Every once in awhile, someone hires a great advertising company or has someone within the organization who is able to sell you something you already have. Twitter is the latest example.
You know the types of products I mean. Let’s take AOL, as an example. AOL convinced people it was the only way to hook up to cyberspace, and with its huge marketing campaign to send diskettes to everyone all the time, it dominated the market with something that already existed and was better than AOL.
On the Web, this whole idea happens over and over. First, people had personal sites. Companies created user friendly interfaces so you didn’t have to know how to code pages or how to FTP, it took care of it for you. Nevertheless, blogs were born, basically selling the same thing, but fresh packaging. Then that wasn’t good enough. You had to be on My Space, then that was old and Facebook was born. With cell phones carrying text messaging, then pictures, then videos, people demanded a way to send everything to their blog/MySpace/Facebook page. Mobile blogging was born and existed happily for years. And people didn’t want to sign up for newlsetter updates, so RSS came around so you got the latest without going to sites or having to give up your email address.
Now Twitter is the new fad on the block, convincing people that with all this communication going on for years, you aren’t doing it right unless you do it with them. And it’s working.
Last year, I set up a blog for our vacation. I updated it live from my phone with text posts, pictures, and video. I told all my friends and family, including people we knew from one forum who were coming along and those staying at home. Even with reminders that it was live, I only got a few of them checking the site. Even when I videod some of them having dinner and asked them to say hi to the people at home, they looked at me like they had no clue about what I was saying.
This yea, they are all a “Twitter” about sending live posts to people at home and how this “new” technology made it possible. When I pointed out it already existed, they told me I was fixated on one vs the other, and then procedeeded to tell me at great lengths how Twitter was better.
- Because it’s faster: somehow, addressing your text message to Twitter is quicker than addressing it to your blog. Don’t ask me how, because I don’t see it either.
- They say every cell phone that can send text messages can Twitter, but these cell phones can’t send text messages to a blog. Or Flickr. Or YouTube. I know what you’re going to say: “Yes, they can.” Don’t bother. I’ve said it multiple times and they still tell me how it can’t.
- People don’t have to go to your blog to see what you posted. The fact that people can click on the RSS button on your blog, and get all the updates through their email software, iGoogle, Live Bookmarks etc doesn’t seem to count.
- You can include LOTS of people at once on your text message. Of course, cell phones have this ability already without Twitter; friends of mine are always sending messages through one address. My phone that’s 1 year old has groups you set up for each number; I can text all of them, but shrug.
- Twitter will update all your other sites. Um, so will my blog. So will Flickr or whatever else I want.
- People at home are part of the fun: I did that last year before Twitter existed. Less than a handful cared.
- One search term in gets you everyone’s pages: uh, that’s called Google Alerts. Google tells me when anyone posts an update to Twitter, search engines, blogs, websites, newsgroups, forums……
- People can contribute more than they used to: Doesn’t sound like it. Sounds like people just didn’t know they could.
So it still sounds to me like we have another case of people being sold something that they had in their pocket already, but you can’t get them to hear that. They have their AOL diskette and they are thrilled.
Well, you can’t fight that kind of mentality, I’ve learned that lesson. Some bloggers are joining in so they don’t lose their audience who are moving that way. I don’t plan to because I don’t have an audience like that; if people stop reading the blog, I’ll just shut it down. No biggie. Right now, I don’t see a reason to do something cell phones and the web already do.
I’m sincere in wishing the Twittering crowd well. For example, since so many of our friends who we’re meeting in Florida are going to post to Twitter about the trip and so few went to my vacation blog, there’s no need for me to do one this year. So if you are interested in seeing what’s happening in Fla then, check out Twitter for the live posts; you’ll find a lot of information there. When it’s over, a lot of others will post pictures to Flickr and movies to YouTube as well as blogs around the web. You’l probably see us in a few of their pictures!
PS: I had created a Twitter account when I thought I needed it for a friend’s blog. I just tried to delete it and got a message saying they had disabled the Delete Account ability for awhile. Why, how very Microsoft of them. LOL!!