One: We’ve all learned to write in 140 characters

It doesn’t always make sense. But learning to express ourselves in just 140 characters has been the defining experience of Twitter for many.

Two: But also that images and videos matter more than words

For a platform that is so strictly bound to words and characters, it is the images and videos that make the difference. We know that Tweets with a photo or a video are much more likely to be retweeted, shared with a wider audience.

Three: Twitter makes everything more public

Most people will have learned that things shared on Twitter are public. It sounds strange to say now maybe, but the realisation that those words you type on your own can be seen by millions was a new thing for many. And something everybody came to realise sooner or later (hopefully after not too much embarrassment).

Four: So it’s great for hiring new staff (especially if you work in marketing)

We all know the perils of Twitter and other social media when looking for a job. But Twitter has helped me find some of my best hires. You get to follow somebody and what they do, think and say before you meet them. It gives you much more insight than an hour interview can.

Five: It’s not the number of your followers that counts

Twitter is best when it gathers people who share interests – unlike Facebook which is (broadly speaking about you and your friends). It’s about communities of shared interests, not large audiences. So the most powerful users might not have the biggest audiences.

Six: Add to the above your Klout score

Engaging with somebody aimlessly for the sake of improving an arbitrary number does not make you more effective at Twitter, and does not make you influential over other people.

Seven: Twitter is not the answer to all your insight needs

Social media listening promised so much (mostly from the brands selling platforms that do this). But it isn’t a free research tool. It is a great way of understanding how people on Twitter have been reacting to an issue, but it can’t give you a thorough set of insights. It’s too biaised in terms of the audience that choose to Tweet and what they Tweet about.

Eight: But it is a valuable barometer of how engaging a TV show or advert is

Work from Nielsen last year and from Twitter this year shows the role that Twitter can play helping to understand the potential impact of a TV show or advert. Recall of the advert or show is better when people are engaging highly on Twitter. More conversation during the broadcast suggests more engagement with the show overall.

Nine: And continues to be a powerful customer service tool

Twitter is really at home as a customer service tool – it has transformed customer service from being one-on-one conversations (typically by phone or email) to being a public discussion. This has forced brands to be more open in the way they respond to complaints and questions and to engage their customers more in dialogue. This has been a powerful impact of Twitter. And it continues to be an important role for the platform.

Ten: Finally, most people’s First Tweets were not their best Tweets

What do you say when you say something first. Most people’s First Tweets were a little reflective (“Hello World”). Or just plain boring.

Matt Rhodes

About Matt Rhodes

Head of Digital Strategy for work. Marathon runner and charity trustee for fun.

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