We can quibble on the financial valuation, but it is perhaps relevant to ask of Twitter’s relevance in the social media landscape. I got an inkling of it last week, when on two occasions, without directly contacting them, I mentioned two brands with which I had to resolve problems. Within hours, I got contacted by both cases, with an offer for help.
Twitter’s own officials liken the site to a townsquare — so the word-of-mouth spread about by trending topics (denoted by the now-famous # (hashtag) mark) is something that brands are keen to address through “promoted tweets” or clever use of topics linked to the product or service.
About 15 years ago, one of the failed “dotcom” startups I met was called Planetcustomer, and its business model was all about a site that would register customer complaints that companies will take note of. Now, Twitter seems to be doing that in an open way.
Product recommendations involving total strangers, and complaints involving word-of-tweet spreads are giving a unique flavour to Twitter. The company’s financial success will depend on how companies representing brands use this. Twitter is not about advertising, but ‘brand buzz’.