~ A Guest Blog by Stephanie Lutz
College of Communication student and member of Lambda Pi Eta ~
Social Media has become a way of life for most of mainstream society which were once limited to “extreme” users are now a daily activity for many individuals. The explosion of something on the Internet is rapid and hectic, spreading like a disease, or “virally”. The process of social media is awe inspiring and the future of this tool and way of life is just beginning. Five years ago, social media was not what it is today; imagine what it will look like in another five years.
One of the current most talked about social media technologies is Twitter. Twitter is a simple concept, quick short bursts of a thought only 140 characters long (including spaces). Though Twitter may have begun as a simple way for users to “tweet” their thoughts, it has changed into a mechanim for new uses including cause platforms, business ventures, promotion, news, and other personal gains for the user. Celebrities use twitter constantly to promote themselves and gain new fans. Companies and corporations use Twitter for news and enticements about their company, and for creating brand imagery with tweets.
Major corporations use Twitter as their branding puppet. The newest trend in Twitter evolution is the sponsored or promoted “tweets”. This is when a user is looking for tweets about a topic they have a few at the top that are paid advertisements. In Social Networks that matter, it is said that people of academic, business and political backgrounds all use social networking as opportunities. They make the propagation of ideas. The links between the users are not necessarily proving that they interact, and the hidden social network is where the viral spread of ideas or trends starts (Huberman et al.). Companies are creating Twitter accounts to generate buzz about their products or services. Travel companies, such as airlines and hotels use Twitter to promote and maintain their brand and image. The hotels in Las Vegas use tweets to promote their upcoming events and guest stars. Car companies start conversations on Twitter, about their cars to enthusiasts. Marvel, the comic company, talks directly to fans about news of their favorite characters. Other big business corporations, like the airline JetBlue and media provider Comcast, deal with issues customers are having around the country (Van Grove). This process is better than advertising, companies are talking directly to the customers they are trying to reach. Users follow only the brands and companies that they use, like, or are interested in, therefore when businesses tweet they are listening (or reading) with eager attention. It is to be imagined that this form of promotion and advertising is going to go much further in the future.
The simple idea of posting a tweet, a nonsensical thought or idea in 140 characters or less, has evolved and changed so many ways. Companies and corporations are using Twitter to talk directly to their target consumer. It is a new way of advertising that is highly effective in theory. Other brands are using Twitter to garner brand image, buzz, and even help customers with problems. I feel that the changes in the idea of social networking and microblogging, such as Twitter, are only in the infancy stages. The future is going to be more connected, smarter and the Internet is hopefully going to further streamline the mass clutter it has garnered.
Huberman, B., Romero, D., Wu, F. (2008). “Social Networks that matter: Twitter under the microscope” Cornell University. Retrieved from http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/0812/0812.1045v1.pdf
Poulter, S. (2010). “Twitter finally allows ads-in the form of ‘promoted tweets’ at the top of search lists.” MailOnline Science & Tech Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1265609/Twitter-launches-paid-advert-tweets-promotes-search-lists.html
Van Grove, J. (2009). “40 of the Best Twitter Brands and the People Behind Them.” Mashable/Business. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2009/01/21/best-twitter-brands/