×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Dell Makes $3 Million From Twitter Sales

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the tweet-deals dept.

Social Networks 76

Barence writes "Dell has admitted to raking in over $3 million from advertising its products on Twitter. The PC maker has been using Twitter for two years, and employs proprietary software to track sales from users clicking through from Twitter links. Of that $3 million, the company claims that $1 million was made in the past six months, following an explosion in Twitter's popularity. (Here is an analysis indicating that 72.5% of Twitter users joined in 2009.) The majority of sales have come through the @DellOutlet account, which posts six to ten special offers a week — with at least half of these being Twitter exclusives. Though the $3 million is a drop in the bucket given Dell's $12.3 billion in revenue during the first quarter of this year, it further bolsters Twitter's case for charging businesses."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

76 comments

And twitter makes...? (3, Insightful)

JorDan Clock (664877) | more than 4 years ago | (#28322139)

Alright, so Dell makes $3 million; But how much does Twitter make from Dell's @DellOutlet account? And how much revenue does Twitter make in general?

Re:And twitter makes...? (5, Funny)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 4 years ago | (#28322181)

It's web 2.0.
Who cares about profits?

Re:And twitter makes...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28323463)

It's web 2.0.
Who cares about profits?

So, just like web 1.0 then?
Business plan, what's that?

Re:And twitter makes...? (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324887)

Now now, what did we learn in 2000? Something about bubbles? Listen people, no matter how fucked up your hair is or how punkish your attitude, you still need to be able to provide some purpose to society eventually. You can't keep living off unwise investors forever. As I understand it, his master plan is to get enough addicts hooked onto instant messaging from major cooperations and then charge the corporations access to the twit drones, suffering the people that send useful messages (all 0.001% of them) as the sole justification for the whole system. But I think twats are twitting because it makes them feel like they're broadcasting to everyone. It's like a blog without all the work.

Re:And twitter makes...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28325601)

That sounds strangely familiar, like Web 1.0.

Thank God that went well and didn't crash and burn in 2000.

Re:And twitter makes...? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28322197)

If twitter could charge news media a nickel for mentioning their name, they'd have a viable business model... One that would function for several months, if not two years.

Re:And twitter makes...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28322539)

oh please, oh please let them start charging..that'll end that stupid shit once and for all and I won't have to read

@somefuckingretard #mymomfucksgoats #yourmomshouldtoo

It'll put a stop to all the attention whores, or at least the ones without the money to spend on the attention they're getting. The rest will have even less since everyone will jump ship to the-next-shiny-thing.

Re:And twitter makes...? (2, Interesting)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 4 years ago | (#28322757)

oh please, oh please let them start charging..that'll end that stupid shit once and for all and I won't have to read

@somefuckingretard #mymomfucksgoats #yourmomshouldtoo

I've never used Twitter, and I've never had to read anything like that. I think perhaps you're doing something wrong.

Re:And twitter makes...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28327233)

I've never used Twitter, and I've never had to read anything like that.

Until now.

Re:And twitter makes...? (2, Interesting)

aamcf (651492) | more than 4 years ago | (#28323353)

I only understood twitter properly a few days ago. I used to think of it as a blogging service, which it isn't. Its more like a web-based version of IRC.

Re:And twitter makes...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28326439)

Umm, this was addressed specifically in TFA.

I'm one of those @Outlet buyers (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28322189)

Let me clue you in. People that shop at the outlet are cheap bastards. We scour the web for dell coupons, and then buy second hand stuff to save a couple of bucks. We couldn't care less were we have to scour for that information.. Dell should just save us the trouble and put the information here www.dell.com/coupons. In fact Twitter should pay Dell for driving the traffic to Twitter.

0.004% (4, Informative)

nacturation (646836) | more than 4 years ago | (#28323113)

But let's look at the numbers. $1 million over the last six months. That's an average of $500K per quarter. Dell made $12.3 billion in revenue for the first quarter. So Twitter sales represent about 0.004% of their sales. OMG AMAZING TWITTER IS SO EFFECTIVE!!1!1

Re:I'm one of those @Outlet buyers (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 4 years ago | (#28327337)

Dell should just save us the trouble and put the information here www.dell.com/coupons.

