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Good, clean fun: but what is Twitter for?

Internet Ask even the most avid Twitter fan to explain the benefits of their obsession, and it will take them considerably more than 140 characters to come to no good answer.

For all the obvious popularity of social media, it's not always easy to see, well, why? ;-(

I recently attended an event that set out to explain how organisations should use Twitter. The beer was cold, the people beautiful and the information... flimsy, at best. I left with only two firm impressions:

  1. Twitter 'experts' are ironically verbose.
  2. Given the above, it's risky to allow tipsy people to live Tweet to a big screen. LOL!

Perhaps Twitter and other social apps are nothing more than a bit of fun. (As a scoop, this is no Watergate, I accept...) There may something more to the trend, however.

When scrambling to describe Twitter, Facebook et al to the uninitiated, most commentors focus only on the ability to broadcast. ‘How' you can post pictures and status updates, but never ‘why'. Which is dull.

(I work in ‘old' media - getting people to talk about themselves is far from hard.)

Social media gets interesting only when you stop shouting - and start to listen. Scout around and you can learn exactly what customers are saying about you, and your brand. More disruptive: you can quickly find and band together with like-minded people.

Take 'Gamers Voice'. A nascent Facebook group formed by MP Tom Watson to speak for video game fans in the wake of the latest Daily Hate-led moral outrage, within days it had 14,000 members.

Whether the group can achieve anything from such rapid-fire foundations is moot, but it's worth watching (IMHO). As was the reaction to Jan Moir's Daily Mail (them again) piece about Stephen Gately. Tens of thousands of people inspired and able, via Twitter, to complain. >:(

Is this a good thing? It's difficult to say. Quick consensus is rarely pretty. But it does give a platform to the unwashed hordes and that, at least, is interesting.

Disagree? Let me know at Twitter.com/MattJEgan.

Follow PC Advisor at Twitter.com/PCAdvisor.

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