HighTalking: Pistachio Talks Twitter

Laura Fitton, a.k.a. Pistachio, is literally writing the book on Twitter: “Twitter for Dummies.” For her day job, she runs Pistachio Consulting, a firm that teaches corporations and organizations about the business benefits of micro-blogging (not just Twitter, but also services like Yammer). Laura is fond of opening her talks by saying that Twitter is one of the dumbest applications you’ll ever see. Yet it works. Laura’s perspective on Twitter is worth hearing. She was kind enough to agree to an interview recently.

Laura Fitton (a.k.a. Pistachio)

Laura Fitton (a.k.a. Pistachio)

HighTalk: You have been using Twitter almost from the beginning. Is it better or worse now than it was at the beginning?

Laura: I was a relatively “late” adopter — May 2007, about a year into its public history. The experience just gets better all the time.

HighTalk: What have been the biggest changes?

Laura: Scale and the versatility of uses that people have put it to.

HighTalk: Why do you think Twitter has seen such explosive growth?

Laura: Twitter helps with business and career needs, but it also helps with very deep human needs, which is one of the reasons it is so “sticky” an application, and so compelling for people once they “get” what the value is and start really using it.”

HighTalk: What do you think are the biggest challenges facing Twitter in 2009?

Laura: Everyone will expect this to be (and fret over) “monetization,” but the real challenge is helping people new to Twitter quickly understand, accept and make use of its tremendous value. It’s nonintuitive why it works and why it’s so powerful.

HighTalk: How do you describe Twitter to people not versed in social media?

Laura: As a village (More information about Laura’s view here).

HighTalk: Why is important for brands to be using Twitter?

Laura: Because it’s providing insanely valuable information on how your customers and prospects see your products, the world, their lives, etc. We track 5 clear “off-platform” benefits (SEO, Word of mouth, PR “gravity”, research and as a content generation engine) that brands can derive from Twitter even if their customers are NOT on Twitter. For brands that do have active Twitter users, the benefits are even more massive.

HighTalk: What is the biggest mistake brands make when they first begin to tweet?

Laura: Beginning to tweet. No, really. LISTENING FIRST is drastically more important. Really, the best thing is to begin by listening, not talking. You’d never approach a group at a cocktail party without doing that first, don’t do it here either.

HighTalk: If there was a single golden rule for using Twitter – what would it be?

Laura: Provide genuine value. Whatever business activity you implement on Twitter, make it about your readers. Make it useful. Even plain old direct offers and coupons can fall into this category if they are really genuinely useful and wanted. This is a publish-subscribe world. If you’re self-serving, you won’t get traction.

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