Twitter: Building character, by limiting it
After what most people, considering the intensity of the situation, would refer to as an intervention, my friends made me sign up for an ID or ‘handle’ on Twitter. And to begin with, I was quite reluctant. I frankly didn’t care much for the bits of information and humor that trickled down my timeline. But as time passed, I began to understand and soon, marvel at the beautiful concept that is micro-blogging. Today, thanks to a tuned list of twitterati and brands, publications, news networks and TV shows I favor, Twitter has become my ace source of information. Another heartening fact, simply attributed to my weakness for people with good wit, is the sheer abundance of folk out there who wax eloquent but yet, remain briskly terse. Shamelessly plugging in my own tweet a few months back – “Twitter builds character, by limiting it.”
But let’s cast aside these silly, shallow purposes for now. Information on twitter, with the implicit 140 characters limit, is pretty much packaging at its best. Considering how it has taken over Facebook as the most instantaneous source of news, its brevity seems tailored to be assimilated within the fleeting attention span that web behavior claims to exhibit today. Transcending platforms with significantly greater ease than Facebook on account of its inherent simplicity, Twitter appears to be the preferred realm of social media by more and more brands. Twitter’s mode of communication is quite linear as interaction with the brand is as simple as a direct message or a reply. But even better, is Twitter’s viral nature by means of retweets. Between news updates, offers, competitions and a good laugh, retweets and direct feeds make me a lot less guilty about the amount of time I spend online every day. In fact, it’s enriching to be honest.
Constantly active on both, Facebook and Twitter, I do have a habit of sharing articles, links and YouTube pleasantries whenever possible. With the advent of the ‘Tweet’ button alongside Facebook’s ‘share’, I find myself using the former. Maybe I just feel less guilty about the fact that I occupy much lesser space in their feed with something that may or may not interest them! I guess I justify Twitter being a bit conscientious that way.
Right. How about we get a bit serious and look at a few examples on how Indian brands use Twitter.
Since September 2008, MTV India leads a staggering 381,000 followers (I would quote the exact follower count. Useless though, considering it would’ve increased by the time you read this), touting themselves as the TV channel our moms warned us about. In line with the brand’s tone, the tweets pack attitude and punch, along with information. They also are constantly seen to be replying to tweets addressing them. With a tweeting frequency of around 6-10 times a day, their topics range far beyond music, to include Bollywood and Cricket. I must say, between music, bollywood and cricket, they’ve covered the holy trifecta for a large chunk of their target demographic. Effective indeed.
Herding north of 342,000 followers with their instantaneous news updates, NDTV is probably the best source of news within the country. Their updates, understandably brief, manage to include all necessary facts and figures that one can’t afford to miss out on. With a link to a detailed article following most tweets, there’s little reason to be left aloof when one follows @ndtv. Since May 2009, their presence on Twitter has been responsible for many an informative retweet amidst desi and NRI twitizens.
Since April 2009, TATA Docomo stays true to their tagline ‘Do the new’. Feeding over 43,000 followers and counting, their updates unlike other telecom service providers go beyond troubleshooting and responses to customer queries. TATA Docomo constantly includes fresh tweet-worthy content such as contests and exclusive offers, thus giving their tweeps something to look forward to. As active as 20-21 tweets a day, these guys have really established their online presence.
I would plug in plenty of other Indian brands that are currently flourishing on Twitter. But considering I have a word limit and so does subtle endorsement, I really shouldn’t. Having said that, other up and coming brands that have gracefully embraced Twitter’s immediate, viral nature include ClearTrip, RedBus, Zomato and ICICI Bank to mention a few.
One thing seems sure; Twitter seems to be increasingly recognized as the most potent channel within social media itself. Because brands, while communicating with greater efficiency, also redefine their online persona. A subtle, yet undeniable new era of online reign awaits those capitalize on Twitter. And I know that this is just the beginning.