Should you be using Twitter?

September 9, 2008

Twitter is a utility that allows you to send and receive short messages through a list of “followers” (you can “follow” people and they can follow you) – sort of like Facebook’s status updates. It’s often called “microblogging” – a type of blogging, but much less wordy, as posts are limited to 140 characters. There’s debate over whether Twitter has become mainstream – here’s an article from TechCrunch (April 29) about Twitter’s actual numbers, and an article from compete.com (May 15) about Twitter’s traffic. (According to Ivor Tossell at the Globe, the real proof that Twitter is mainstream is that Stephen Harper is now doing it.) And if you’re interested in getting started, check out this DoshDosh article on using Twitter for marketing purposes.

Call me behind the times – I tend not to be an early adopter, mostly since blocks of time playing on my laptop are few and far between – but I only just signed up for a Twitter account. I’ll let you know how it goes.

But the question here is, should your magazine/web-editor-in-official-capacity be “tweeting”? It probably depends on your audience, but it’s worth considering. Here’s an article (passed on by Corinna at Dream Job TK) about why book publishers should be using Twitter – and I think it’s relevant to any brand.

Twitter is great at driving attention. The end.

For a minimal investment of time, you can ping a heap of people. Why wouldn’t a book publisher want to do that? Truth is, most already do. Email newsletters blast-out to book readers from all over. Publishers’ feeds and podcasts do the same. Twitter is yet another great way to keep people engaged. The difference? It is two-way, but it is two-way with a twist — Twitter scales (at least on the user side it does :)).

She goes on to give some pointers to book publishers on using Twitter.

As for current users, here are some magazines I found on Twitter:

Ms.
Maclean’s 
Boston
BC Business
Wired
This 

(Tell me what Canadian mags I missed in the comments.)

Do you use Twitter? Is it a fad, or here to stay?

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