IT Wheat and Pop Culture Chaff


by Tony Kontzer

By this point, I'm pretty sure that you've all had your fill of reading and hearing about Twitter. In many ways, 2009 has been The Year of Twitter, with it becoming increasingly difficult to go a full day without hearing about the fast-growing micro-blogging service.

We've devoted the occasional post here at Know It All to considering whether Twitter offers business-technology value, but I believe that debate is about to be put to an end.

This week, I'll be attending the The Twitter Conference in Los Angeles in large part to get a sense of how much this thing is penetrating--or will penetrate--the business world. Lo and behold, I didn't have to go further than a perusal of the agenda and speaker list to get all the preliminary evidence I needed.

Sure, the agenda's littered with sessions about celebrity Twittering, refining your audience of followers, and, for the developer community, doing all sorts of cool things with the Twitter API. Likewise, the speaker list includes the likes of radio personality Dr. Drew, skateboard deity Tony Hawk and social media phenom Veronica Belmont, she of nearly 1.3 million Twitter followers.

But look a little closer, and the IT wheat starts to rise from the pop culture chaff. The agenda also includes sessions on things like using Twitter for engaging in "social CRM," and how nonprofits are using Twitter to support their causes.

Felipe Coimbra will introduce us to his Twtapps suite of simple business Twitter applications, which include apps for conducting polls, creating coupons, or writing posts that exceed Twitter's 140-character limit (the latter of which is a support tool that enables companies to provide complete responses to the growing number of customer queries coming via Twitter). Microsoft's Marcus Schmidt will describe how the software maker is using Twitter and other social media apps to help build the community of Windows users. And Laura Fitton, founder of Pistachio Consulting and co-author of the recently released Twitter for Dummies, will share how she believes businesses can be most innovative in their use of Twitter, Facebook and the like.

I'm expecting to hear a lot of big thinking about how Twitter will impact businesses of all shapes and sizes in the coming years, and I'll do my best to distill what I hear for all you Know It Alls. You can also follow my quick-take observations on -- guess what? -- my modestly followed Twitter feed throughout the two days I'm there. Hopefully, by the time I leave Los Angeles, we'll all have a little clearer picture of what Twitter will mean for business technology leaders.

At the very least, I can get Tony Hawk's autograph for my kid.


2 Comments for "IT Wheat and Pop Culture Chaff"

  • Tony Kontzer September 28, 2009 1:33 pm

    Thanks for the comment, Sphnier. You may be proven right, and Twitter may in fact be a fad that passes. But if so, it won't just disappear--it will be replaced by something else. Perhaps I should just start replacing references to Twitter with "microblogging"--the point is, this is an asynchronous communication medium that works on a lot of levels. Two of the least mentioned yet most important benefits in my eyes are that it's relatively maintenance free compared with email (i.e., no inbox clutter to contend with), and it doesn't require you to have a visible "presence", as with IM. The fact that not everyone Twitters (and in fact, most people don't, and many even disdain the idea) is not at issue. Not everyone runs Vista or uses virtualization or has dabbled in cloud computing either, but I don't think anyone would debate the IT implications of all of the above. Thanks again for keeping me honest!

  • Sphnier September 24, 2009 6:59 pm

    I agree with Tony Kontzer about his overview of the twitter phenonmena...except for the simple fact that this is still quite a techno-fad of communication for the web-enabled super-geeks of the imbedded and globalized realm of the web that I fondly call "Cyberville"... P.S. In conclusion & a 'bottom-line' truism is that NOT everyone 'twitters'. [cold case closed!] -s c n blogging

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