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.