Monday, February 09, 2009

Social Network in Action: How Twitter Helped Me

Twitter has become a tool that I have come to love. It has provided me a way to connect with people I have never met, and it has helped me find information that I might have missed otherwise. A recent experience on Twitter showed me how this tool can be used to gather customer feedback and also to collaborate with others to solve a problem.

Last week I wrote a small tool to help me create short url’s with Google Analytics Tracking embedded in them. This tool allows me to create short URLs for links that are both external (not residing on my site) as well as internal (residing on my site). The tool is open to the public so please give it and try and send me your feedback. It is nothing fancy but something that I needed for my own use. (More on this in another blog post). (Also see, Twitter Analytics and Google Analytics Twitter URL Builder)

At 11:04 p.m. on February 5th I tweeted about this tool.

Within minutes I got my first feedback in a direct message (also called “DM” in twitter language).

Yes, I had not tested the tool in other browsers and O/S but my Twitter friends came to my rescue and provided me valuable information. Several other people jumped in and provided feedback. I immediately jumped into action to fix this issue. Had it not been for Twitter I don’t think I would have been able to get such feedback so quickly.
Next I was able to isolate the issue, which was a JavaScript problem. The JavaScript I had on the page worked fine on IE but not on Firefox. Since I am rusty with my JavaScript I had 4 options
  1. Search on a search engine and try to sort out all the content and find what I was looking for.

  2. Call one of friends/colleagues/Freelancers who are JavaScript gurus

  3. Buy a JavaScript book and try it on my own

  4. Try to find if my Twitter friends (people I might not have met in person but are following me on twitter) will help again

Given that it was late, I went to bed and thought about fixing the JavaScript issue the next morning. The next morning I decided to give option number 4 a try, and posted the following message in Twitter:

I posted the message on Twitter at 7:25 a.m. and within minutes I got reply from my Twitter friends, who helped to debug or find a solution for me.

Isn’t Twitter a powerful tool for feedback and collaboration? Despite all the noise that happens on Twitter, it can be a very valuable tool, as I have found it on several occasions.

Following are my Twitter Friends, who provided me the valuable feedback, helped with the javascript issue and/or help spread the word via their ReTweets (Thank you all).

Comments? Questions?

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1 comment:

  1. That's how Twitter works. :) And don't forget to use relevant #hashtags in your tweets. This can help you to get even feedback from folks that don't follow you but listen to certain hashtags.
    An Omniture question
    was also answered by Omniture staff after 10 mins
    due to hashtag monitoring. That's great and shows the power of Twitter, too.


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