Twitter is for Grandads…
Tweet In a recent “conversation” (if you can call the blood letting from a stone that is often the process when attempting communication with 13 year old boys) I was told by a strongly opinionated ‘focus group’ – my sons and their friends – that Twitter is for Grandads.
It got me thinking. It didn’t take long to come to the conclusion that I did, indeed, agree with their point. Maybe not literally – my Grandad would have had a field day with Twitter and would have dumped it pretty early in his career as a social media trailblazer, simply because he only had 140 characters to play with – and that would not have been sufficient for the preamble – let alone his actual point!
However, it is completely different from Facebook, My Space, Bebo – any of the other forums in fact where huge numbers of teens and young people come together. Why? Well, in my experience Twitter is obviously not about connecting with friends – you don’t always know who’s listening and if you want to talk to a friend you’ll use Skype, MSN, Facebook walls, texts – even make a telephone call!! There’s the opportunity to broadcast your thoughts / location (if you’re not using Foursquare) / what you’re up to – that sort of thing, but it’s ungainly on that level. I wouldn’t want to make that my chosen way of chatting with friends, so why should the younger ones amongst us, for whom life actually revolves around the minutiae of their friends’ lives, see it that way?
Where Twitter comes into its own is as a medium to connect with new contacts – it could be those with similar interests to you, customers, consumers of your product or service, individuals or companies that want and need to know about your area of expertise, or even large corporations. It has become the fastest way to get up-to-date news. When news breaks out, it spreads across Twitter like a forest fire – there was a serious gas explosion at my sons’ school a few months back and it was on Twitter within 5 minutes of it actually happening – Twitter had more information for me than the Education department at the County Council (Bucks CC take note!) and even the police took a while to catch up. And we all know the role Twitter played in breaking the news (and in many cases supporting and promoting the people and their intentions) in the recent international riots and in some cases, revolutions. We were able to see photos and actual film footage from Egypt, for instance, in some cases, seconds after it actually happened.
My point here being – imagine if that were news about your business – a new product launch, a new video about a service you offer, a promotional deal you are offering… spreading like wildfire, across a gargantuan network of users sending 110 million+ Tweets a day (source : Forbes.com http://blogs.forbes.com/oliverchiang/2011/01/19/twitter-hits-nearly-200m-users-110m-tweets-per-day-focuses-on-global-expansion/)
And back to my original point – connecting with thinkers, industry leaders, news organisations and others with similar interests is not something teenagers generally seek out. So I’d say Twitter caters to an older demographic. For me, it is the leading forum for online discussions and conversations on business, branding, research, promotional, political & informational issues.
In recent studies in the USA, the 18-24 year old demographic who are normally the early adopters of social networks were the least likely to visit Twitter, while the 45-54 year olds were the most likely, followed closely by the 25-34 year old age group, and Twitter expects to grow its users to a billion by 2012. Your customers are on Twitter today, looking & listening out for info & news on the product or service you provide.
So – Twitter is for Grandads? Maybe it is, and for that reason I love it! It’s not crowded with teenagers sending out highly personal and meaningless (to the rest of us) messages, but it is full of fantastically engaging resource and expertise for and from the business community. And that makes it an interesting place for the 25-54 year olds who are our potential clients & customers – it’s a marketing goldmine ready to be unlocked with a targeted and intelligent Social Media Strategy with which Saucy Horse can help! Do you use Twitter for business? Are you a Grandad? Or can you help me back up my case 😉 Tweet