Saturday, May 16, 2009

What is Twitter?

Twitter is a free service which enables its registered members to send and read other members' updates or short text-based messages known as 'tweets', of up to 140 characters in length. Members can share URL's of web pages as well.

A member can post messages which will be displayed on his profile page, but to receive messages from other members or friends, a member has to follow or subscribe to their Twitter accounts. This way, members can follow and start receiving messages from each other. Members can send and receive 'tweets' through mobile phones as well.

Twitter.com, which received about 1.2 lakh unique visitors in India as per comScore data released in February 2009, is still nascent in the country and not many brands are using it.

Some of the brands which have started experimenting with Twitter are Zapak.com, Naukri.com, Business Line, The Times of India, Mint and DNA, but these are still striving to get traction on it.

Brands using Twitter to converse with and inform consumers is not an India specific phenomenon. Some of the brands which are using Twitter effectively in the US include Dell, JetBlue Airways, Pizza Hut, Samsung Mobile, Ford Motors and Kodak.

Why do we need Online Reputation Management

Online Reputation Management, ORM, is the practice of managing an individual or business reputation within online media. Online media, including search engines, are managed to make positive information visible to the public and downplay any information which could negatively affect the individual or business. Reputations are earned. Years of hard work and building trust can be destroyed online, often anonymously.

The net has given us a huge opening to broadcast any kind of information that we intend to share. Well, the same net enables our competitors, angry customers, upset employees to also announce their negative viewpoint towards us. Just the way we have freedom to mention what we like they too can exercise the same freedom and can mention what they like ...rather don't like. The advent of social media, communities, and networking sites, has been useful to many companies. They have positively affected the majority of businesses by allowing them to directly communicate with consumers about products and services they offer. However social media has also opened doors to malicious behavior of the minority, which has proven to be damaging to individual and corporate reputations. Individuals and the small business to the fortune 500 companies have been harmed by malicious online postings. Part of this pain is self inflicted and some is the handiwork of unhappy customers, disgruntled former employees or chronic complainers.

Due to the number of people who use search engines as a research tool, online reputation management is becoming a big industry. Ruthless competitors and angry clients now have open access to blogs and web sites. They can define a person or company's online identity. Their words have far reaching effects- whether they are true or not.

This is why ORM is necessary. Because it is difficult, if not impossible, to eliminate traces of thoughtless actions or malicious attacks on the web, online reputation firms disseminate positive information on their clients. The goal in online reputation management is to bring public attention to positive blogs, articles and other online media written on behalf of the company. The positive online publicity takes the higher search engine result rankings, thus minimizing the damage of any attack.

So happy writing!