Initially I was skeptical about using Twitter. I questioned what it fundamentally could provide to/for me, and also what I could provide to “it,” where “it” means those that choose to follow me and the Web in general since what you post is open to be searched by all.

Additionally, I was skeptical because people kept telling me it was for the “young” and that I probably wouldn’t understand it at my not-so-advanced age of 43.
I’m glad to report that the rumors of my inability to embrace Twitter are greatly exaggerated.

Twitter has provided me with a running stream of facts and tidbits about market research, new product launches, funny advertising, End User/client views and thoughts, links to interesting online articles, a new network of friends and colleagues that would have taken me many years and conferences to gain otherwise, and I would be remiss in not saying that it has provided me the chance to write for you on a monthly basis for MRA.

If you’re looking to join in, here are a few tips I found that have helped with my enjoyment of the tool.

• DO fill out your profile accurately. As you start to follow people, they will check you out, and if they think you are a spammer/auto-bot or not legitimate, they can and will block you.

• Keep your initial following list down to 30-40 people. At first, the amount of information that appears in your feed can be daunting and overwhelming and will wear you out and possibly discourage you. Once you get the hang of it, then you should increase those numbers.

• If you find something interesting, re-tweet [Twitter-speak for forwarding] and ensure you keep in the original poster’s handle [handle = screen name]. This will not only gain you some acceptance from the original poster, but also expose yourself to other potential followers who will see the post.

• Searching for people you might want to follow on Twitter might be difficult, and so here are some lists of market researchers that can get you started.

So how has this improved my life?

Firstly, I’ve met many folks who work in market research that I likely would have never crossed paths with. From qual researchers in Australia to quant researchers in the Netherlands, we’ve all found our way into each other’s networks and we share a lot of ideas and thoughts on issues that face our industry. A day doesn’t pass where I learn something new or am exposed to a new idea.

I’ve also frequently referred followers to potential solutions for their problems and have received feedback and responses to questions I pose.

I constantly remind myself that this is a relationship business and that you can get almost anything done if you know enough people with the right tools. I look at my Twitter “feed” as a constantly scrolling 24-hour market research news and information source.

Lastly, everyone gets hung up on the 140 character limit. Although there is no way around it, you’ll find that people post a lot of links to articles or their own blogs and have fun with short-hand ways of spelling. At the end of the day, it is the brevity which begs for creativity.

Editor’s Challenge:

  • Have you tried using Twitter, and if so, what are your thoughts on this social networking tool?
  • If you haven’t tried out Twitter, what has stopped you from using it?
  • Can this tool be useful for market research? Why?

COMMENTS:

I use Twitter a few times per week. I think it is a great way to get snippets of news and also a great way to keep up-to-date on what my colleagues and friends are doing. Like Brian mentioned in his post, I think it is a good way to meet people "online" that I would have never met before. So I think it is a good networking tool for the profession.

- Rose 01/20/2010


Have been a Twitter user for 13 months and find it extremely useful in keeping up with those whose insights I respect. Late-breaking, current and trending information on travel, technology, MR, OQR, social media, and culture - all available via Twitter on mobile or PC.

Usefulness: We use it to help position our firm, drive traffic to our blogs / sites, etc. Micro-blogging is a must-do for the marketing-savvy MR consultant whose clients stay on the leading edge. And Twitter is the #1 player in the micro-blog space.

Additionally, as an entre into markets where we want to understand / locate qual research participants, Twitter is invaluable! Another tool in our belt for client insights.

Keep on tweeting! @RealitySpikes

- Susan Saurage-Altenloh 01/21/2010