Entrepreneur, Explorer, Angel.

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26TH August 2011

Creative problem Solving - Leadership - Mobile - Timely - Uncategorized

The upside of disaster: good time to learn Twitter.

Tweet'Quake has different effects on different people

New York has been sandwiched this week between a) a quake that had people on the streets all afternoon Wednesday checking in on their phones, and b) the impending havoc promised by Hurricane Irene sometime this weekend.

All the while, I’ve been working on a previously planned disaster recovery plan with Mojiva HR to protect and inform our nearly 100 workers spread from London to LA. What struck me was the difference between last year’s plan and this year’s.

In a word: twitter. A year ago, we were still stuck on All-email, a DR sharepoint site, and some redundancies with text, etc. This year, we can do a lot of it with a tweet. The benefits to all that, far as I can tell:

  1. Twitter naturally appeals to social groups that communicate heavily via mobile and SMS; the teens and twenties. It is fundamentally an SMS bulletin board that you can post to and read directly on anything from a Mac to a mobile phone. You can even post to it and read it from FaceBook.
  2. For the same reason, it appeals to anyone who wants to establish an affinity group and listen in. As you can follow anyone (except those who deliberately opt for select privacy) it’s reasonably easy to set up any kind of group and follow it.
  3. Twitter can quickly become an impromptu info-sharing point, as happened in the California fires and the Chinese earthquake. Worked pretty well in Cairo Damascus, Tripoli and London. Hell, twitter works.
  4. You can use it as a real-time news feed because a number of News providers, including the BBC and CNN issue News bulletins as tweets.
  5. Finally you can aggregate everything relevant to a group or topic and quickly see and entire stream of whats going on in one page- online or mobile. It also works well with SMS/text.

The few drawbacks, far as I can see:

  1. Everything is out there. You own your mistakes later, but hey don’t we anyways.
  2. There’s plenty of irrelevant tweets out there that add no value. You just have to learn how to filter them.
  3. People (beyond early adopter geek types) are just starting to learn how to use the tool (see #2 above)

A few months ago, I wondered how any company could survive when most of its content was self-absorbed streams of consciousness. Two disasters in one week and I have realized twitter is a heck of a tool. for exchanging useful, fluid information. Bonus: it can also be pretty funny.

I tip my hat. Did not ever think I would.


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