I use Twitter, but I don’t quite know what to make of it. Some companies are using it to monitor what’s being said about them. From BusinessWeek:
It’s not just audience size that draws brands. People who use the site are likely to hold sway over others. A single Twitter message—known informally as a tweet—sent in frustration over a product or a service’s performance can be read by hundreds or thousands of people. Similarly, positive interaction with a representative of the manufacturer or service provider can help change an influencer’s perspective for the better.
JetBlue, Comcast, and H&R Block are among the companies that recognize Twitter’s potential in providing customer service. For companies, tools such as Tweetscan or Twitter’s own search tool, formerly known as Summize, make it easy to unearth a company’s name mentioned in tweets. “Why wouldn’t you want to be able to take care of that person at the moment when it’s most important?” says JetBlue’s Johnston. The services are free, helping keep costs low.
It is a little bizarre to interact with brands via Twitter. I made an offhand, though positive, comment about Comcast and got a response Tweet from someone at Comcast within a half-hour.
I do think it’s kind of a sign of the times that companies take a “squeaky wheel gets the grease” approach to customer service, but I guess that’s what the world has come to. So get on Twitter, bitch, and get your problems fixed. That’s one way to use it.