By now you've probably heard of Twitter and may even be actively using it. If not, here's a quick definition.
Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service, that allows its users to send and read other users' updates (otherwise known as tweets), which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length.
I first blogged about my thoughts last November. Although not nearly as big as MySpace and Facebook, Twitter is growing rapidly. I have been actively using the service for about 18 months. I really enjoy it and get far more out of the contacts and conversations that I have had there compared to Facebook or even LinkedIn.
For professional to professional or business to business, I really see value in spending time on Twitter.
There is also value for business to consumer if you are able to amass a large following. But that's the rub—people don't really like following companies. People like following and conversing with people. Companies that are having success tend to be large national brands like Starbucks, Comcast, Dell, JetBlue, Southwest Air and more. Most of these companies are treating Twitter like a help desk—listening and answering questions when they arise.
I am still skeptical of the value for credit unions, since Twitter is still pretty obscure and it is difficult to find and follow your actual credit union members. Perhaps this will change with more and more people joining and there are rumours about groups and other features coming soon. But, even if you could identify your members, its doubtful whether they will want their financial institution stalking them online!
If you are curious, I suggest setting up a personal account and trying it on for size. For the newbie, though, it can be very difficult to get started and to find like-minded people. But I can help—I just started a Credit Union Fans group on a new website called Twitter Groups. Follow the group members and start tweeting.
Also, make sure to follow me at www.twitter.com/currencytim—I'll definitely follow you back if you put something to do with credit unions in your bio!