Twitter: The New Google?

As recently as a year ago, I still had web-savvy people telling me that Twitter was useless, a guilty pleasure for any idiot with a thought. While that may have been true, and still is to some degree, the usefulness of Twitter for communication, marketing and even SEO is now undeniable.

I have been working on a PR campaign for a sports website (and yes, I am not going to capitalize ‘website,’ I am taking a stand), whose social media efforts had room for improvement. While they did have a couple of Twitter accounts, including one with several hundred followers, they weren’t being used with a traffic-driving mentality.

Enter Social Oomph. The site has been instrumental in this sports portal seeing thousands of new click throughs a month from Twitter. Social Oomph allows you to track your tweeted links and time delay your tweets, among its other uses. Utilizing keyword hash-tagging and including links to various articles, Twitter has helped this sports site tap into a previously unexplored reservoir of social media-aware sports information readers.

So this recent success got me thinking. While we’re certainly not going to see anything replace Google or Google News any time soon, is Twitter the new Google? I don’t mean to pose a question in the same manner that a Carey Bradshaw would, but it really is an interesting question.

As the social media platform grows in reach, volume and in technology, more and more people are consulting Twitter’s search functions to get the latest info on their favorite topics, people and news stories. It’s become a must-search site, making it a must-participate for any communications or marketing professional seeking to drive traffic or raise the profile of its clients.

A quick search in Twitter for a random item will allow you to pull up the latest musings, news and even aversions/likes that someone else out there has for it. It’s really quite remarkable. A Google for the social media.

And there are all sorts of businesses that have sprung up in recent years to take advantage of the Twitter phenomenon. Businesses that can get you more followers. Businesses that can track your tweets or even do the Tweeting for you.

But here is where it all ties together. In Google searches for people, places or things, you’re now seeing Twitter appear as a sourced search result more and more prominently. In a sense, it might even be stealing Google’s thunder a little bit.

So to those who are still stubborn and avoiding the inevitability of tweeting, you’re only hurting yourself, or your bottom, as it were.

As for me, I am not expert on the subject. I don’t have 1,000 or more followers. But that’s only because my work is done through clients’ accounts and because I don’t Tweet enough on any one of my handful of accounts. But I do think I know a good thing when I see one.

Matthew Ross is the founder of ContentServicing.com, a content and communications provider. He is also the host of Game Points on THE TEAM 990AM in Montreal, Canada. You can view/join the show’s Facebook group or become a follower of Matthew at Twitter.com/matthewrossmtl.

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