Micro blogging has gained so much traction in 2008 among hipsters, techies and even business professionals. For anyone unfamiliar with the concept, Wikipedia defines micro blogging as this:
Micro-blogging is a form of blogging that allows users to write brief text updates (usually 140 characters) and publish them, either to be viewed by anyone or by a restricted group which can be chosen by the user. These messages can be submitted by a variety of means, including text messaging, instant messaging, email, MP3 or the web.
I've recently become an avid user of the most popular micro blogging site, Twitter. Users of this service create a very brief profile, build a network of their contacts and friends and 'follow' their feeds to receive updates on their contacts updates throughout the day.
A set limit of 140 characters or less for any given message, forces users to keep their messages, or 'Tweets' to a short and manageable length. Users have the ability to target their Tweets towards any of their followers, both on the public forum and via private messages.
So, is micro blogging really viable as a business communication tool? In my opinion, absolutely! Here are a few of the benefits that I have reaped since opening my Twitter account:
Real Time Snap Shots Professionals have busy days. That's a given. Micro blogging allows followers to continuously capture snap shots of your contacts' daily activities .
And because of the manageable nature of of the message length, updates can be sent and read in a matter of seconds. As compared to the amount of time it takes to update a traditional blog post, or even reach out to a contact via email, this concept becomes a very attractive options to the 'movers and shakers'.
On the side of the readers, micro blogging allows users to consume small amounts of relevant information, including links to other websites, articles, blogs, et al., without the need for a significant time investment. I've personally found that while I have to consciously block out time every day to read up on my favorite online information sources, I keep my Twitter page open all day long, checking it a few times per hour for updates.
One thing that has stood out to me occurs every morning when I log on to Twitter for the first time of the day. Users typically announce their log on to the network with a good morning message. Other users typically reply to the greeting welcoming them into the day's discussion.
Open dialog between large networks of people continues throughout the day, and the benefits become evident.
Here's a case example. Yesterday I was scheduled to attend a meeting for a start up technology company I am working on. I was going to be a few minutes late, and no one was answering their cell phones. From my iPhone, I used the Twiterlator Mobile application to access my account, and Tweet my current location and estimated time of arrival. All of my group members all responded immediately, which saved me the embarrassment of an explanation.
And finally - would you like to follow me on Twitter?