What if you walked in to a room of say, a million or so people? What would you say? What conversation would you listen to?
Here's the thing - there's no microphone, there's no powerpoint, and everyone is talking at once. There's an odd thrill to having a conversation in a room that big, where anyone might pop in and listen - or talk.
But what if that room were a virtual room - not a room at all. And what if all those people were doing different things, living their lives and just giving random updates about what they are doing, reading, eating, whatever. - Now you have Twitter.
I've spent the last week or so trying to understand the value of this stream of Tweets (the short messages people enter on Twitter). What exactly can you do with it all?
1. Open an account (it's free) - it's the first step. Decide if it is a personal/professional/corporate "you" out there. This will effect your username and bio information.
2. Start searching. Go to http://search.twitter.com and enter some terms specific to your business - see what comes up. If you find a series of terms that work well, save them as a search so you can repeat - you can even send them to an RSS reader so they'll come up for you in Google or similar site.
3. See if people are talking about your company or product. What are they saying? Here is your chance to be a fly on the wall. Forget focus groups - these are real customers and prospects.
4. Start following people that interest you - see what they have to say. Don't be afraid to "unfollow" someone, it's not a "dis" like unfriending on Facebook.
5. Find items of interest and respond to the person's post. This will likely get you a few followers who are interested in what you have to say. Be honest, answer a question, give your opinion.
Congratulations - you've entered the world of Twitter. I'll see you there.
Follow me on Twitter if you like.