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By B.L. Ochman
twitter_uses.pngI spend a lot of time on Twitter every day. If you’re a marketer, you should too.

Last week, Google bought social networking tool and Twitter competitor Jaiku for an undisclosed sum. There was immediately lots of talk about the death of Twitter, and the need to migrate to Jaiku. Where were these conversations happening? On Twitter, of course.

As a marketer, I need to check out new social networks to see if they have value for my clients. So I have a Jaiku account, and I am exploring Jaiku. Steven Streight points out that Jaiku allows comments on messages, which expands its usefulness as a microblogging platform.

But like many of the Twitterati, I’m not anxious to move to the latest shiny object. That’s because, for me, Twitter has become:

o a major source of business news
o a quicker way to find out what’s important today than my feed reader
o a place to find out what the people I’m interested in are finding interesting
o live blogging from conferences and other events
o an excellent source of experts on various technical topics
o a place to build relationships through common interests
o a place to (selectively) pimp my blog posts
o an international IM platform
o a place to take a break around the virtual water cooler
o a lot of fun

Marshall Kirkpatrick says,

“People laugh at Twitter, and they can go ahead and laugh for all I care, but I’m here to tell you that it can be invaluable.”

Twitter is an opt-in world, so if you don’t find someone’s tweets interesting, you simply stop following that person.
Marketers, and flaks in particular, need to remember that Twitter is about give and take. If you just use it to pimp your stuff, you’ll be zapped in mid-tweet: blocked for good.

So when TechAddress asks, “Is Twitter the new press release?” the answer is only for people whose news you care about!
Twitter’s not about pushing content, it’s about give and take, and sadly, PR folks forget the give 99% of the time. Act like a jerk, people stop following you.

I block most PR people, but the ones I follow are the ones who bring something to the party besides what they are selling. That’s no different from the way good publicists – or any smart marketers – build relationships anywhere.
Jeremiah Owyang points out that Twitter is good for media companies, social media savvy brands, those who may already have a blogging strategy, those with frequent updates.

Bonus link – a pretty good newbie explanation of social networks.