I don’t tweet

Twitter worth $7 billion? VC Fred Wilson doesn’t buy it. – May. 10, 2011.

According to the article that the above link points to, I share similar concerns: what if Twitter is just another tech bubble? The company hasn’t executed as expected. How will it make money for its investors?

And why is this important to you and me in the translation industry?

For years, I resisted using Gmail because it was a new service and I was not sure that the Gmail platform wouldn’t become another Rocketmail or CompuServe (remember those services?). For years, I resisted using Internet Explorer because Netscape was my browser and platform of choice, from browsing the Web to hosting my email account. Only after I lost my emails (my fault) on Netscape did I start to think about a different solution. I bit the bullet and went with Outlook. I have been an Outlook user for more than a decade now. Call me a late-late adopter.

Twitter is yet another social phenomenon in the Web 2.0 technology landscape being built on the so-called cloud. Marketing buzzwords aside, the cloud is nothing more than a server farm somewhere in Nebraska or North Carolina. Remember what happened to Amazon a few days ago? What to do if your enterprise or company documents, files, and other assets reside in a cloud account? A perennial solution is what engineers call redundancy. RAID arrays are useful for medium- to large-sized companies seeking to protect themselves from a catastrophic loss of data. The other side of this coin of risk management is data privacy: if you tweet for business, how safe is the information you are tweeting?

Back in the days of bulky cellphones and prohibitively expensive cellphone plans, I was using an electronic dialer (it cost me $40) as a pocket phone directory (poor man’s PDA). What a waste of 40 precious dollars! Then, the wave of PDAs swept the country towards the end of the century. Every time I visited CompUSA or Office Depot, I would give those slick PDAs a passing glance, leaving the store without buying one, even those on clearance. I did not see the need to have a PDA, but I saw colleagues use one.

I used a Blackberry for two years because I wanted a cellphone with a phone directory and email capabilities. Thinking of my enthusiasm for the Blackberry’s marvelous email functionality seems quaint now. I use an iPhone 3GS for my needs here and abroad. It has what I need. I was able to find a reason –not a rationale– to buy an iPhone because my business and professional needs so required it.

But I can’t make a business case for the Tweet service. In an era where many language service providers (agencies and translators alike) compete fiercely with each other for your business, I know I can’t be useful to you in 140 characters or less.

1 Comment

Filed under Confidentiality of information, Customer relationship, Customers, Marketing

One response to “I don’t tweet

  1. g2lls

    I saw this same article and was glad to see your thoughts on it! I would hate to see Twitter go but, ultimately, it would not affect my business too much in a negative way. In general, we use it primarily to point people to what we want them to know about our company and ourselves.

    It reminds of that old quote about the stockmarket crashing, something like, “when your shoeshine boy starts giving you stock tips, it’s time to get out?” At this point, even the last holdouts have hopped on the Twitter bandwagon. Also, I received an email the other day from a man whose title read, “Twitter Manager.” Good work if you can get it!! I can see having someone to manage your overall social media but just Twitter seems a bit narrow.

    To me, the important thing to remember is that the people that read your Twitter postings are not generally your customers, they are what is called “your tribe.” For example, most of the people I follow and that follow me are other translation professionals. I like the way it ties our industry together and allows us to find each other and share information, but it does not bring in a lot of business. I know Twitter itself is having a hard time making money, and any business will tell you that its all about the cash flow!!

    If I am honest with myself, I started using Twitter because everyone else was and everyone said it was a good idea, not because it was a great business decision. I think it’s a good tool and a fun one, but essential is another story. We would be okay without it. I think the majority of businesses feel the same way.

    Grace Bosworth
    President, Global2Local LLC

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