E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

From the blog

Social Networking – The Twitterverse Debates

TwitDir says that it is currently tracking 951,235 Twitter users. Yes, I know that for many other Web 2.0 applications available out there this sounds like peanuts, zero, nothing, zip, nada! However, if you come to think about it, having nearly one million end-users is way many more than what plenty of other applications would be aiming for. There is no doubt that Twitter is starting to grab more and more momentum as perhaps one of the most intriguing and wonderful social software tools available out there that helps people connect with one another way faster, whether we are talking here about knowledge workers, friends, family members, whatever, in order to share various different knowledge snippets.

In the area of Enterprise 2.0, we are seeing as well how more and more corporations are starting to make use of it, in order to break the firewall and connect with other knowledge workers, customers, business partners, etc. etc., with the end result of helping improve the already existing relationships or build / form new lasting ones. I am seeing that myself lately quite a bit within IBM, where in the last few days I have been able to connect with a whole bunch other IBMers who are starting to make use of Twitter in order to reach out beyond the firewall.

Yes, you may know already that we are experimenting, behind the firewall, with our own Twitter clone (Called BlueTwit), and perhaps I may be able to talk some more about it at a later time, since it is within my list of Top 10 social software tools to help me escape work related e-mail. However, there are still a whole bunch of us who are keen on breaking down the firewall and, at least, bring forward some of the different conversations outside in order to engage with customers and business partners, as well as other thought leaders in this space.

Still every now and then I keep bumping into people who keep questioning the validity of Twitter from a business perspective and although I do realise that most people who read this blog on a regular basis would not fall into that category I thought I would go ahead today and share with you some of the main reasons as to why as time goes by, day in day out, I am starting to rely more and more on Twitter as one of my main social software tools outside of the corporate firewall to keep in touch with colleagues, customers, business partners, thought leaders in the Enterprise 2.0 and Social Computing spaces and whoever else with whom I may share common interests.

Some time ago my good friend Ed Yourdon put together The Awesomeness of Twitter where he clearly stated a number of reasons, through telling a couple of anecdotes, on why Twitter is one of those social tools you just cannot ignore. Then, through Twitter, I got to find out as well how Dennis McDonald put together a very helpful blog post on how he is actually making use of Twitter in My Personal Twitter Rules So Far. We come pretty close to sharing most of the same rules, indeed! Funny, eh? Well, we actually never talked about them, but here we are both of us having very similar rules on how to work with Twitter (Although to me Twhirl rules!).

I am pretty sure there are a whole bunch of different Twitter related stories available out there for folks to digest, where its business value may have been proved over and over again. At least, Technorati seems to be thinking that way. However, I thought I would let you know about one particular blog post that another good friend of mine, Dennis Howlett, shared over at Social networking, IBM, Microsoft etc: the Twitterverse debates, where he captured, doing an incredibly good job, some of the conversations that a couple of days a bunch of folks, including myself, had in Twitter talking about social computing and its adoption within the corporate world; and discussed as well what could be done to break some of the barriers most of us may be facing at the moment.

It is a rather long blog post, but worth while every single line of it! What started as a single set of couple of comments here and there evolved into become a really fascinating discussion from people coming from various different companies, breaking our firewall, our organisational barriers, our wonderful differences, those well known timezone and geographical limitations and allow us to share our thoughts on that topic that we all are quite passionate about: social computing and its adoption within the enterprise. Yes, a unique experience, to say the least!

If you have a read of the blog post, at the very beginning, Dennis lists the group of folks who engage on that massive Twitter conversation. That would give you an idea of the variety and mix of the group and what we eventually talked about. Believe me, it is one of those blog posts that you will enjoy over a cup of coffee / tea on a rainy Saturday afternoon watching the time pass by. Priceless! And worth while a read!

So there you go! A bunch of really good stories that clearly prove the business value from Twitter and how corporations are going to benefit more and more by the day from making use of micro-blogging social software tools like Twitter. In my own personal experience, I can sense how IBM’s usage of Twitter is going to start growing exponentially, more than ever before, in order to reach out to, and collaborate with, customers and business partners. If you ask me why, I would probably say that the main reason being the superb Lotus Notes 8 plugin (Based on Eclipse) called TwitNotes put together by Mikkel Heisterberg and which is nicely integrated on the sidebar of the one tool that all of us keep using to check / process our e-mail: Notes 8.

