Twitter – the penny drops!

I’m a fan of most things Web2.0, not just for personal use but as business tools.  Over the last four years or so I’ve enthusiastically embraced Wikis, IM (Google Talk), RSS Readers et al. I could see the benefit and attraction of social network sites such as Facebook even if I’ve not partaken as such. Heck, I’ve even joined the ranks of “those who blog”.

But one aspect of this Web 2.0 stuff that had until now not really grabbed me as particularly useful is micro-blogging i.e. Twitter, Jaiku etc.

This morning two things I read brought home to me the benefits of this technology, particularly in a business environment; the penny had dropped!

The first was this post  “Ambient Awareness – The Cloud Killer-App” where this caught my attention …

To me, this is the essences of situational awareness. An ability to sense and understand your environment and the actions of others in that environment. Clive goes on to explain that sociologists have found that “weak ties”, such as those created by twittering, greatly expands an individual’s ability to solve problems.

Then I read that the winner of the top prize at TechCrunch50 is Yammer, yet another Twitter look a like, but this time with a difference; it’s designed to allow communication only between those within the same organisation.

Now that could be very useful, especially for organisations with a dispersed workforce or comprised mainly of teleworkers.  Such a tool could act not just as a means of keeping people in touch and aware of the general happenings with a company but could also be used a “lite command and control” tool where messages are used as a replacement for time-sheets and progress/activity reports.

As email was (and still is) the “internet as a wide-area-network” killer-app, micro-blogging may very well be the killer-app of the “always-connected internet”.

And in the spirit of sharing that is Web2.0, here’s some other things I discovered this week…

  • OutWit, a very useful Firefox extension if you need to automate the “harvesting ” of data (tables lists, photos,mp3s) from the web.
  • xlUnit – a unit testing framework for Excel VBA, now that’s something I could do with, OK it’s not quite there yet, but you can follow this Grumpy Old Programmer as he rolls it out.
  • Reverse Snowflake Joins Online, if you have a nasty bit of SQL that you need to visualise in a graphical format, then this online version of Alexandru Toth’s open source Python tool may be just what you need.
  • Quantivo, customer behaviour analytics in the cloud. If you’ve lots of sales data, but no in-house datawarehouse.
  • And if you’ve no sales data because you’ve no sales, then check-out Sales 101.
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4 responses to “Twitter – the penny drops!

  1. Tom

    Nice post – been lurking here for a while 😉

    As a sometime tweeter I too didn’t really get “it”. But…. I’ve made several connections over Twitter that have proved useful in a business context.

    Not come across yammer before, but thanks for the tip – I’ll be checking it out.

    Martyn

  2. @Martyn

    In the article I linked to I liked how …

    “Laura Fitton, a social-media consultant, with over 5,300 followers on Twitter, brags that she can solve any problem on Twitter in six minutes!”

    … if businesses could tap into (or more likely, create) networks like that, then we really would have a killer-app.

    The problem with Yammer for those of us on this side of the pond, is the lack of integration with European SMS services. (It was a real PITA when Twitter stopped supporting UK & Ireland SMS postings).

    Tom

  3. @Tom

    I also found the IM integration particularly useful until it bombed out – twitterspy and ping.fm are ok but not as “immediate” if you know what I mean.

    Still good though – a UK based contact is currently updating me on the uk digitalmission in NYC – which is nice 🙂

    Martyn

  4. @Martyn,

    Ahh, another penny drops! You’re Martyn behind the http://blogs.severndelta.co.uk/ blog. I’ve been “lurking” around your gaff too. Ships in the night and all that …

    Tom