Business Week just published a "CEO's Guide to Microblogging" that may help with that task. The package of articles consists of:
- How Companies Use Twitter to Bolster Their Brands
- Getting Intimate (with Customers) on Twitter
- Podcast: Microblogging for Businesses
- Slide Show: CEOs' Take on Twitter
- Slide Show: Brands That Tweet
- AMC's Mad Men: Running Amok on Twitter
- Debate Room: Twitter Distracts and Annoys
All in all I think it's a useful package of articles to have out there. It doesn't necessarily break new territory for readers of this blog or listeners to "For Immediate Release" but it gets it out into a "mainstream" publication like Business Week that does get a good bit of reading from the CxO / management crowd. Taken all together, it does show how some businesses are starting to use Twitter and microblogging in general to help in their work. For that alone, it's good to have out there and should go far to help explain what value there is in this wacky Twitter thing that we are all participating in. :-)
A WORD ON 'The Debate Room' PIECE
As you'll note, I'm the author of the "CON" side of the Debate Room piece "Twitter Distracts and Annoys". It was a bit odd in one sense due to the "double negative" aspect of my part. When some folks learned I was writing the "CON" side of a Twitter article, they were a bit surprised... but the CON side of this piece was actually the PRO-Twitter position. You can see that in the comments to the piece as well, where folks talk about being "pro-twitter"... which means they support the CON side of this Debate Room piece. Fun, fun, fun.
The piece itself was interesting to write. Readers will see obvious similarities between that piece and my articles back in December 2007, "Top 10 Ways I Learned to Use Twitter", and April 2008, "Revisiting the Top 10 Ways I Learned to Use Twitter". The largest challenge, of course, was to reduce all that writing into a piece of about 200-250 words. I rapidly learned this fact:
Writing a 200-250 word article is the journalistic equivalent of '140 characters'.
Darn tough to do.
My first version came in around 450 words and, to me, read quite well. But as followers of my Twitter stream knew at the time, I had to slice that by half. I got it down to around 325 words... sent both versions to the BW editor who ultimately edited it herself to bring it in around 290 words or so. Overall, I was quite pleased with how she edited the piece.
ADDRESSING THE 'PRO' SIDE
In reading the entire piece, I find that I do actually agree with several points of Ilise Benun's "PRO" side of the debate. Obviously I disagree with her outright rejection of Twitter. I think that's a bit short-sighted without understanding the value that can be found in Twitter. Especially if she is with a marketing organization.
However, I definitely agree that Twitter can be abused in a rude way. As several people noted in the comments, there does seem to be an increasing degree of "rudeness" in our society. You can see it all around us with people who talk loudly on their cell phones in restaurants... or in theaters or movies. Should we really require those announcements at the beginning of events reminding people to turn off their cell phones? Shouldn't that be common-sense? At a movie theater, should they really have to display a screen reminding people to be quiet and not talk to each other during the movie?
Aren't those things called... um... "good manners"?
Likewise, it certainly can be rude if someone you are meeting with is constantly checking their BlackBerry for email... or tweeting or reading tweets.
But those aren't issues with the tools, they are issues with the PEOPLE!
We do need to be respectful of each other... to pay attention to the people we are with... to have that real contact Ilise mentions. But that's a choice we all make. Do we take that cell phone call when we are in the middle of talking to someone? Do we spend the meeting looking down at our blackberry sending out email? Do we spend the time we are with one viewing and sending messages on Twitter?
It's our choice - and it's up to use to choose wisely.