But you said it yourself, you don't care if you have to scour for that information. If they made the information too easily available, then those that do care about having to waste time looking for coupons, and normally wouldn't bother, would start getting the discounts as well and Dell would not make as much money. And you wouldn't have the satisfaction of finding a great hidden deal :)

Doesn't really justify Twitter. (5, Insightful)

owlnation (858981) | more than 4 years ago | (#28322217)

So what? Dell has effective marketing people. Why is this news?

They are simply milking an overhyped communication medium, one where there are doubtless many easily influenced and gullible users -- their gullibility being the reason they are using Twitter in the first place.

Twitter made nothing from this. Twitter makes nothing at all -- other than an enormous amount of hot air. Sure, companies like Dell should ride the gravy train while it's still on the tracks, but it won't last. just like it didn't with Myspace, AOL, Facebook etc, etc, etc...

And if anything else, the more companies using Twitter to market themselves the even less cool and useful Twitter will be to the few who use it. It will die faster.

They are still bleeding more users than they retain, this kind of thing will only make it worse.

Re:Doesn't really justify Twitter. (2, Insightful)

FooBarWidget (556006) | more than 4 years ago | (#28322375)

I think you are missing the point of Twitter, therefore you are doing your best to paint it off as "hot air" and "overhyped" even when it has real value.

Re:Doesn't really justify Twitter. (2, Interesting)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 4 years ago | (#28322411)

So, what IS the point?

Re:Doesn't really justify Twitter. (1)

FooBarWidget (556006) | more than 4 years ago | (#28322477)

Re:Doesn't really justify Twitter. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28322973)

So... Twitter's purpose is a means for businesses to get feedback? Yeah, I don't think that's it...

Re:Doesn't really justify Twitter. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28323821)

You didnt describe what Twiter is for, you described what you use it for.
It's the same as pointing at 3 million made by Dell and saying we found the purpose of Twitter :P

Re:Doesn't really justify Twitter. (1)

FooBarWidget (556006) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324955)

Yes I did. What's your point? I've never claimed that Twitter is useful for everybody, I'm just claiming that Twitter is not useless to everybody, which is in contract to what Slashdotters like to claim, i.e. that it's a fad and has absolutely no value to anybody whatsoever.

Re:Doesn't really justify Twitter. (4, Insightful)

krinderlin (1212738) | more than 4 years ago | (#28323087)

In the most recent issue of Time Magazine, the cover story is all about Twitter and what it is. I really enjoy this quote from the article:

For as long as we've had the Internet in our homes, critics have bemoaned the demise of shared national experiences, like moon landings and "Who Shot J.R." cliff hangers—the folkloric American living room, all of us signing off in unison with Walter Cronkite, shattered into a million isolation booths. But watch a live mass-media event with Twitter open on your laptop and you'll see that the futurists had it wrong. We still have national events, but now when we have them, we're actually having a genuine, public conversation with a group that extends far beyond our nuclear family and our next-door neighbors. Some of that conversation is juvenile, of course, just as it was in our living room when we heckled Richard Nixon's Checkers speech. But some of it is moving, witty, observant, subversive.

Steven Johnson.. How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live. TIME. June 15, 2009. Pg 35

I remember doing exactly this while watching the recent inauguration while tracking #obama and a few other hashtags in my TweetDeck. I had one of those moments, that I hope all people involved in the development and leverage of technology, where I was just in awe of what I saw.

Twitter is not a new idea, and it will probably not last very long. I saw it likened to IRC elsewhere on this thread. It is, in a way. However, instead of IRC with several channels, we just send all the messages together and allow the user to filter them however they see fit. Furthermore, this filtering gives a whole new way to find someone talking about a topic right now.

