Tweet, tweet, it's for the birds

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This article appeared in the June, 2009 issue of CRN magazine.

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Tweet, tweet, it's for the birds

According to the nephew, social networks are the answer to every question.

He's convinced nobody ever knew what anyone else was doing before Facebook and MySpace were invented.

He believes this, despite running up the equivalent of the national debt on his mobile phone every month. And of course, he tells us the latest social networking phenomenon is Twitter.

In case you just arrived from a near planet, Twitter is basically SMS for computers. Well, more like a CB radio version of SMS in reality, since your messages don't just go to one person, they go to everyone who can be bothered watching what you're saying.

Sorry - what you're tweeting. Gotta get with the program. The KGB and the CIA would have loved Twitter during the Cold War. Who needs to spy on people when they freely blab to anyone who'll listen?

Anyway, people who use Twitter to send messages, which are called tweets, are themselves called twerps. Oh, sorry, apparently they're called tweeps.

You decide. And the corner of cyberspace they inhabit is known as the Twitterverse, but not because it has anything to do with poetry.

All sorts of seriously famous people have declared themselves to be twerps.

But then, lots of celebrities started saying "10-4 good buddy" during the '70s, so that just proves that some people will do anything to get noticed.

And getting noticed is why the nephew brought the Twitterverse to our attention. He assured us that if we started tweeting, pretty soon the shop would be full of twerps, er . . . tweeps, who would become loyal customers because we're so cool. Uh-huh.

After investigating we discovered that Twitter is free, which is the kind of price Rabid Reseller finds irresistible, so we signed up and started tweeting.

After about a week of tweeting, the shop was still empty so we hauled the nephew into the back room to "please explain".

Now we get it. You need an army of followers on Twitter before you can expect anything to happen.

And the only way to get followed is to go around the Twitterverse and start stalking, er . . . following other twerps, er . . . tweeps.

After you acquire a sufficient following by sending out interesting or quirky tweets you can then attempt to harness your army towards some sort of marketing goal in the real world.

And you also need to learn the tweet lingo. BRB.

We had to follow about 10,000 others to collect 1000 followers, but we finally did it, and then we decided it was time to stop tweeting about the lack of coffee or what the weather was doing or who won the game or what was on TV or if we were even awake yet.

Time to send out some marketing tweets and wait for the cash registers to start tweeting.

We tweeted "Rabid Reseller would like to invite all our followers to our fantastic technology sale! We're selling brand new Core 2 Duo PCs for only $1000!"

And it worked! Within minutes the shop was bursting with punters, all desperate to grab themselves a PC! Unbelievable! The nephew has really come through this time!

Wait a minute. They're all saying we advertised the PCs for $100. How can that be? Say what? Each tweet can only contain 140 characters? Who decided that? Why weren't we told? Where's the nephew!

Kthxbai.

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