If you’ve heard all the hype but are still not convinced there’s any real point to Twitter, Shel Israel’s book called Twitterville may be a good place to start.
It’s written in the same easy to read style as Naked Conversations, his book on blogging which he co-authored with Robert Scoble.
Shel describes how Twitter started out as a way for the Odeo team to keep in touch with their software developers, how the idea quickly caught on amongst the staff and their friends, and how the team successfully launched Twitter in March 2007 at South by Southwest (SXSW) on a shoestring budget.
He then goes on to offer plenty of practical advice for businesses who want to become respected members of the Twitter community. And through numerous examples and interesting case studies, he demonstrates WHY companies need to be involved. His examples include business, government, non profits and personal branding. He’s very encouraging, and does a good job of demystifying Twitter.
For those who have been on Twitter for awhile, you’ll enjoy reading about some of the great Twitter stories:
- @JamesBuck, a University of California photojournalism student and new to Twitter, who tweeted the single word “arrested” after coming to Egypt to photograph the food strikes. Word spread on Twitter, someone contacted the U.S. State Department, and within 24 hours, Buck’s government had intervened and he was released from jail.
- @JKrums (Janis Krums), twenty-three, of Sarasota, Florida, who was on a ferry near where US Airways Flight 1549 landed in the Hudson River, and took the now famous photo.
- @cathybrowne, who while sitting at her computer in Silicon Valley, advised Portland media that @JeanAnnVK (Jean Ann Van Krevelan) who she followed on Twitter, had been stuck onboard an American Airlines flight in Portland for several hours without reprieve, waiting for a break in the weather before taking off.
- @JessicaGottlieb, a “mommy blogger” who was offended by a Motrin ad targeted at new moms. #MotrinMoms became the top Trending Topic in Twitterville that weekend and the controversy spread to other social networking sites and mainstream media before Motrin became aware of it on Monday morning.
- @scottmonty, chief social media officer for Ford, who held off a mob of misinformed Ranger fans and deftly averted a PR crisis.
- @ConnieReece, now chief social media officer for New Media Lab in Austin, Texas, who used Twitter to raise tens of thousands of dollars for cancer patients through the Frozen Pea Fund
The Global Language Monitor recently announced that “Twitter” was the top word of 2009 based on its annual global survey of English words and phrases that appear in the media and online. Twitter came in ahead of, in order, “Obama,” “H1N1,” “Stimulus” and “Vampire.”
As a communications tool, Twitter has gone from zero to ten million users in just over two years. Twitterville is a great way to learn how you can best jump onboard and become part of that conversation.