15 February 2010

Twitter: It's today's Ham Radio, only broader adoption & zero cost

Icom amateur radio by -- LuckyLouie 21:43, 5 J...Image via Wikipedia
This post is past it's sell date, but here goes:

Those of you curious or old enough to know Ham Radios, will get this post instantly.

For others, ham radio is a hobby & service in which participants, called "hams," use various types of radio communications equipment to communicate with other radio amateurs for public services, recreation and self-training (source: Wikipedia). The term "amateur" reflects the principle that amateur radio and its skilled operators are committed to helping communities without financial compensation; whereas commercial radio operates for profit.

Ham operators enjoy personal (often worldwide) wireless communications with each other and are able to support their communities with emergency and disaster communications when necessary, while increasing their personal knowledge of electronics and radio theory. It's still going strong, with an estimated six million people regularly involved with amateur radio across the world.

Twitter, is the internet version of the Ham spirit, with 3 key differences:
  • Broader adoption across ages, interests and geos in a short span (the stats are stunning)
  • Zero set up investment to both broadcast or tune in
  • Connect-able with communication devices most use daily - phone/web

But the broad adoption, zero investment and omnipresence has bought along 3 undesirable changes in how today's "hams" follow the unsaid ham code of conduct:
  • Blatant Narcissism & sharing of TMI
  • Using the medium for 1-to-1 conversation, viewable to the public - Yo! The Truman show is so 1998 :) 
  • And sometimes, airing undesired soiled laundry for public view

Okay, fine with the Ham Radio analogy, but what can a marketer do with Twitter?

For brands looking to be active on today's "Ham", Jeff Pulver has four words which can't be put better: Listen > Connect > Share > Engage
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