A few people have asked me why should they care about a person eating soup or someone buying new shoes on Twitter or Facebook status updates?
I had searched my mind for good answers.
Then I read a New York Times Magazine article a few months ago about Twitter and Facebook updates in which some people had the very same questions. The article explains a concept called “ambient awareness.” Ambient awareness tells us that yes, individual little updates about soup or shoes make little sense to many people by themselves, but on Twitter and Facebook, all of the updates over time paint a picture of someone’s life, their mood, their experiences, etc.
This argument can easily be adapted for governments/organizations/businesses. Take the American Red Cross and its Twitter page:
The Red Cross uses Twitter for a variety of communication purposes including sharing key links, preparedness facts, disaster recovery information, photos and seasonal tips. The “ambient awareness” gives followers a sense of connection with the Red Cross, which in turn leads to a more general awareness about the Red Cross’ mission, purpose and business functions (and, perhaps, leads to donations).
Twitter’s not for everyone, but neither are our government Web sites for everyone. It’s simply taking existing content, business purposes, mission, etc., and using a new channel. The same arguments being proffered about Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc., were delivered about computers and E-mail — are they really worth it or are they just geewiz, fancy, trendy things?
Just thought I’d add my $0.03 (adjusted for inflation) in case you’re in need of another (emotional, make the connection with citizens) case for using Twitter.