What Twitter Learned… from Twitter

21 09 2009

Twitter This past Friday, Sept. 18 2009, St. Louis welcomed a special visit from a former STL native, Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter. Webster University welcomed Jack as a part of a speaking series to the discuss the impact of Twitter on communications and his role as a leader in the social media revolution. Jack gave a very candid speech discussing the genesis of Twitter and his goal to bring imediacey, transparencey and approachability to all technology systems. One interesting point Jack discussed, was that while he may have developed the communication platform, the use and the now implications of Twitter all came from the Twitter user base. He stated “A lot of what you see today on Twitter, comes from the users.” He then went on to explain that the ways in which people communicate on Twitter such as the @reply, re-tweeting behavior, and even the word “tweet” itself are all user generated. He stated that in many instances Twitter, as a company, was very reluctant to adopt some of these uses, but over time they have had to become very good at listening and editing. As Twitter continues its domination as an all-star social media platform, these points raise some very important marketing implications about the social web.


The popularity and widespread use of Twitter can in many ways be attributed to an embracing strategy that Twitter has adopted since its inception. Providing users with the technology, allowed individuals to figure out how to utilize the communication platform in their own ways, making it an incredibly personal experience. Listening to this burgeoning online community, allowed Jack and other members of the Twitter team to actually embrace these behaviors and build them into the technology. While marketers continue to utilize social media, one major strategy component continues to be stimulating user generated content and adopting customer ideas. Both Starbuck’s and Salesforce.com are prime examples of companies using this strategy. Twitter is no exception and is another great example of how embracing the online user community and adopting their ideas can lead to an incredibly successful platform or product. In most cases the online community will provide ample insight into their likes and dislikes. It is now the marketers responsibility to listen to these customers, adopt tangible ideas, and let users know that they are contributing to something greater than themselves. As the web continues to become more social, companies and brands must also become more social. This means listening and talking with customers to find out what they actually need and want as opposed to telling them what they need/want. Embracing customer relationships has become a clear fundamental principle of social media marketing and Twitter is just another excellent example of giving the audience control and running with it. 

See the whole speech here: http://www.webster.edu/jackatwebster/

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