Tuesday, May 12, 2009


On top right corner of Hindustan Times today there was an interesting announcement: Now you can follow HT on Twitter.
Twitter, is not yet as famous as Facebook or orkut in India but then it is not something in the league of those social networking sites. Twitter is something like only the “what are you doing” section of FB. You have 140 words. You can write what you are up to so that your friend know or may be a post a miniature blog which will be relayed to the people “following” you (in other words your friend list).
But in case of Twitter, the usages have surpassed the normal Facebook Time Pass stuff. Reason? It can be done through your mobile phone also. You just need to send an sms and the message will be ‘Tweeted’ where all your followers will be able to read it (through web or mobile).
It is this simple fact that Twitter involves Mobile Phones, that it has the great potential in the Indian Market. Internet doesn’t reach everybody but 300 million people in this world are connected by mobiles. And that makes it a powerful tool.

Journalism: Twitter is being widely used for Journalism. It can be used both for collection and distribution of news. There have been instances where people know about any incident before the conventional media even hears about it. It adds a new dimension to the aspect of Citizen Journalism.

Travel: It could work something like this. You are travelling for the first time to Mumbai. While visiting the gateway, you feel hungry, so you tweet, asking about any good place nearby. Someone on your followers list gets it, replies back: Try Café Mondegar or Try Bade Mian behind Taj. Sounds improbable? Well. Not really. There was an initiative [link] by UK Guardian wherein they decided not to plan anything but just getting feedback using twitter.

Politics: How wonderful it would be if Twitter can be used by to let know of politicians about the development work they are doing for the constituency. British PM Office is there on twitter and is used it to constantly update people. In this case, mostly may be journalists but it can turn out to be a very good way to be in touch with people. It may be limited to a very less percentage of population but well no harm trying!

Immense opportunities for Marketers. All your viral campaigns can be run through twitter (obviously you need to keep things interesting on a continuous basis for people to follow you)
These followers can also help you in test marketing any new products or give live feedbacks to any new initiatives. Of course, getting people to follow you is a difficult task if it is known that it is being done for selling something. It has to be more informal and friendly. Even if you can market it to a select group of followers who have their network of spreading the word, your work is done. As Seth Godin says, "The cool thing is that now, everyone has ten times as many friends as they used to. The social graph online is a fascinating, exponential factor in growing the list of people who might be willing to hear what you have to say (once).” [link]
By the way, I am on twitter at: http://twitter.com/sidharthbedi

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