FEW PEOPLE WHO USE TWITTER to cultivate with a mass audience actually achieve personalised synchronous engagement with those who follow them. That's not a real issue because of the time zones that separate people who have flocked to Twitter. If you had a global footprint before Twitter, perhaps one that grew as your readers trickled in from around the world, you probably had a blog or an e-zine that recorded a visitor more frequently than once every five minutes. If people following you on Twitter are spread across the same geographic regions, they're tweeting while you're sleeping. So it's not worth losing sleep to converse with them via live tweets.
If your preferred version of Twitter is a big watering hole where you splash side by side your posse, then your use case is Twitter as Intenet Relay Chat or SMS text chat where you can get that special one-to-one feeling.
Both of these modes of use take time out of the day. It's hard to get company directors and civil service supervisors to agree that their staff should be paid to tweet instead of responding to email, answering phone calls or preparing documents that generate cash flow. Unless you have a bottomless workday, you have to sacrifice one mode of communications to make time for another. Where I work, I've tried carve out time for Twitter by trimming back my time inside email and diverting some calls directly into a voice mail holding pattern. After two years, 20,000 tweets, and looking at the results, I cannot honestly say that I've gained an increase in office productivity or a higher wage grade because I've integrated Twitter into my workflow. I know a lot of my results are down to the kind of work I do in front of a classroom (where it's bad form to tweet instead of talk), driving to working meetings (where texting interferes with the normal hands-on driving approach preferred by my passengers), or DIY jobs (hard to see the mobile phone screen when wearing goggles). But brand managers, marketing professionals or sales agents, perhaps Twitter is the kind of engagement worth serious time and energy.
Gareth Dunlop -- "Firms must be customer zealots, not technology zealots" in the Digital Ireland pages inside the Irish Independent, 24 Sep 09.
Shanachie -- "Twitter and me" on the For Nine Pounds blog, 18 Sep 09.
Bernie Goldbach is @topgold.