Another moment I like to talk about is when I posted to Twitter how I was going over to a close friend's house. He had asked me to bring over a bottle of Vodka. Not two minutes later, I got an @ reply from Pinnacle Vodka, saying that they hoped it was good news and to try out their brand of vodka. I picked up a few shots of it on my way out the door at the liquor store. I appreciate that sort of relevant advertising. Obviously, I was looking for a bottle of vodka right then and I received a suggestion for a particular brand. I like it far better than Facebook reminding me that my profile says I'm single by flashing single's dating sites all over it's pages for me.

To be fair, there are horror stories. My friend posted that she was going to go on a diet. Afterward, she suddenly had 40 new followers. All of them were accounts with 2 to 3 tweets with links to various diet plans. Twitter has since removed all 40 accounts, as she diligently reported all of them for spamming. Twitter still has some work to do to differentiate itself as a viable, highly targeted, and powerful advertising medium.

Twitter has changed the game both for the users and the advertisers, and I think it's for the better. Twitter may be gone in 4 years, but the rules they've changed will probably persist in this form for some time beyond that.

Social fad? Possibly. Game changer? Definitely. That's the point of Twitter.

Re:Doesn't really justify Twitter. (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 4 years ago | (#28322481)

Twitter isn't the same as Myspace, AOL, Facebook, etc. Twitter doesn't have a revenue stream except their funding from the VCs. The other companies you name do or at least did at one time where Twitter is .com 2.0.

One factual error that you made is that you've implied that Facebook has peaked, they haven't peaked yet by any measure I've found, at least not yet, it is still growing.: http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/facebook.com [alexa.com]

Probably no web service will be popular for the long term, that's not a measure of anything because all things will come to an end, web services doubly so. I wouldn't doubt that Slashdot is down a lot from its peak as well, it's not a top 100 site anymore like I recall it was at one time, not even top 1000. The web changes so much so quickly that almost no one can predict what is going to be next.

How do they plan to charge businesses? (2, Insightful)

basementman (1475159) | more than 4 years ago | (#28322225)

Charging businesses as a way of monetizing twitter just doesn't make sense. First, how do you determine just who exactly is a business. Do you only include Dell right alongside mom and pop stores? Secondly the only reason the Dell is raking in the cash is because it offers exclusive deals, which it happens to put on twitter. If they did the same thing on FaceBook, or any other platform, I imagine they would have similar results.

Re:How do they plan to charge businesses? (3, Interesting)

c_forq (924234) | more than 4 years ago | (#28322569)

I don't know if I agree. Twitter is kind of odd, its not like facebook or e-mail. It is as personal as a text message, yet as easily to ignore as a blog. It is also great to see not only what is going on in the world, but what people think about what is going on. This shows there is definitely value for twitter, and like you I agree they can't charge for commercial tweets, but I think there are many other options for them to make money (most likely through premium services, maybe allow longer posts at 5c an additional character, or more a more customizable profile for X dollars, or maybe customer leads based on their user data).

Re:How do they plan to charge businesses? (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 4 years ago | (#28322797)

I don't know if I agree. Twitter is kind of odd, its not like facebook or e-mail. It is as personal as a text message, yet as easily to ignore as a blog.

That doesn't make much sense. How is a text message more personal than email? They're both just plain text that can be addressed to as few as one or as many as millions of people. You could probably argue that email is more personal, because it allows the communication of much more information, thought, feeling, opinion, etc.

maybe allow longer posts at 5c an additional character

Unless they split the message or somehow convince the telecommunication companies to overhaul the SMS system, that isn't really possible.

Re:How do they plan to charge businesses? (1)

c_forq (924234) | more than 4 years ago | (#28323403)

How is a text message more personal than email?

I don't know about you, but I don't get any spam via text, nor do I do any business via text. If I have a text, I know it is from a friend. It is immediate, I don't have to launch an app or log in. Maybe it is just my generation, but I have experienced a social ladder of communications (e-mail or facebook message for acquaintances, texting for friends, phone calls for good friends).

THEY HAVE MONEY!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28322251)

TAKE IT FOR THE CHILDREN!!!!!

This post is endorsed by the Democratic National Committee.

