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Twitter Developing Specific Features for Business




twitter-birdIf you are Twitter you have to be feeling a bit dizzy by now. 2009 has been a year of tremendous growth, more than a little success followed by more than a little criticism. There are always questions hovering over why Biz did that or if Jack really meant that or if Evan is saying something that isn’t supposed to be public or whatever.

Meanwhile, the rest of the market is flying around at a rapid rate. Google has come up with nearly forty innovations in the past 70 days alone. Some of which involve the real time search genie that Twitter represents.

Well, while not innovating at Google-like speeds (who does that anyway) there are some things emerging from Twitter like their announcement yesterday about a new ‘business’ feature. On the Twitter blog we read

The feature we are beta testing is called ‘Contributors’ – it enables users to engage in more authentic conversations with businesses by allowing those organizations to manage multiple contributors to their account. The feature appends the contributor’s username to the tweet byline, making the business to consumer communication more personal; e.g. if @Twitter invites @Biz to tweet on its behalf, then a tweet from @Twitter would include @Biz in the byline so that users know more about the real people behind organizations.

Here’s a picture or it for you.

Business Tweet

Now all of this was couched in very non-committal terms. Now, in its beta form, twitter is allowing what appears to be a form of sub-accounts for a business. In other words, if you have Skippy, Biffy, Buffy and Irv all tweeting on behalf of your company the tweets will all come from your company but the actual contributor will get a byline mention. The idea being to show the variety of people that are tweeting on a company’s behalf and giving that account more of the various personalities.

Makes sense. The blog promises several other non-specified changes but is very cautious in how these are presented. In other words, there will not be a ‘ask for forgiveness rather than permission’ approach to new ideas at Twitter. Maybe they aren’t as willing to work out their issues as publically as Google does.

This feature is one of several in development; some of them will be visible to regular users and some of them will not. Our goal at this time is to get basic feedback from business users and ecosystem partners. The beta will be released to a limited subset of folks for some time so that we can get an idea of how the features work from a system perspective. After we kick the tires a bit, we’ll do a full launch to all business users and ecosystem partners. Stay tuned!

Who knows but one thing is for certain. The upcoming year will be critical for Twitter as it really needs to establish what it intends to be when it grows up and what it’s going to do to keep everybody aware of “What’s happening”.