Have you checked out Twitter yet?
It's being called a micro-Blogging platform. I'm not sure that is the best way to describe it. Simply put you can send a text message (SMS length) either through a website, instant messenger or mobile device to your own customized Twitter page (mine is here: Twitter - Mitch Joel). From there you add friends (like MySpace) who are also using Twitter. The point? To tell people what you are doing now (for instance, take a look at my Twitter widget on the left which shows you my latest posting). It's another way to let other know what you're up to... right now.
I've seen everything from people saying goodnight to technical questions being asked - it's a real hodge podge of way-too-personal information. When I read some Twitter postings, I feel like the individual writing them has put a self-imposed Big Brother into their life. That gave me the creeps, but after reading the New York Magazine Article, Say Everything (which I Blogged about here: New York Magazine And The Must-Read Article, Say Everything), I'm starting to look at Social Media as a very different animal.
While I am not using Twitter to let people know what I am doing right now, I am using Twitter to post thoughts as they come to me. This can be everything from a great quote I just heard at a conference to something I might be watching on TV to a general thought that I don't want lost in the complexity of a full Blog posting.
Twitter is like an IRC backchannel into my Blog (for those who want some wholesome extra goodness). I am also starting to respect those that are keeping with the intent of Twitter and the core idea that jumps off of the pages of the Say Everything article: how we define privacy is not how young people define privacy. This means that what is private and what is public is changing at such a frantic speed that we can hardly see the difference.
Why is this happening?
As consumers take more control of the media, these individuals are building tremendous personal brands and the people who are connected to these personal brands want more connections and information. Twitter takes this idea and brings it down to the core: what is that person doing right now. Imagine how many millions of people buy magazines to read about their favorite celebrity. Now imagine if those celebrities were using Twitter. Micro-chunks of information that keeps everybody in their loop.
Are you starting to feel like you need to unplug... permanently. That's the point: young people don't see this as an intrusion. They're proud and happy to share. This is going to have huge ramifications on Marketers as these young people mature and run businesses the same way.
We're all Blogging in hopes that transparency and authenticity leads to conversations and communities about our brands. Isn't what Twitter is doing the highest form of this conversation?
If you're still trying to wrap your head around Twitter, try it out. Either you'll feel comfortable telling people what you're doing right now (and reading what others are up to) or you'll wonder why anybody would care whether or not you were going to pick up your kid at school or baking a pie for dessert.
Regardless, it's a new channel that people are diving on and, as with everything, it won't be long before Marketers get involved and figure out how to use Twitter to connect more effectively with our consumers.