Before I interviewed Techdirt Insight Community analyst Carlo Longino, I wasn't convinced that businesses would ever want to adopt Twitter, an emerging communications platform that allows folks to push out short messages to big groups of people.
Rather than potentially useful, Twitter seemed annoying and/or invasive to me. But as Longino pointed out, many communications tools -- including blogs, wikis and instant messaging -- have suffered similar image problems. For that matter, so have the telephone, the cell phone and e-mail.
Longino also laid out several of the potential business uses for Twitter, falling under three broad categories: promotions/marketing, marketing research/analysis and communication with business suppliers and partners. I started feeling a bit less skeptical.
I wasn't the only one. After noting several of the interesting applications folks were creating for Twitter, IT Business Edge blogger Loraine Lawson concluded that Twitter "may have staying power that could be useful in the real, grown-up world."
Now, some seven months later, Twitter's appeal seems to be broadening by the day, judging by all of the positive mentions of it I am encountering in the blogosphere.
There's this academHacK entry, which lists 13 possible uses for Twitter. Though geared toward academia, some of the uses should also appeal to business types. For instance, tracking a conference via Twitter can make it easier to hook up with colleagues, prospects or other folks of interest at business events.
There's a Mashable entry about a new app called Twemes that makes it easier to connect with Twitter users who have interests similar to yours.
On the apc blog, Danny Gorog writes that one IT consulting company uses Twitter to keep in touch with its technicians as they complete their assignments during the day.
Instead of techs calling in when jobs are running over time, they send a simple "tweet" that gets relayed through to other techs, and to manager who can then schedule resources more efficiently.
In the "warm and fuzzy" category, Twitter could even help members of senior management connect with employees far below them in the corporate food chain, says this Episteme entry. Blogger Mike Murray writes:
One of the most painful and difficult things about the corporate world is the facade that most senior managers put up - there's so little humanity that trickles out of the CEO's office in most companies. Technologies like twitter would enable (and I might dare go as far as to say force) management to be more human to their teams. And that is almost always a good thing.
Jevon Howard presents a nicely succinct list of Twitter pros and cons on the FASTForward Blog. Among the pros: crises discovery and management capability, increased awareness of ongoing work, and potential to be more readily adopted than other emerging communications tools.