According to Wikipedia, "Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows its users (also known as twits) to send updates (otherwise known as tweets) which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length."
Perhaps after reading the above, some of you are probably still asking, "What exactly is Twitter?" and "How does Twitter work?" I think before we get into a discussion on how Twitter will be valued in business communications, an overview of the service should be done.
Basically, what Twitter does is it asks a question to each Twitter user: "What are you doing now?" The Twitter user just answers that question and essentially provides updates on that question throughout the day or whatever time frame they deem appropriate.
These updates are then broadcast to various people who are subscribed to the Twitter user. So whenever the Twitter user updates his Twitter posts, each and every one of his or her followers will get the update. In a sense, using the Twitter service is similar to blogging, except that it is more simplified and quick to use.
In contrast, the regular type of blog is a log of what an individual may be up to but in a more detailed format. Being able to send and receive updates through web browsers, instant messaging, and e-mail is one of the key advantages of using Twitter as a mini blogging service. Moreover, coordinating one's cell phone to the activities of Twitter, will allow for greater public exposure and greater flexibility which is vital to an entrepreneur or small business owner.
As the use of Twitter becomes more incorporated into the mainstream, I think communication through the Twitter service will have much more of an impact in business strategy and building. The area where I think it will have a larger impact is in Marketing.
The ability of being able to send and receive updates at a moment's notice is incredibly effective and has the potential to appeal to a large mass of people in a short time period. One form of advertising that can be used is in-feed advertising.
Sponsors can give advertisements to one person who then will send it out to the mass of friends and various contacts that subscribe to the Twitter user. This same method can also be used through the use of text messaging. It would be up to the Twitter individual or sponsor to create the settings that will determine the length of time between advertisements and the content of each of the advertisements.
To be effective and successful, however, the advertisements should not saturate the network and should not be too detailed or complex.
In sum, the point of the Twitter service is to get exposure for a product or service through more of a personalized broadcasting service, because nowadays it is more important to achieve critical mass than revenue in the early stages for a startup or small business to be successful in the long run.