Even with all of the positive Twitter hype over the past few years, the social networking site still harbors a bad rap among non-users. People ask themselves time and time again the same questions: Why do people care if I just went for a run? Why should I announce to the world I had pasta for dinner? Why should I tell all my followers what I did every waking second of every day? Although this is not the sole focus of Twitter, that is what many non-believers point to when supporting their negatively charged arguments. It is sometimes very difficult for them to justify being apart of the Twitter community.
As much as I can personally advocate the merits of Twitter, some people will just never listen. However, when reputable businesses start using Twitter to produce and manage their own content, people start to pay attention. Twitter then becomes less of a nuisance and more of a necessary tool, even for those who don’t already use it. Yes, everyone now has a Twitter feed where they re-post content from their website, but what about repositioning other users’ content in order to tell your own story? Many highly regarded groups have begun building their own tailored Twitter aggregators, and through their usability and necessity, successfully diminished negative connotations Twitter has created.
Bravo Television’s Real Housewives of New York City Viewing Party
Bravo has always been a pioneer in terms of merging television with the interactive online world (insert shameless plug for a past post of mine on Bravo’s blogs). Adding to their most recent partnership with foursquare, Bravo built their own Twitter aggregator to host “Real Housewives of New York City” virtual viewing parties. Every week, Bravo encourages viewers to join a live online chat on Bravo.com where they can connect with the shows’ stars and fans alike to talk about what is happening on the show in real-time. Through Twitter and Facebook, users can post their own thoughts about the show, and have them appear on the virtual party page. The aggregator allows you to filter through the posts based on “Bravolebrities” only, Twitter only, Facebook only, or all posts simultaneously.
This Twitter aggregator furthers diminishes the gap between the real world and the online world. It allows viewers to gather in one location and celebrate the show, no matter where they are actually located.
The viewing party also allows people to be apart of a Twitter world without actually signing up for an account. If you want to submit a comment, yes you will still need to do so via Twitter or Facebook. However, if you just want to be a fly on the wall at the hippest online party around, the aggregator allows you to read through everyone’s conversations without joining (what some still consider) the taboo Twitter network.
NBC’s Olympic Pulse Tweet Sheet
Bravo is not the only company around to utilize Twitter in this manner. Back in February, NBC provided a comprehensive coverage of the Winter Olympics. In addition to countless hours of television footage on 7 different networks, this exposure included in depth social media endeavors, notably online video cast, an intuitive iPhone app, featured blogs, and of course, a Twitter aggregator.
This Twitter aggregator allowed the user to sort tweets based on specific athlete/consultant, by sport, by NBC Olympic tweets, or by seeing tweets from all categories at once. Similar to the Bravo viewing party aggregator, this device allowed all web users to follow people on Twitter without actually creating a Twitter account. This raised the accessibility of Twitter, demonstrating its usefulness in seamlessly compiling information from topic-relevant people and sorting them in a user-friendly manner.
WashingtonPost.com’s NFL Twitter Aggregator
Though this aggregator was built a few months ago, it still remains active and relevant today, and was the first I had ever seen of its kind. At the beginning of last NFL season, the Washington Post wanted to create one location where users could read tweets from NFL players, and naturally with all the hype around some NFL players’ posts, they created an aggregator.
As the two previous case studies demonstrated, this aggregator allowed site visitors to follow players on Twitter without having to themselves sign up for an account. It also allowed them to filter based on their favorite team or position, and displayed the athletes’ real names, instead of their Twitter handles.
I agree with many of people’s woes on inappropriate use of Twitter, and I too get annoyed with constant monotonous updates. But Twitter has become so much more than that, and this new fad of building aggregators demonstrates this. More and more, companies and organizations are finding their best practices in how to run their own Twitter accounts. However, from what we have seen, the next steps will be to see how well we utilize other people’s content within Twitter – and monetize it.