Sweet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28322287)

So basically, Dell made 0,024% of all its sales from Twitter. Yeah, what a colossal success Twitter seems to be for businesses. Posting AC because I don't feel like taking a hit from the web 2.0 crowd tonight.

Re:Sweet (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 4 years ago | (#28323191)

0,024% = 24% thats huge! If only as a spelling mistake.

But I agree, Dell could probably make the same percentage advertising on bathroom walls, if not more... they probably make about the same from product placement in movies... it would be far more impressive to hear of a small business that doesn't have the 15 years or so of previous advertising and marketing, that's doing well relying on Twitvertising alone.

Re:Sweet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28323343)

0,024% = 24% thats huge! If only as a spelling mistake.

Or he's from Europe where a comma is used instead of a period. Try plugging 0,024% into Google.

Re:Sweet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28328807)

Correct my adorable AC.

An admission of guilt? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28322331)

"Dell has admitted to raking in over $3 million from advertising its products on Twitter."

"Admitted"? What a curious choice of words, almost as if there were something wrong with a business making money! So Dell found a new way to boost sales. Good for them! I'm sure their stockholders appreciate the effort, even if /. doesn't.

Twitter IS a good marketing tool (4, Interesting)

FooBarWidget (556006) | more than 4 years ago | (#28322355)

As a software development company, we regularly use Twitter to see what people think of our software and try to improve it based on the feedback on Twitter. Twitter has also been a tremendous help in spreading our news announcements throughout the community. The business value is huge.

Each time I'm baffled by how Slashdotters totally miss the point of Twitter, and try to paint it off as a useless website with no substance. It isn't about whether blogs/mailing lists/email/etc are better communication tools.

Re:Twitter IS a good marketing tool (2, Insightful)

jo42 (227475) | more than 4 years ago | (#28322395)

We're sure you get in-depth and very useful feedback in 140 characters or less. Why don't you setup an online support forum for that kind of dialog with your customers?

Re:Twitter IS a good marketing tool (4, Interesting)

FooBarWidget (556006) | more than 4 years ago | (#28322459)

There already is a support forum. There already is a bug tracker. Why do you think I still take the time to search Twitter for feedback?

It usually goes like this. Somebody posts a complaint about Twitter, something like "Software XXX sucks, it says 'YYY', WTF?"
These people are obviously too frustrated to take the time to ask something on the support forum. So instead of waiting for them to file a bug, I actively help them by providing a solution, or by asking them for more information. 9 out of 10 times they respond positively with more details. These are all feedback that we would never have gathered using just the support forum and the bug tracker.

The fact that you mentioned the 140 characters limit already shows that you are totally missing the point. It is not the technology that matters, it's the social aspect. The 140 characters limit is irrelevant.

Re:Twitter IS a good marketing tool (1)

kramerd (1227006) | more than 4 years ago | (#28322791)

You just admitted that the 140 character list does matter. If 9 out of 10 responses require more information, clearly twitter is not a useful communication medium.

These people are obviously too lazy to take the time to ask something on the support forum. FTFY.

Stop catering to the lowest common denominator and you can actually spend time improving performance instead of fixing problems that I'm guessing users could solve more quickly and efficiently through the support forum and bug tracker.

Business value isnt about the individual complaint; its about problems and tweaks that affect large groups of users.

Re:Twitter IS a good marketing tool (1)

MrZaius (321037) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324063)

Business value isnt about the individual complaint; its about problems and tweaks that affect large groups of users.

I call BS. If the parent poster can spare time to do this, it's a great thing. When I see this sort of proactive and aggressive outreach from customer service and developers at a firm that makes a product I'm looking at, I am much, much more likely to do business with them. Seems like common sense, and a fairly straightforward extension of the trend in the same direction long seen on myriad reviewer & feedback engines (ala Newegg, eBay, Amazon, etc) and other high-visibility forums as well. At least a couple of them maintain a similar character limit, to boot.

On a related note, the customer has every right to be lazy enough to not want to create yet-another-account on yet-another-bugzilla-install just because some lazy developer doesn't feel like hooking into an open authentication network ala OpenID.

