Twitter – Too Legit to Quit

hammerTwenty years ago I could never have fathomed that superstar rapper/dancer M.C. Hammer would have something interesting to impart to HBS students. But this past Wednesday he packed the house and held the audience rapt with his insights about social networking media and how it is reshaping the entertainment business. True to his name he was a smash hit but these days he tweets to drive home his point .

Twitter 101

Hammer is an early adopter of Twitter (http://twitter.com/MCHammer) the social networking and micro-blogging platform that mashes texting together with blogging. It’s like texting because you have to squeeze your big ideas into 140 characters per message. It’s like blogging because you are sharing your big ideas with the world. Messages are called “tweets” and people and organizations sign up as “followers” of each other. Hammer has over 90,000 followers who hear from him daily as he shares snippets of his day running the gamet from business to personal items and everything in between.

Who Cares?

The question that greets every Twitter user upon login is “What are you doing right now?”  and although it’s broadly interpreted, a lot of tweets are just that, people describing what they are doing in that moment. But many others use their 140 characters to ask probing questions or share links to articles, videos and music. Groups spring up around topics and themes and flurries of tweets ensue creating a rich and insightful discussion – sometimes. Frankly I am still trying to figure it out but after hearing Hammer, and signing on to follow close to 100 twitterers at the suggestion of HBS Associate Professor Andrew McAfee, I am feeling more and more like there is substance here. I’m thinking of ways that I can use Twitter in my job by following and listening to our students to hear about the things that interest them or irritate them or to learn where they get information. I even asked members of the Twitterverse (cute huh?) to give me their ideas for this blog.

Am I sold on Twitter? Not entirely but I am sold on the idea the people like engaging with each other and they like to voice their opinions and ideas and in a time and attention-starved world 140 characters can go along way. So I am going to stick with it for a while and see where it goes.

My next tweet – “Hey, check out my latest blog entry about Twitter!”. You’ll see it at http://twitter.com/bckenny.

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3 Responses

  1. I follow Hammer on twitter. If you give it a shot you’ll probably be sold bro. Its revolutionized my social networking.

    –Terrace Crawford
    http://www.terracecrawford.com
    http://www.twitter.com/terracecrawford

  2. Nice post. I am still fairly new to Twitter but I like it. Especially when people are linking to new blog posts, etc.

    I have had Hammer on my Twitter since the beginning. Always enjoy his Twitter updates. I really need to get on there more often though!!!

  3. I have become a big fan of Twitter. I believe it is a great tool for PR. For example @globeevents (Boston Globe) posted tweets all weekend on the Travel Show they run. It is a great tool for business.

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