Since February 2009, I’ve been watching the waterfall of information flowing from Twitter, perhaps the most popular social media network today. I’m looking for keywords like “UPS” and “ups.com,” hoping to catch our customers as they converse about our company. And believe me, customers talk about us all the time.
In brief, Twitter is like the world’s biggest party line, composed of over 50 million users, each one sending messages to one another, 140 characters at a time. The question that Twitter seeks to answer is simple: “What are you doing right now?” It should come as no surprise that UPS is a part of the everyday activity of many, many Twitter users. Someone just heard the brakes of a package car as it stopped in front of their home. Someone else is in line at The UPS Store®. Another customer just received a birthday present. Not a week goes by without someone saying that our drivers are just like Santa Claus dressed in a brown uniform.
The emergence of Twitter as a powerful means of online communication and conversation has encouraged the development of applications that filter and analyze the constant flow of information. The tool I use most in my day-to-day monitoring is called TweetDeck. It allows me to set up multiple columns of ever-updating data streams, each one based upon search criteria. For the recent launch of Amazon’s Kindle 2, I set up a column to monitor the keywords “kindle” and “ups.” It was great to watch as our customers received their new e-readers, so many of them grateful to UPS for a speedy delivery.
Of course, there are limits to the specificity of such a keyword search. When I search for those three letters we know and admire, I see much more than just comments about Big Brown. And so, I’d like to report a few observations about general Twitter populace:
- Many Twitter users are going through rough times, accepting such trials as just part of life’s ups and downs
- Exercise is incredibly popular, as evidenced by users reporting activities such as chin-ups, push-ups, pull-ups and sit-ups
- Twitter folk are very encouraging, rarely missing an opportunity to show their support by giving “big ups” to their friends
- And of course, there is quite a bit of discussion about the importance of using a UPS—an uninterruptible power supply—in an office environment
As Twitter grows in popularity, Twitter-based applications like TweetDeck will grow in functionality. It is just a matter of time before searches become more refined and contextual—meaning that a search for “UPS” (the company) will not produce results for “ups” (the anything else). This will separate the wheat from the chaff for Twitter monitors like me. Until then, I’ll keep looking for our customers on Twitter by keyword.
Who knows, I might find a customer doing push-ups as a way of dealing with life’s ups and downs. If I can help them receive their UPS shipment of a UPS, maybe they’ll give us all big ups.
|Tags:||communication, delivery, online, package, shipment, social media, tweet, Twitter|