Does Twitter really matter?

To Tweet, or not to Tweet? I'm still trying to figure this out myself. I am experimenting with it, and you can check out my page here.

What the hell is it?
Its a form of "micro blogging", that you do from a phone or PC. "Micro" because you can only use 140 characters to reply to the question "What are you doing now?". You sign up to then have the "tweets" of people you follow sent to your own personal page.

In just over a month, 45 people have signed up to mine. Still a long way to go to reach the 1.46 million who follow Obama! The Top 100 Twitterers are here. Some are people. Others are brands.

Does anyone use it?

Oh yes. Twitter had 32 million users in April 2009. What is mind boggling is the growth rate, shown below (Twitter is the dark blue line). This was up from 19million in March! It has more users than the New York Times online and LinkedIn.

Picture 2

What I don't get is that some people follow literally thousands of
Twitter sites. I was chuffed that Marketing Magazine were following me,
until I found they do this with over 4,000 sites. This means they get
probably 4,000+ Tweets a day coming in. So I guess they don't read
them, unless they have a full-time person trawling the comments?

The risk of Twitter being a fad that people don't keep using is backed up by analysis showing that the retention of users is much lower than for Facebook.

Does it matter for brands?
I think the jury is out on this. But, I have found some good examples of brands using it well. Here are examples from Search Engine Journal. Click here to check out the sites themselves.

Use 1: To update customers of the company deals and coupon codes:

    DellOutlet posts recent refurbished Dell computer offers. The company estimates they have made several million pounds out of it according to Sky News.

    2. To offer an alternative customer support option:

      offers a friendly Twitter customer support; what I personally like
      about their profile is the real person photo instead of the company

      Comcast Twitter Customer Support

      3. To get closer to customers:

        Via their Twitter profile Southwest Airlines run non-official, entertaining discussions with their customers.

        3. To react to customers’ feedback:

          answers their clients’ feedback in an entertaining tone and also
          updates their Twitter listeners of the current deals and discounts.

            4. To offer an alternative subscription option:

            ATTNews updates their Twitter-followers of the news published at the site.

            5. To post company news:

              Samsung has created a Twitter account dedicated to mobile phones and posts both the company (US department) and product news there.

              6.To promote the corporate blog:

                Kodak Chief Blogger both posts the company blog updates and discusses them with the company customers.