporate use for it. Essentially, its the same thing but its not open to the public like twitter. We have created a work group in Yammer, and only employees have been invited (like a facebook page for only employees).

Everyone provides updates of what they are up to, their moods, thoughts and so on. It’s pretty cool. Its a good way for our manger and the other staff to see what projects people are working on, who’s having a shitty day 🙂 , and to have conversation around the office. 

Example 1:  Someone had a problem with twitter, they didn’t know how to reduce the amount of email notifications they get. So my colleague posted the problem on Yammer, and I responded within a few seconds.

Example 2: We had a lively discussion between a few staff about having a weekly status meeting. Someone suggested it, then it was fine tuned via 10 – 15 Yammer posts, and then viola! We had the meeting the week after.

Example 3: I needed to use the printer for 30 mins to print out some urgent stuff.  So I posted a message on yammer to stop all printing for the next 30 mins.

The thing I like about Yammer is that it reduces the amount of email that clogs up our email inboxes. It’s like having a blog and everyone’s contributing ideas and suggestions. I’ve actually gone as far as downloading the desktop app, so its like instant messenger rather than a webpage I log into. We also use MSN as well for private and quick conversations. It hasn’t replaced it, but its an easy way to speak to a lot of people.

I’m out like instant messaging,

Matt Ho

Social Networking will eliminate email inboxes

I was thinking about this exact article content today. Whenever I first jump onto to the internet, I immediately check my facebook account and see what’s new and then Google Reader to see new articles fed to me via RSS and then my various email accounts.

But Facebook and other forms of social networks have started to eliminate email inboxes. We no longer swap email addresses with new people we have just met – its now “facebook me” , or “add me via facebook”. Before that it was “give me your number” and then “drop me an email”.

I’m using less email today and more of facebook and other tools like twitter, LinkedIN, yammer to see what people are up to. It’s much faster to do some microblogging via my facebook status or tweet it, then to drop an email to 20 people.

The other thing is, I don’t see why more transactions are completed within facebook or other social networks. To me these are like portals to the internet, where one day we could be doing banking transactions, searching, reading news, applying for jobs, buying goods and services through them. I’ve read that some people are trying to develop this, and it makes sense since we spend so much time within these networks anyway.

But it’s still going to be a long time before social networking eliminates email inboxes. Consumers and business people still prefer email as a form of communication. It is a much more trusted than blogging. Something like 20% of consumers trust blogging, though that percentage gets up to 40% amongst actual bloggers. I do believe that social networking and in particular RSS will replace email, as more people use these tools and the next generation arrive into the workplace.

Personally, I subscribe to about 15 different blogs / newsletters via RSS. I did it initially because I wanted to try it out, but its so awesome! I get regular updates and the newer stuff moves to the top. If I dont read the older stuff that’s ok, and I can quickly scan all the articles that I want to read. RSS isn’t widely used amongst friends and colleagues, but it should be!!! Instead of clogging up your inbox, it actually frees it up.

I’m out like email,

Matt Ho.