Re:Twitter IS a good marketing tool (0, Flamebait)

kramerd (1227006) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324109)

Not only did you comment on a portion of my comment rather than the content of it, you are illiterate and a liar.

The point you quoted from me is valid, business value isn't about individuals, its about issues that affect large groups of users.

Meanwhile, the things that make Amazon, eBay, and Newegg great are not based on twitter.

Amazon is great because there is free shipping, most items are in stock, and individual issues are corrected through a feedback system, not through twitter.

Newegg has great prices on electronic components, not twitter,

eBay sucks, but not because of twitter, but because of bad customer service. You can't give anonymous feedback on sellers, so if you point out that you were shipped broken items and didnt get your money back, and that it took 9 weeks when you paid for 3 day shipping, you get bad feedback from the seller.

Developers for profitable companies don't use OpenID because most customers don't know what it is or how to use it.

Re:Twitter IS a good marketing tool (1)

MrZaius (321037) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324373)

Wow. Overreact much? You made three points I disagreed with and wrote about, and completely misunderstood what I said. I was writing about vendors responding to reviews on those sites, not the sites themselves. Very public responses to individual customer complaints on neutral ground/away from their own sites obviously yields some value.

Reading-challenged pot, meet kettle.

Re:Twitter IS a good marketing tool (1)

nausea_malvarma (1544887) | more than 4 years ago | (#28322443)

Business value != communication value.

Re:Twitter IS a good marketing tool (1)

FooBarWidget (556006) | more than 4 years ago | (#28322491)

With better communication I can improve user satisfaction. With better feedback I can improve my products. What part of this isn't business value? I think you're just in denial because you personally don't like Twitter.

Re:Twitter IS a good marketing tool (1)

nausea_malvarma (1544887) | more than 4 years ago | (#28323075)

Thank you for assuming what I like.

Look, twitter is a great way for businesses to communicate directly with their customers, learn about their needs and tastes, and project a caring public image. But twitter needs to have value to non-businesses as well, to attract those customers in the first place. Otherwise, Twitter will become a ghost town with companies advertising to nobody. Right now, twitter is doing a fine job attracting regular people to its service, but we must understand why they are signing up with twitter, and how they use their accounts before we can say twitter is a success.

In otherwords, twitter has value to people with businesses, but that isn't the same has having value to anyone who wants to communicate.

Re:Twitter IS a good marketing tool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28322653)

I am not sure how good a marketing tool it is. After all, most users are not that active. Apparently top-10% (which translates to 115K users) are responsible for 86% of all activity [sysomos.com] based on the survey of 11.5M users.

Re:Twitter IS a good marketing tool (1)

FooBarWidget (556006) | more than 4 years ago | (#28322785)

I wouldn't dare to claim that Twitter is a good general-purpose marketing tool. But in my field, Twitter's added value is tremendous. This is in stark contrast to what most Slashdotters claim: that Twitter has absolutely no value for anyone and that it is nothing but hot air.

Re:Twitter IS a good marketing tool (1)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 4 years ago | (#28337941)

The only person I've seen saying that over and over on slashdot is YOU. Most everyone else either uses it or doesn't care.

Re:Twitter IS a good marketing tool (1)

FooBarWidget (556006) | more than 4 years ago | (#28338995)

Right, so all those "andnotinhofvaluewaslost" tags and "hot air" claims don't mean that Slashotters think it's useless for everyone huh?

Re:Twitter IS a good marketing tool (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 4 years ago | (#28322807)

It isn't about whether blogs/mailing lists/email/etc are better communication tools.

Then what is it about? Specifically, what can Twitter do that regular mass email can't?

Re:Twitter IS a good marketing tool (1)

FooBarWidget (556006) | more than 4 years ago | (#28325009)

That question of your is like asking "what can Python do that assembly cannot?" The answer is nothing: both are turing complete. The question in itself misses the point.

For Python, it's productivity and being able to think and write on a higher level. Twitter is for posting all the small things that you'd normally not bother posting on a blog, such as a one-line feedback about a movie, on-line frustration about some new software you're using, or just what you're currently up to.

