Its funny how they haven't figured out the purpose of #twitter Its clearly the ultimate open chat room.
I have read quite a few articles about how to monetize it and yada yada yada as to how to use twitter.
I like to keep it in very simple terms, its the same way you interact with people in person but a bit different.
Lets look at some key characteristics of why humans communicate.
Inform - well clearly you can inform someone a lot better via social media, especially twitter, than you can in person. You know those annoying guys who claim to know all the stats and just shoot them off and accept no other reasoning because they are right because of their stats? Well thats a no go in this arena. Statements can easily be backed up with links and immediate responses. Twitter 1 real communication 0
Educate - well this is a tough one, both ways are great ways to educate. One major advantage that comes to mind in comparing the two is that with Twitter you can quickly and easily follow the knowledge trail endlessly through tweets. In person its limited to the person that is educating you and their personal limitations. However, the advantage in real life is that you get immediate unique responses to keep the education going. Personally I am going to have to give this one a tie just because I personally prefer to learn in person but also love how you can endlessly gain knowledge on your own. Twitter 2 Real Communication 1
Relate - this may be the best one of all because you can quickly relate to people all over the world by simply reading their profile and tweet history and see if you connect. In person, it takes a good conversation to see if there is a connection. Depending on what you are looking to accomplish, one may be better than the other. I am going to have to give this one to real communication because of the fact that it takes a lot more skill in relating to someone via real life than twitter which requires no work at all. Twitter 2 Real Communication 2
Connect -Yes connecting is somewhat the same as relating. But check it out, this is where I am coming from. Relating is between two people while connecting is between two or more people. Hands down, this goes to twitter. Because you can connect so many people simultaneously while in person it may take a phone call or personal introduction of sorts that may be slow in getting something going. With the both options having great way to connect people. I think its more valuable for a real world connection but in today's day and age, virtual connections can be just as equally helpful. Hmmmm, tie? Twitter 3 Real Communication 3
Persuade - ah my personal fav, sorry Twitter just doesn't do it for me in persuasion unless I get the info from a friend. But that is more of connecting me to information rather than persuading me to do something. In person, persuasion is a real skill, so many non-verbals and verbals to consider that it just can not transfer onto twitter without really developing your online brand. Twitter 3 Real Communication 4
The point is that yes Twitter and many other social media channels are great and all for connecting with your customer and reaching the masses. But without the human real life component to any strategy, I don't think Twitter by itself is enough.