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Twitter is 'an effective and inexpensive form of networking'


May 12, 2009 | Feature

It seems that a day does not go by without Twitter being mentioned at the moment and the social networking site is not only becoming popular on a personal level, but in the corporate world as well, as everyone looks for ways to attract more business in these recessionary times.

Everybody seems to be getting on board with the microblogging phenomenon, from celebrities such as Stephen Fry and Jonathan Ross to global figures such as President Obama, who is reportedly planning to create an account for the White House in an attempt to reach out to citizens.

In fact, Jonathan Ross was recently voted the most influential twitterer in the world, placed ahead of the US leader in 17th and Downing Street, which was in 12th.

Leading consumer public relations agency JCPR conducted the survey of powerful Twitterati, demonstrating just how culturally, politically and corporately significant the medium has become.

Last month, the events industry got in on the action, holding the first ever networking convention for sector professionals at the Sea Life London Aquarium, attracting 100 members of the Twitterati.

TweetUp was hosted by events consultant Mike Fletch and head of marketing at Merlin Events Peter Kerwood, featuring the launch of an online directory for the site, www.eventweeps.com, which is designed to help event industry professionals using Twitter to find each other.

"It was fantastic to meet so many of the personalities behind the Twitter profiles. It was interesting to talk with fellow event industry Twitterers and hear the stories of how Twitter has benefited their business and network connections," said Mr Kerwood.

"I was delighted with the response to the first TweetUp and that the inaugural event, the day after a long bank holiday weekend, attracted so many event professionals. I think it demonstrates the power of Twitter as a highly effective and inexpensive method of networking," he added.

Recent research by Neilson found that unique visitors to the social networking site increased 1,382 per cent year-on-year, from 475,000 users in February 2008 to seven million in the same month in 2009.

The survey also found that the largest age group on Twitter was 35-49, with nearly three million unique visitors, representing almost 42 per cent of the site's audience.

However, these figures only account for usage via personal computers and there are also many more people accessing the site via their mobile. In January, 735,000 people Twittered from their phone, with the average user accessing the site 14 times during the month and typically spending seven minutes tweeting.

Tim Houghton, managing director of New Media Intelligence, reveals that enterprises are seeking ways to leverage the technology for business purposes.

"In the UK smaller companies have already embraced Twitter and are using it to get a message out there, most large UK companies are not, but in the States almost all large technology companies, Dell for example, use it quite heavily," he states.

"They use it very much as a customer feedback tool. If they've been launching something or they want to speak to their customer base they will use Twitter to do so. So I think, just as with corporate blogs, its another way for companies to have a dialogue with their customers," he explains.

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