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We've been talking a lot about Twitter lately. Everybody has. The popular microblogging service continues to grow rapidly in popularity and seems to be making the transition from a first-adopter favorite to a bona fide mainstream property.
But as it does so, the one topic that can't be avoided: Twitter's lack of a business model. Despite the fact that it has raised a lot of money from venture capitalists, at some point the legions of loyal Twitter users will want to see their favorite service fly under its own power. That means that a scalable and sustainable business model must be developed.
Companies, organisations and social media aficionados alike are discovering that Twitter is a great way to reach wide audiences though a long term investment in short sharp communication.
After publishing an interview with Dog's Trust about its use of Twitter for raising awareness and fundraising, I've had quite a few contacts from charities and representatives who also use Twitter.
Following the example of PRBlogger's very useful list of UK journalists on Twitter, I've compiled one for charity organisations and others who are using the service to promote some worthy causes.
There are more charities using Twitter than I first thought, but there are a few big names I haven't found Twitter accounts for, NSPCC, Childline, RSPCA are just three that spring to mind.
Social marketing, Web 2.0 - whatever you call it, proponents and gurus of the forms on online marketing that involve consumer-generated media and user participation constantly stress the conversational aspects of marketing in Web 2.0 channels. Some have gone so far as to dub this "conversational marketing."
All those drop-what-you're-doing news bulletins that begin, "The blogosphere is buzzing about..." are so 2005. The latest channel to attract attention is the first one that's literally a conversation: Twitter.
Slews of marketers are jumping into Twitter with both feet to participate: to show off domain knowledge, create promotions on-the-fly, to publicize upcoming events and sales - the possibilities are endless.
But what very few marketers, advertisers and brands are listening to Twitter - they're reiterating the same mistakes they made at the very beginning of Web 2.0.
A Twitter account is free to set up, and keeping it updated doesn't need to take too much time and effort, so some charities are now making to use the site for fundraising and increasing awareness of their causes.
I've been asking Alex Goldstein, the charity's social media and community editor, about Dog's Trust's use of Twitter and her tips for other charities....
Move over Dell. You're not the only company looking to turn social media into a medium for loyalty marketing.
If you wear shoes (who doesn't?) and want to be part of an exclusive club of VIP shoe buyers, you have less than 200 minutes to become a Zappos.com VIP. Zappos.com, of course, is the online shoe retailer whose CEO, Tony Hsieh, has made extensive use of social media, namely through Twitter, where he has over 50,000 followers.
Dell is one of the most prominent brands leveraging the popular microblogging service to interact with customers and potential customers and has a whole portfolio of Twitter accounts that are managed by real Dell employees who have names and personalities.
According to Dell, its use of Twitter has led to more than $1m in revenue. While that's a miniscule amount for a company that does billions in revenue every year, Dell has embraced social media like few other companies and deserves a lot of credit for making a real effort.
Already enjoying strong growth in the UK, many were predicting that the service would go mainstream after getting after exposure on the Jonathan Ross comeback show last week.
Well, it seems that being discussed by Ross and Stephen Fry has had a significant impact on Twitter's traffic.
Twitter, the popular microblogging service that has become a favorite social media marketing tool, has signed a term sheet to raise more venture capital money at a $250m valuation. That's according to a report published this weekend by TechCrunch.
Thus far, Twitter has raised approximately $20 million in funding. The dollar amount of the latest round is not yet known.
The inauguration of Barack Obama was more than just another big media event.
Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum and regardless of where you live, President Obama's inauguration was an historic moment for the internet.
Services like Facebook and Twitter are changing the ways we locate and share important news and information, and they have proven to be valuable additions to the field of journalism.
Yet their rise has created some thorny ethical questions for reporters and news organizations.
Mike Grehan, host of the Search Engine Strategies Expo London, wrote a comment on ClickZ last week that made quite a statement.
That statement: "SEO's glory days are over. And we should get over it. Nobody is online looking for content."