As with anything vaguely interesting or popular that grabs the public imagination, it's never long before Big Business is eyeing the prize and desperately trying to turn a buck. Twitter spam - should that be 'twam', or maybe 'spitter'? - is already clogging up the Internet and every corporation with a PR department worth its salt is tripping over itself to jump on the tweeting bandwagon.
A recent report on the übercapitalist website Bloomberg crows about PC box builder Dell clocking up $6.5 million worth of sales directly attributable to corporate tweets sent to the 1.5 million followers of its 35 channels. Even though that's a tiny fraction of the company's $61 billion in revenue last year, it's still a worrying development for Twitter and its waning street credibility.
The simple fact of the matter is that, once the corporate world gets its claws into the kind of social phenomenon that Twitter has rapidly become, those in the know will rapidly move onto the next new thing, one which has yet to be mired in intrusive advertising and corporate nagging.
Could Dell have signed the death knell for Twitter? Only time will tell, but we'll certainly be looking elsewhere for our celebrity-sourced chit-chat fix sooner rather than later.
So there is two main things about this article I would like to comment.
First, about the fact that $6.5 millions is worthless compared to the large $61 million sales Dell has accomplished in overall.There is no doubt about that. Now Twitter is young, and Dell's participation in it is even more recent. Twitter world is brand new, and brands need to create their own territory and use of the tool. This is 0.1%. But beyond figures, what has been shown is that Twitter can become a retail channel. Foremost, what I would like to see is how profitable this channel could be. Indeed, is it costly? I don't think it requires a large bandwidth and a lot of server capacity like a ecommerce website would, since it is hosted by Twitter. I'd like to know:
- The staff that takes care of these Twitter account. 35 people? I don't think so, but I'd like to know how qualify and how numerous the staff is.
- I believe they did not create new CRM/ sales software, and might use the very same one they use for their call center.