According to some sources, there are now around 3 million Twitter users worldwide. Indeed, based on current trends, this could hit 5 million by Christmas.
Like many people, I signed up for Twitter early last year – and then promptly forgot about it for another 12 months. Mainly because it seemed rather pointless and a pain to update ie you had to go to the Twitter website every time or set up your mobile phone so that you could post Tweets via text.
For some reason, at the turn of the year, I returned to Twitter again – this time because some nice new desktop client apps like Twhirl made the process of reading and responding to Tweets a lot easier. There had also sprung up a whole eco-system of Twitter related tools such as Tweetwheel that started to make Twitter look a lot more interesting from a PR perspective.
However, a few weeks ago, Danny Bradbury suggested trying out Tweetdeck. Like Twhirl, this is a an Adobe AIR-based desktop client – what sets it apart is that it neatly integrates a number of previously separate Twitter functions and displays them in a clear, columnar fashion. The closest I’ve yet seen to a Twitter dashboard.
For example, you can now keep tabs on not only your own friend’s Tweets, but track specific key words or hash tag searches across the whole Twitter community. And these are automatically updated when there is a new relevant Tweet. For PRs who want to keep a real time watch on specific trends and issues, this a great tool (come to think of it, journalists are already using Twitter as a real time research tool). You can also group friends to make it easier to keep an eye on related individuals (eg you could have a group for PR, one for journalists, one for clients, etc).
The Twitterverse is now actually quite a useful place to hang out these days. A combination of expanded numbers – and tools that make finding people and information easier – has given it a (currently) unique position in the PR 2.0 tool kit.
Couple this with the rise of excellent iPhone Twitter apps such as Twitterfific and Twitter looks like it has become a “must have” for the modern day PR.