"To tweet or not to tweet?" is a question we're constantly being asked by clients. There's no definitive answer, although those who say it is just a fad are mistaken. How different organisations use it and how they integrate it into their websites will be highly specific to what your aims are and how many resources you have.
At one end Twitter is just another distribution channel where you may reach a new audience through retweets. At the other it can be a valuable source of market intelligence or a way to establish, or destroy, your reputation.
This isn't the place to give a primer on what Twitter is, just to say that it is like an instant messaging party line where you can read-in to the tweets of thousands of other tweeple (it is also a space given to self-consciously mawkish puns). I frequently have it running in the background on my computer while I'm doing something undemanding, like watching the AFL grand final on Saturday.
And it was during the AFL grand final that Kraft saw fit to launch their new vegemite spread which, after a national competition, and presumably the ministrations of a bevy of brand consultants, they decided to call iSnack 2.0. I knew the name was a bummer as soon as I saw it, and only a second later someone else had tweeted similar thoughts. So the avalanche started which led to Kraft canning the whole thing today as tweeple everywhere expressed their disgust and dismay.
It was the online equivalent of a protest rally and it self-assembled and became unstoppable within two and a half days.
Kraft now has an opportunity to rescue itself. Having seen just how powerful Twitter is they should enlist its aid to get the naming right next time. I'd be happy to put my tweet cents worth in, partly out of guilt at so gleefully putting the boot in. The protest rally could easily become a friendly focus group and then a supporters club.
Which is exactly what is happening tonight for Hey Hey It's Saturday - The Reunion. Not only is its return obviously a complete success with the long-tail baby boomers who I tend to follow on Twitter, but a survey of the tweets marked #heyhey should give the producers valuable feedback on just which segments worked and how. They could even give Red Simons some hints on just how harsh an adjudicator he can afford to be.
Good website design has to take account of all of this. It might be that you decide to highlight the twitter posts about your new product on your site, or actively cross-market to your customers to get them on to twitter to give you feedback. Or you might use Twitter to drag in new customers. Or, you might give us a call. There are so many potential approaches there is really no point in speculating.