What may be thought of as a strange experiment was conducted recently in the bowels of RTE radio-land by @patomahony1. Six people were given laptops and connected up to their Twitter accounts and they took part in Twitterontrial; actually one of them was a Twitter newbie so he was there to take some convincing.
Basically it started with the six locked up tweeters being given questions they had to find the answer to via Twitter, ie all their Twitter followers looking up the answers on Google. Simples. Then they asked for photos of cats with another animal they wouldn’t normally be seen with. And on it progressed with more random photos, questions and discussion. They asked why we used Twitter – my answer was – “To chat to people, help people with any questions I can answer and advertise my blog and business sometimes”. Each explained why they used Twitter too and what they get from it. What was very nice towards the end was helping charities give a pitch as #twitterontrial was trending in Ireland and it was great exposure for any charities tweeting it.
This experiment was recorded for an RTE Radio 1 documentary that aired on 7th May. The podcast can be listened to by clicking here and I’d highly recommend that you do. It’s good fun, interesting and may explain why you shouldn’t disregard Twitter.
So what did the experiment prove? Something I’ve known for a while anyhow. Twitter is valuable – obviously if Google allegedly wanted to buy it for $10 Billion. But I don’t mean valuable for that reason. People who aren’t on Twitter don’t get it. Fair enough. I’m sure there have been lots of newfangled inventions that people don’t get over the years so they resist trying it.
There are lots of reasons why Twitter is so popular – there wouldn’t be 180,000 people in just Ireland using it if it wasn’t good surely? Twitter says there are over 200 Million accounts registered worldwide – so something must be going right with it.
Twitter is proving to be the fastest source of breaking news in the World. It is certainly where I hear about everything first. Just listen to the podcast and hear how @jenoconnell heard about the plane crash at Cork airport even before Dublin Airport Authority heard of it. I have been on Twitter since January 2009 and I use it for my news source more than TV or radio and certainly more than print. I heard it first on Twitter when Japan’s earthquake and Tsunami hit and when Michael Jackson died. Realtime sports results and even commentary during play is always prevalent on Twitter. Strangely enough I first heard about Osama Bin Laden being killed from my farmer neighbour as cows were being moved though. 🙂
You can meet new friends via Twitter – I certainly have. Just have conversations and chat to people and it will soon happen. When people start on Twitter they are daunted; they have no followers and feel like they are talking to themselves. Which effectively they are but it doesn’t take long until the followers and conversations are built up – see my previous posts for help with this. Watch the same programmes and tweet with people about them – personally I think this can be good fun as different views are expressed.
For companies it’s very handy for free advertising however too many tweets focussed on business is not good as people don’t want it rammed down their throat. If you’re subtle it can work well. In my view Twitter is more about personality and conversation and the rest will grow. I have picked up work via Twitter and mostly it has been from someone recommending me.
You can learn everything on Twitter. There has been many a tweet I’ve seen with someone in the know imparting information obvious to them but new to me, maybe in a tweet or a link to a blog. Not just that but the connections you make via Twitter can always lead to new horizons and picking someone’s brain. For example recently I‘ve been chatting with @outofhoursva and she has helped me with using Excel which I thought I knew a lot about already. It proves there is always something more to learn and this wealth of knowledge can be found on Twitter. I’ve also regularly asked on Twitter for help – especially for technical stuff which I’m useless at. There is always someone that knows and helps you. And I like to help too – if I see someone asking something I know the answer to then of course I will answer. It only takes a minute if that.
Of course there was lots of Twitter commentary moaning about the #Twitterontrial tweets – all those people needed to do was put the tag in their filter and the tweets wouldn’t have shown up any more to bother them – simple as that. I do that on Tweetdeck when there are lots of football tweets.
At the end of the day, or trial rather, I think it proves that realtime news, conversation and connections is what Twitter is about. You can also pick up information, publicise your business, blogs, events etc, and make friends. It’s NOT people discussing what they are having for breakfast or lunch or whatever. This happens but not as much as the non tweeters believe. Sometimes when it does happen recipes or restaurants are shared and that is very handy. 🙂
I think Twitter passed the Trial. What do you think?