News Analysis: Of the dozen or so friends and family members in my social circle that have planted digital digs on Facebook, not one of them either gets or cares for Twitter. Those that grok it think it's stupid. This is astounding to me. As I write this, Twitter fanatics are questioning my choice of company.
While Facebook is largely a world of communications and content sharing between people who have granted access to their social graphs (add 5 cents to the Mark Zuckerberg phrase coinage fund on my behalf), Twitter is a social medium that wears its tweets on its sleeve, publicly for all to see. This weekend, a perfect storm of events bubbled up to underscore what these are such heady times for our favorite microblogging service.
Twitter took center stage for Black Friday shopping deals, and we have the New York Times to thank for its expose on the deal busting madness. The Times piece sums up the value Twitter holds for commerce, both brick and mortar and click and mortar:
"A Twitter post can in theory be seen by millions, and thus packs more punch than an e-mail message or a phone call to a store. The big retailers are all scrambling this Christmas to come up with Twitter plans. They are designating tech-savvy employees to respond to the posts, sometimes by providing up-to-minute inventory information from a sales floor, for example, or by offering help with some balky gadget."
For example, after buying a new navigation system at 6 a.m. on Black Friday, Laura S. Kern of Los Angeles could not figure out why it was not giving her traffic updates. The Times said she sent a message to Best Buy's Twitter account and within five minutes not one, but two Best Buy employees responded with fix-it advice.
Twitter help is not limited to just advice on consumer electronics. In Bloomington, Minn., Mall of America used its Twitter page to tell consumers two of its parking areas were at capacity and that their best bet was to park near Ikea. That is useful info, folks, delivered in real-time to your computer or mobile phone.
Meanwhile, in Orlando Tiger Woods Friday night trashed his Cadillac Escalade under unknown circumstances that look increasingly suspicious, and TechCrunch swooped in to wield Twitter as yet another weapon in the crusade versus old media.
The story basically says old media bad, Internet media good. Sure, the tenor of the piece is suspect (is there anything so trite, tired and pointless as new media denigrating old media for being a little slower?), but the point is well met. TechCrunch's MG Siegler wrote:
"Thanks to Twitter, thousands of people had access to this information about 45 minutes before it appeared on CNN or ESPN, the 'worldwide leaders' in news in their respective fields."