What the Heck Is Twitter?

by Dave on October 15, 2009

Twww..What?

Unless you live in a technological cave, you’ve undoubtedly heard the word “Twitter” somewhere recently. Whether you followed Lance Armstrong (1.6 million followers) in the Tour de France, watched Stewart Cink (627,000 followers) end Tom Watson’s legendary run at the British Open or watched a CNN broadcast (2.4 million followers) in the last month, you’ve certainly been subjected to the estimated $48 million in free media that is promoting, explaining and introducing microblogging service Twitter into the mainstream. 

Don’t fault yourself if you know nothing about Twitter, however. The technology website Mashable recently reported that 69% of consumers don’t know enough about Twitter to form an opinion.

So what the heck is Twitter?

According to the company, “Twitter lets you write and read messages of up to 140 characters, or the very length of this sentence, including all punctuation and spaces. The messages are public and you decide what sort of messages you want to receive – Twitter being a recipient driven information network. In addition, you can send and receive Twitter messages, or tweets, equally well from your desktop or your mobile phone.

“When you combine messages that are quick to write, easy to read, public, controlled by the recipient and exchangeable anywhere, you’ve got a powerful, real-time communications medium. And that medium is turning out to be ground-breaking for users and businesses alike.”

That powerful, real-time communication has changed the way several beach-area businesses operate and market themselves.

“We use Twitter to let folks know day in and day out, what’s going on in the world of Dogfish,” says Mariah Calagione, VP of Marketing for Dogfish Head Craft Brewing in Milton. “While our website has beer descriptions, pub menus, event calendars an more, Twitter lets us connect with folks on a more almost intimate ‘sneak peek’ kind of level. We let them know what we’re brewing or packaging that day, what Dogfish events we are getting ready for that day,  who showed up for a tour that afternoon, or what great special our kitchen crew us putting out that afternoon.”

And it’s not just for business owners. Rehoboth Bandstand manager Corey Groll uses the service to promote his entertainment schedule, but sees another benefit as well.

“I use it to connect with other locals and other businesses who we would otherwise not interact with,” says Groll. “Usually we never speak with others in Rehoboth, as we are all busy keeping the town running. I always think it’s neat to hear people talk on Twitter about good times in Rehoboth, especially when they mention @rbbandstand.”

Whether you’re a business owner, a visitor, or simply a local who wants to know what’s going on, Twitter may just be worth a try.

This article first appeared in Coastal Sussex Weekly, July 30, 2009.

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