Twitter launched Twitter 101 for Business last night and Biz Stone announced its arrival on the official Twitter blog, stating:
“We coordinated with business students and writers to surface some interesting findings, best practices, steps for getting started, and case studies. The results demonstrate how customers are getting value out of Twitter and suggest techniques businesses can employ to enhance that value. While this work was envisioned for businesses, it’s also useful for anyone using Twitter so have a look if you like.” [Emphasis mine]
Interesting. The ending “so have a look if you like” sounds a bit flippant to all non-business users of Twitter, which is the vast majority, I think, and the reason it is such a success. All the businesses and marketers are now flocking to Twitter because they want to grab the eyes and ears of that participant audience. Careful, Twitter. This statement sounds like “We care about businesses more than our multitude of regular users.” If you estrange your core audience by being flippant with them, you’re doomed in the long term.
Besides the flippant comment to the core audience of Twitter users, I’m somewhat skeptical about the entirety of this move right now. It feels rushed. I’m sure it’s been planned for a while, but I have a feeling that Twitter probably wasn’t going to do all this right now. Following closely upon last week’s explosion of negative news about Twitter’s abysmal security practices resulting in a plethora of documents being leaked to TechCrunch by a hacker, the launch of Twitter 101 and the news that Twitter plans to redesign its homepage next week smack of a rush job to try to generate some good PR to help everyone forget about the security breach and return Twitter unscathed to the media darling spotlight. We’ll see.
I’ve only had a chance to glance over Twitter 101 so far, and my first impressions are that it’s somewhat sparse. That’s why I think it may be rushed. Then again, it may be perfectly targeted to the non-technical business audience to which it is clearly directed. It even has downloadable slides and a printable version of the entire site. The resources section is also interesting. It doesn’t look like Twitter is trying to monetize the books it lists there.
Although everyone seems to be saying that this is the first real sign of a Twitter business plan, I still don’t see a revenue model here, so I think we’re still waiting for the real business plan to emerge.
Dear Twitter: Can I be a professor at Twitter University once it launches? That’d be a neat teaching gig, I think. Lecturing in 140 characters or less. ;-)