It's fair to say that Twitter has become somewhat of an obsession with journalists nowadays. It's easy to see why given that's a massively popular, easily monitered, cutting edge window onto the world.
The recent activity in the aftermath of the Iranian election shows that Twitter is not just a purely online phenomenon. The fact that someone can Tweet via mobile internet and even SMS from anywhere with a mobile phone signal means that it is now on the frontline in terms of breaking news.
This simple, user-friendly, media-friendly micro-blogging site has been causing much debate recently as to whether it can continue to capture the public's imagination and interest and whether it can reach it's commercial potential both for it's users and it's owners.
Last month it was revealed that Dell had used their Twitter updates to generate millions of dollars in revenue and yet the actual Twitter company itself is still working on a model that will hopefully monetarise the site without alienating it's userbase.
Despite all this a recent study undertaken by Harvard University stated that Twitter remains very much a niche site despite the hype surrounding it. The research, based on over 300,000 users, estimated that just 10% of Twitter users generate more than 90% of the content.
Official figures suggest Twitter now has more than 10 million users and uptake is still growing faster than any other social network. However, the Harvard team revealed that more than 50% of all people using Twitter updated their page less than once every 3 months and most people only ever "tweet" once during their lifetime, the researchers found.
Despite this it was revealed this week that the UK Royal household will begin using Twitter to post snippets of royal related news.
You can follow the monarchy at http://twitter.com/BritishMonarchy
At the same time it was reported that a Guatemalan man was accused of using Twitter to cause a run on a bank. Jean Anleu was charged in May after sending posts urging people to pull their money from Guatemala's rural development bank.
It paints a mixed picture however the site is still vibrant and varied and can be used effectively to build up a list of followers and friends in a particular interest niche.
This means that it is still a valuable marketing tool if used correctly. Generally Twitter users are interested in information, interaction and networking. This means that anyone setting up an account and pumping out endless sales message will not pick up followers. Informational content including announcements and tips relating to the market in question will mean people will latch onto the updates and gradually gain gravity. Being accessible and answering your followers question will also make for a real, valuable service for your potential market plus giving something back via Twitter only special offers will enhance your profiles's usefulness even further.
All this is key to building up an audience and your audience's loyalty. With this in place website visits and conversions will inevitably follow.