What the Tweet?

From Comedy Central’s Daily Show to CNN, it seems like most people are a flutter about Twitter.  And since I’m not one to shy away from social anythings (online or in real life), I’ve put my hand in and dabbled quite a bit with it.

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For those fellow Cute Geekettes who are still a little dubious about this whole Twitter Craze (and truthfully a little confused about why it’s even relevant or important) there are a multitude of people who are quick to tell you what it is.  As for why it’s important, however, a recent article by Michael Arrington really sums it up nicely.

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His blog post today explains that everyone should start thinking about Twitter as a Search Engine.

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My first reaction when I read the headline was confusion.  For me personally, I think of a search engine as a nifty little Internet butler that brings me what I need.  Picture of a dandelion for my slideshow?  Check.  Information on the weather in Madagascar?  Done.  How is Twitter a search engine?

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However, as he puts it:

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“More and more people are starting to use Twitter to talk about brands in real time as they interact with them. And those brands want to know all about it, whether to respond individually (The W Hotel pestered me until I told them to just leave me alone), or simply gather the information to see what they’re doing right and what they’re doing wrong.”

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I’d go a step further and think of it this way: whereas MSN, Google, Yahoo! and other search engine sites are the vehicles that take us down the Information highway, Twitter is a way to move us down the alleyways of personal neighborhoods and thoughts.

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In other words, if I were a corporation I would use Twitter to see the Right Here, Right Now conversations that are a flutter.  If I were in the midst of an event I’d be curious to see the simultaneous reactions of people around me (or in general, reactions from the crowd).  If I were to just use it for basic personal purposes, it would be a way to tell my friends where I was, what I was up to, or even be the first to share the latest viral video.

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If I were a corporation, individual, or just an Internet junkie, I’d use search engines for basic, static information – whether it’s searching for the latest posts and trends, analysis of the latest Mavericks game, or answers on Wikipedia.