Twitter creeping into companies

A lot of web savvy folks don’t understand Twitter and question its value. I am not among them. Twittering whether its on Twitter on some other better network yet to emerge is here to stay.

So it was great interest I reads the IDG News Service story that is trying integrate Twitter so its reps can “track and interact with” customers. Whichever company figures out how to leverage Twitter will be a step ahead. Here are ones I think are on track with Twitter.

Dell Outlet which puts Dell deals out there has 209,821 followers. I’ve noticed they sparingly tweet so as not to spam all those followers. Twitter becoming heavy with spam is an ever-present danger. Dell has dozen of other feeds, but none come close to Dell outlet in size of its following.

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MFST) is just getting into Twitter with “MSWindows” and its mere 6,505 followers relative to the pervasiveness of Windows. But it’s a start. Twitter, of course, has a humongous following of 505,344. I started following it 60 minutes ago and have yet to get a tweet so it’s clearly careful about spamming the Twitterverse.

Facebook has 31,163 followers while Google boasts 207,290. Ford Motor appears not to have a twitter account while GMblogs, GM’s biggest twitter account, has 3,815. USX, the steelmaker, has an account but zero followers. Toyotanewsroom has 1,824 followers.

Okay, these are the extremes. It’s clear the Twitterverse is very young given all the people and companies that either are not twittering yet or are who and which are just beginning.

I assume and perhaps wrongly that when accompanied by the logo, it’s legitimately from the company. But who couldn’t download a logo and say they’re Ford when they are not? And who wouldn’t want to grab the Ford username and sell it back to Ford?

Perhaps marketing to legions of followers, while tempting and obvious, will not be the killer Twitter app. But if you followed Dell Outlet, you would expect to get Dell propaganda, right? The question is how much will Tweetsters put up with before removing a marketer?

What Salesforce is attempting to do is integrate Twitter conversations on a topic so reps could address a problem proactively. Or they could simply use Twitter to respond quickly to customer problems. did not have the demo on its web site so I was unable to dig into it much. Harvesting all data within a topic means the relevant Tweeps or Tweetsters have to follow each other.

Here’s the macro reason why I think Twitter is here to stay. There are millions of people who love pumping out short messages in realtime to their own personal audiences. That market is big enough for Twitter to serve and often they are the early adopters of key technologies.

Could folks tire of Twittering? I suppose so, but I doubt it – at least not in the near future.

The biggest danger now is the survival of Twitter itself. It says making money is secondary to creating a great service. However, it does says it wants to build Twitter into a successful, revenue- generating company.”

Eventually, but if it doesn’t figure out how to make money soon, it will run out. My bet is plenty of companies would stand in line to give it more.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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