Yes, that is right, IBMers would not need to leave their e-mail inboxes to keep up to date with what’s happening in the Twitterverse and still get a grip of what’s happening in that space. And I can see how you may be wondering … "Hang on for a minute, is Luis going to come back to e-mail again then, since he can now access Twitter from his inbox?" Well, not likely, I am still a big fan of Twhirl (As I mentioned earlier on) and will continue to use it just as heavily as I have been thus far, but it is rather nice to be able to quickly scan through e-mail to see how you are going to divert the public conversations into the social software tools and already get a sense of what is happening in Twitterland. Like you can see on this particular screen shot I took from my Notes 8.5 beta for the Mac:

Oh, and, finally, if you are one of those who is still pondering whether to dive into Twitter or not, because you are not sure just yet what the fuss is all about, you may want to have a look into one of the latest über excellent gems from Commoncraft; a 2’25” long video titled Twitter in Plain English put together, as usual, by the fine Lee and Sachi LeFever

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  1. Hi Vaughan! Thanks a bunch for dropping by and for the feedback comments! Very very helpful screencast, indeed, and although I am using a Mac as my default work machine, I think that plenty of folks on Windows would benefit from watching it quite a bit! Excellent stuff! Thanks a bunch for sharing the link to it over here! Very good!

    PS. Also for the Mac users out there, this would still be a worth while screencast to watch, since most of the basic processes are the same, including the installation flow, so you could tweak a thing here and there and off you go! … Twitter on!!

  2. hi Luis,
    yes Twitter is one of my most popular social networks too.
    Note 950k Twitter accounts, not users.
    eg some people have more than one or two accounts whether intentionally or accidentally
    some are businesses and services
    some are “placeholders”
    some are not active
    some are mock accounts eg do a search for Hilary Clinton
    so maybe, um 500k active users max?

  3. Hello Luis – Excellent post that is right on with what I experience at my company. I’ve just started following you (yankeesfan70) and look forward to engaging in the conversation. Checkout a recent post on my blog to see how twitter brings people together.

  4. Thanks a bunch, folks, for the additional feedback input! Greatly appreciated! @Jazz, you are right, I suspect as well that number would be a lot less considering how many folks have multiple Twitter accounts (I do), as well as business, organisations, news sites, whatever, wanting to dive in and having their own Twitter accounts as well. So, perhaps, we may be on the 500k, but I suspect it may be a lot higher than that. More on the 750k range, I would think. However it would be rather interesting to see how many unique e-mail addresses there are in Twitter as that would provide us a much closer and accurate number, I can imagine. Either way, I still think that even though the tool is rather simple to use and engage with, it doesn’t have plenty of people like most other, much more complex, social software tools available out there…

    @David, thanks a bunch for the feedback comments and for dropping by! Welcome to elsua!. Thanks as well for connecting through in Twitter. A few hours ago I went ahead and decided to follow up on Twitter, to keep the conversations going! Good stuff! I also read that blog post you referenced and it was spot on, too! Thanks for mentioning it over here!

    Another one that folks may well be very very interested in is this other one: Twitter Tools, Tweaks and Theories, where you can find an extensive review of what’s available for Twitter and where John shares some of the most helpful Twitter uses he can think of. Too funny, as we both identically share similar uses for our Twitter experience. All 8 points are just spot on!

    Like I said, an essential reading for those folks wanting to get started with Twitter and the wonderful world of micro-blogging! 😀

    Thanks everyone for the feedback thus far!

  5. More than the numbers, i would look at the way we could adopt the entire social computing toolkit, to drive change within the organization. I have recently logged onto facebook (ya, so i was hibernating), and i think its really cool, especially with the level of collaboration you would generate with apps being developed by people. of course, this may not work too well within the organization (how many guys in the office are going to write apps for the corporate facebok), but something we could explore?

  6. Microblogs are changing the world. Twitter is quite fine, but there are numerous variations of microblogging services at the moment.

    All important languages have their own microblog services, specialized microblogs are been launched about every week all around the world.

    Microblogs will remain, even if Twitter itself would die.

    It’s a pitty Yappd.com has died already…

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