Do you tweet?

July 16, 2008

I’m doing some research at the moment on new interactivity tools and finally got round to checking out Twitter.com, which allows users (Twitterers) to stay constantly connected with friends by sending and receiving short messages called Tweets. You can tune into someone’s random musings and subscribe to their Twitter feed. Kind of like listening in on a cross-line without speaking up (unless you want to).

Now, whenever I read about some new fandangly Web 2 toy, my usual first thought is: WHO’S GOT THE TIME! But once I get past my Gen X hang-ups, it’s always an interesting process working out what the attraction is and looking at how others are using it.

So far, this is what I’ve learnt and liked about Twitter.

  • As a writer I can get ideas: A lot of what the twitterers publish is predictably mundane but every now and then you stumble across a little gem which gets you thinking. Nice.
  • You can ‘follow’ someone you admire: I recently went to a seminar and heard an interesting futurist speak (Mark Pesce). He shared his Twitter address with the audience so now I can read what he’s up to and thinking, pretty much right now. And we have never even met.
  • Posts are typically very up-to-date: Unlike blogs and websites, a Tweet can be seconds old which makes you feel like you’ve really got your finger on some kind of ball.
  • You can use them in business: One of my London-based colleagues uses her Twitter account to source work contacts, business ideas and trends. She’s a smart cookie that one.

Do you Twitter? Find me at libbyvarcoe.

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Podcasting, vodcasting, video on the web, audio streaming.. blah blah blah… call it what you want but in a nutshell it’s all about watching and listening to stuff on the web (think you tube) as opposed to reading streams and streams of pages.

As a web copywriter you’d think I’d be slightly panicked, right? Wrong. Luckily enough I have a screenwriting Masters degree up my sleeve which is why I’m really excited that the Web is about to get seriously visual – broadband speed pending (insert bitch and moan about telcos/govt here) – because like any good performance, vodcasts need a great script.

So how does this apply to your business model? I know a lot of companies are testing the waters and getting great responses. I recently went to a seminar where Telstra told us how successful their internal web-casts have become. Apparently, staff would much prefer to watch the CEO say something via their handset than travel to another city to sit in a stuffy hotel ballroom and hear the same thing (who wouldn’t).

I think the sky’s the limit but the secret dear friends is TO KEEP IT VERY SHORT. User-drop out rates are just as high for video as they are for words.

Doing anything interesting in this space? Please do tell!

 

 

In the almost 12 years that I’ve been writing for the Web a lot has changed (and a lot hasn’t!). One of the things I really enjoy these days is getting to work with professional content strategists and online communications gurus who really know their stuff and can provide a really tight brief. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy helping teams who are a little in the dark and I often get to work quite closely with marketing teams who don’t have a heap of online experience, but are very keen to get it right.

Now, at the risk of this blog entry turning into an advertorial I think it would be inopportune not to mention the fact that I run in-house web writing training courses for companies (often using their own CMS) who have staff writing for the web – but who aren’t really writers. I think a lot of them are quite relieved when they get to spend a day really nailing their online copy and getting their heads around what it all means. We also usually have quite a few giggles as we deconstruct this whole ‘online experience’ thing. (Trust me, it can be very funny!)

If you’d like to know more about running a training course I’d love to hear from you. I love sharing what I know and I think I must quite enjoy the sound of my own voice or something.

 

 

 

I love it that blogs have gone from being daggy geek-things to legitimate business tools that even the big businesses are now doing (although it’s the little guys who are leading the charge, generally because they don’t have legal teams to contend with).

Although they require a smallish committment (you want to update a least once a week/fortnight) company blogs are a wonderful way to connect to your target audience, establish yourself as a leader/expert in your field, test out new ideas (services, products etc) among many other reasons. They also give you a good chance to clear your head and express a fresh thought which is always a good thing.

What I particularly love about blogs is that they bring an element of transparency into business talk. There are some wonderful examples of how rigid company cultures have been shifted based on what was coming in through the blog…

Are you running a company blog or thinking about it?  How has your blog changed the way you talk to your clients?

It would be great to know how others are pushing this very cool boundary.

 

 

I had an interesting question from one of my workshop participants recently that I was still pondering on the bus home. She was an older woman who brought some great insights to the youngish group. She asked: ‘Why do I always feel so hurried when I’m on the Web, even when I have lots of time up my sleeve to look and browse?’ GOOD QUESTION!

I think it has something to do with the enormity of the information at hand. Our unconscious goes into panic mode as we try and trail our way through the X billion pages looking for exactly what we want (which is why the ‘write for scanning’ approach is such a critical element to apply to your web writing).

How do you feel when you browse the Web. What does your unconscious say?

I’d love to know.