I find that adults (i.e. business people) on Twitter often use it as an extension to a blast email on something. Whether it's a special product price or a recent announcement and sometimes it gets whimsical. It's very much unlike the "What are you doing now" crowd. Oh yes... I am working in Fort Lauderdale... the beach is outside my window... and I am drinking a bottle of water. Do you really care? Some people look to get as many Followers as possible. It could be an ego thing but it comes with some responsibility, especially if you Tweet professionally. Yes, Twitter can be useful and we hear lots of stories about crowd sourcing and disaster support for sure. While my daughter and her friends use Instant Messaging all the time, I seldom see them use Twitter. So I was glad to hear our panel at ITC 2012 reflect on it among other things.
Mark Chapman of Global Aerospace, commenting at ITC 2012: “Twitter is great – you can connect with your customers... until you realize you've got nothing to say.”
It's like those We've-got-a-website pages you used to see in, oh, 1998. Joining Twitter is a real commitment. You don't just need a steady stream of (interesting) things to say. You also need a voice: this is going to be a corporate mouthpiece, and a mouthpiece that might get slapped.
I meet people who've “come out the other side” of Twitter – been there, done that. Many corporates are going to reach the same conclusion. Just as you find default corporate websites that are little more than brochures, so we're finding default corporate Twitter streams that just rebroadcast press release headlines. And that's okay.
Philip Proost of Caitlin, on the same panel, mentioned they are encouraging people on to specialised apps and away from general social media platforms. Elsewhere, contributors mentioned the problem of emailed attachments. The goal for business must be to provide the usability associated with commercial, all-purpose apps, grafted on to specialised applications serving business processes.