As much as I hate to say it, Twitter has become a crucial and valuable communication tool. For months, I’ve primarily seen the “micro-blog” service as a forum for exhibitionists to randomly brag about their unexceptional lives (yes, even you P. Diddy). But recently, and especially throughout the protests in Iran this past week, Twitter has proven it can be more than that.
With Twitter’s help, the Iranian people have been able to circumvent the Iranian government, which had blocked most access to Western media, and provide reports to the world about their disputed election and the protests surrounding it. The U.S. State Department even asked Twitter to delay planned maintenance so these reports could keep coming, and more than 20,000 people started following tweets from @TehranBureau and others.
Should Twitter be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize if protests bring about change? No. Will 140-character tweets replace journalism as we know it? Probably not. There is still much only traditional journalism can provide, but Twitter has shown that modern technology has become increasingly democratic and information can spread quicker than ever – whether you want it to or not.
Can businesses benefit from having news spread quickly about them? Sure. Should businesses be concerned about their consumer’s opinions being shared with the world at the click of a mouse? Absolutely. Chances are, consumers are already talking about your company, so you should consider the best way to join the conversation. If your company is thinking about creating a Twitter account or corporate blog, check out the NST Blog White Paper for advice and best practice suggestions.