In my usual early acquirer fashion, I started using Twitter a long time and have delighted in receiving classic tweets such as "Pardon me boy is this the Heathrow Express?", "Gazing at the ocean. Looking for a kettle", and the classic "Riding the Tube like a mofo."
The stress was very much on the ambient intimacy that Lisa Reichelt identified. The reaction was one of delight, wry amusement or an excuse to grab a coffee/beer. But now, hot on the heels of the rise of the verbose super users, we're inevitably getting the guides to corporate tweeting.
Tara produced a comprehensive one yesterday, but I fear that a lack of restraint on the part of companies who read her words will ruin the delight of Twitter and backfire on them. The technology is only the medium and any company using it cannot afford to forget that Twitter is something more than that to its users and no doubt a different thing to each of them.
The strength of Twitter is its "one to many" messaging ability, but from a marketing perspective the "many" have to want the message and even if thye agree to follow (i.e receive messages from) a company, there is an implicit level of incoming traffic that they will not tolerate. The marketing danger here is that the combination of the ease of sending the short message form and the flow/stream aesthetic of Twitter will lead to abuse of that permission. Because of the limited size of the Twitter page, such behaviours will quickly become spam of the worst kind.
The smart strategy is far less complex. I want companies to have a Twitter account where I can reach them and, to their credit, some companies are already doing that. If I have an issue with a company, I want to be able to pull a very quick reaction from them. In an age of web 2.0 information overload, I don't want to be bombarded by them with unrequested offers and items they think might amuse me.
When we market our company's products/services, we have to remember that part of the job is to to be the individual's advocate. It's all too easy to serve the company's needs and forget about the customer. By way of example, I hope that Tara forgives me for pointing out the unfortunate coincidence of events that occurred today.
No sooner had I read something in her guide that worried me
Rickrolls or other fun internet games - this shows you are a bunch of fun and has people trying to do the same for you. Spreading as many internet memes as possible is good.
than I checked my Twitter and read her tweet with which I was in total agreement.
We've all done it. The customer is not different to you and me. They are you and me.