Monday, June 22, 2009

Tweedle-Dee, Twitter-Dough ... Dell Cashes In

Unless you have completely avoided turning your television on, or, did so, sticking your fingers in your ears, and screaming "LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA", in order not to hear any news, you are hip to the incredible promotion of Twitter, for the role it is playing in the Iranian Revolution.

We mentioned it Saturday, how "CNN has been on-the-case (albiet, doing mucho reporting on posts from Twitter, Facebook and others). Perhaps we need to come up with a new code, being, if "RT is "Re-Tweet", that CNN has been engaged in "RBRT" (Rebroadcasting Re-Tweets)."

Today, SiliconValley.Com picks up on it;

Unrest in Iran raises profile for Twitter

Twitter is suddenly in our face, from the front page of The New York Times to places like Twitterfall, a tweet-search site whose users have turned their logos green in support of Iranian reformist Mir Hossein Mousavi.

For protesters and their global supporters, privately held Twitter is a free, real-time and nearly censor-proof way to organize, inform and inspire one another. The Iran protest effort is already being called the Twitter Revolution.


Twitter officials didn't return calls seeking comment about its business plans or mushrooming traffic — recorded 19.7 million unique visitors in May, while some estimates put the monthly number much higher at 30 million — or the State Department's request that the company postpone its system maintenance last week to keep the tweet-tap flowing.


Co-founder Biz Stone pointed that out in an interview last year with the Mercury News.

"We took it beyond text messaging," he said, "so that information could be delivered to anything — to IM, to your computer, to your cell phone. Then exposed enough of our technology and infrastructure so that other developers could build onto our message platform."

Stone's comments then about Twitter's potential uses as an organizing tool for both protests and disaster relief now seem prophetic.

"It's the huge numbers and the instant nature of it," he said. "For a shared event, something happening in the moment, Twitter is the perfect tool and people are using it to move as a group."
All fine and good, however, there is another revolution brewing, that is bound to produce crocodile tears on Madison Avenue.

Dell Says It Has Earned $3 Million From Twitter
These days, lots of companies are talking about their “Twitter strategy,” but few have figured out how to measure what amassing hundreds of thousands of followers on Twitter does for their businesses. Dell has shown that it can go directly to the top line.

Dell said Thursday night that the company had earned $3 million in revenue directly through Twitter since 2007, when it started posting coupons and word of new products on the microblogging site. In the last six months, Dell Outlet earned $1 million in sales from customers who came to the site from Twitter, after taking 18 months to earn its first $1 million. Dell has also earned another $1 million from people who click from Twitter to Dell Outlet to and make a purchase there.

Dell joins companies like Starbucks, JetBlue and Whole Foods as one of the most active corporate Twitter users. “It’s a great way to fix customer problems and hear what customers have to say, it’s a great feedback forum and it leads to sales — how can you miss?” said Richard Binhammer, who works in Dell’s corporate affairs office and is active on its Twitter accounts.


Dell also announces company and product news and talks directly with customers, responding to complaints or asking for feedback. There are about 200 Dell employees who talk to customers on Dell’s Twitter accounts, from a gaming expert to a server expert to members of the chief technology officer’s staff, Mr. Binhammer said.

For example, as I wrote in an article on the various ways people use Twitter, Dell heard on Twitter that customers thought the apostrophe and return keys were too close together on the Dell Mini 9 laptop and fixed the problem on the Dell Mini 10. Now, the Dell Mini product development team is asking around on Twitter for new ideas for the next generation of the computer.
I have to suspect, ad agencies across the land, since seeing this, are trying to conjure up plans, on how they can charge their clients hundreds-of-thousands, to millions, of dollars, to design and implement their "Twitter campaign".

Will we someday see a runner (perhaps a bankrupted, disheveled ex-ad-agency person), charging up the aisle with a sledgehammer, hurling it into a giant, jumbotron-sized screen of Twitter (and, it smashing in exactly 140 pieces)?

Link: '“1984

It's fairly certain, that 2010, will not be anything like 2009, at least in Twitterland ...

Bonus Twitter Riffs

MG Siegler: Twitter Is Down: 15 Alternative Things To Do

Will Leitch: How Tweet It Is ... Sure, the Twitter guys still have no idea how to make money off their fabulous invention. But for now they are living in a dreamworld of infinite possibilities, maybe the last one on Earth

Rio Palof: Twitter switch for Guardian, after 188 years of ink ... Newspaper to be available only on messaging service ... Experts say any story can be told in 140 characters

Consider This A Public Service

Roland Hedley, Star Journalist

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