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Twitter, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

14 February, 2013 - Source: Kindred

Sinead Gray


One of the most common questions I get asked of Twitter from people from outside of the comms industry or during training sessions is: but what’s the point of it?

 A romantic analogy seems appropriate as Valentine’s Day falls today – you need to learn to love Twitter rather than expecting love at first sight. So here are just a few of the reasons why Twitter holds a special place in my heart.  

It’s changed the way we consume news

The royal baby. Whitney Houston’s death. The raid on Osama Bin Laden’s hide-out. All examples of stories that broke – or were announced - first on Twitter. Twitter is where news happens now, it’s an exciting place to be and traditional news outlets have adapted to this, tweeting news in real-time and sourcing stories from Twitter feeds in newsrooms.

It’s a powerful tool

In just six and a half years, Twitter has become hugely influential. And when used effectively, it can be a force for social change - as evidenced last weekend when Rupert Murdoch indicated that he may bow to pressure from Lucy Holmes’ @NoMorePage3 campaign and take topless women off page three. The campaign is an excellent example of how one Twitter feed, 12,000 followers and a change.orgpetition can make a big difference.

It’s what you make it

When Twitter celebrated its fifth birthday in 2011, marketing activity focused on encouraging users to “follow your interests”. New users will often join Twitter but remain inactive because they don’t ‘get it’ (40% of Twitter accounts have never issued a single tweet).

Twitter allows you to look beyond your immediate circle of colleagues, family and friends to others with shared interests to you – be it football, politics or plane-watching – but users need to be prepared to put the work in upfront to populate their home feeds with people and brands who can inspire, inform and entertain them (otherwise there won’t be anything to ‘get’).   

It’s the future of customer service

More and more Twitter users are using social media for customer service, a trend that will only grow as more consumers realise the benefits, and more brands get the framework in place to deal with customer service enquiries. For those enlightened, Twitter can offer you the chance to get an answer to your question quickly (no endlessly waiting on the line to an 0845 number required). 

Brands that are good at it (there are still a lot that aren’t) add real value to their customers’ experiences. It can turn a negative into a positive - train companies like @Virgintrains and @londonmidland are an excellent example, offering real-time, honest and helpful advice to delayed passengers. It can also reinforce positive feelings about a brand. I’m a fan of @CadburyUK’s feed because their chocolate is delicious. I’m also a fan of their community manager who replied to my concerned tweet at 8.30pm one evening to reassure me that - no, the mould for Cadbury’s caramel eggs hadn’t got smaller this year.

And sometimes it’s just good fun

Out of all the social networks, Twitter definitely has the best sense of humour. Who can forget the hashtag #susanalbumparty? Where else could we get regular updates from inside 10 Downing Street through the eyes of a cat? And who doesn’t enjoy the jokes that inevitably follow the news headlines? (Tesco boss walks into a pub. Barman says why the long face? #burgergate).

Sometimes Twitter just provides a bit of light relief, which is never a bad thing.  

And if I’m preaching to the converted then join in; what do you love about Twitter?

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