What's the point of all this and what's the value of on-liner messages? Let me ask you this then: are only multi-paragraph essays worth posting? Should people refrain from posting one-liners? Are small chit-chat and worth-of-mouth in real life - the closes IRL equivalent of Twitter - useless as well?

Re:Twitter IS a good marketing tool (1)

Braino420 (896819) | more than 4 years ago | (#28323323)

As a software development company, we regularly use Twitter to see what people think of our software and try to improve it based on the feedback on Twitter. Twitter has also been a tremendous help in spreading our news announcements throughout the community. The business value is huge.

I've heard that Site Catalyst does the same thing as your company, and those in our company that work with it have been trained to use Twitter instead of filing a formal help request. Not only do we get faster responses from Twitter, but this has the added benefit of not costing us our support time. This is what you're encouraging.

Each time I'm baffled by how Slashdotters totally miss the point of Twitter, and try to paint it off as a useless website with no substance.

The value you get out of it has no point for me; I don't want to bitch about people's products over the web and I don't work for a company that would benefit from scouring Twitter looking for whiners. Maybe others feel the same way.

How does this bolster anything? (1)

mehtajr (718558) | more than 4 years ago | (#28322455)

$3 million in revenue from Twitter in the last two years, versus what I count as roughly $100 billion in revenue over the past two years [wolframalpha.com] for Dell. That's not enough to qualify as a drop in the bucket. If I were Dell, I would laugh in Twitter's face if they demanded money-- they'd probably generate just as many sales by slipping fliers under people's windshields in parking lots.

Re:How does this bolster anything? (3, Interesting)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#28323025)

That may have been 3 million in sales they wouldn't have had otherwise and setting up a twitter account is free so I don't see how it's a bad thing.

What exactly is twitter? (3, Interesting)

V50 (248015) | more than 4 years ago | (#28322505)

Despite all this talk of Twitter, I still haven't figured out what, if anything, Twitter actually is. The two main descriptions that keep recurring are:

A reimplementation of IRC over HTML and
A site where people talk about how great Twitter is, and occasionally panic over current events

Does that pretty much sum Twitter for non, uh, twits up?

Re:What exactly is twitter? (1)

FooBarWidget (556006) | more than 4 years ago | (#28322573)

I think Twitter can be best summed up as a tool with which people can spread short messages about what's on their mind. The "short" here is important:
- It's similar to how many people put their mood or most recent activities in their MSN nick names, but more convenient.
- Posting a message has an extremely low barrier. It's much easier to Twitter a message than to write an email, to post a forum message or to file a bug report.

One would probably not understand the point of Twitter until one has seen how other people use it. Some of my non-IT/geeky/nerdy friends use Twitter to keep each other up to date about what they're up to. For example Joe (fictional name) went to a concert. Before Twitter, he'd just change his MSN* nickname to something like "Joe | Convert XXX was great, artist YYY rocks your socks off". Today he'd post a Twitter message.

* MSN is the dominant IM program in this country.

So what's the point in using Twitter? For you, probably nothing. For many other people? A lot.

Re:What exactly is twitter? (1)

MorePower (581188) | more than 4 years ago | (#28323813)

That description both enlightened me and confused me more (as someone who has never used twitter and doesn't know how it works).

I get why MSN(or whatever IM) greetings are useful, they throw potential conversation topics up so you can ask your friends "How was your trip down to San Diego?" or "Are you still swamped at work with that project?" because you know what they've been up to recently by casually scanning the contact list whenever you happen to be on.

But I'm also more confused now, Twitter uses SMS messages, right? I wouldn't want my phone beeping at me all day and night demanding my attention everytime someone I know in Malaysia changes their status from "Feeling sick today" to "Feeling a bit better now"

Re:What exactly is twitter? (1)

FooBarWidget (556006) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324923)

You can use SMS messages but don't have to. I know you can use SMS to post but not whether you can use SMS to read. I've never used the SMS gateway though.

As for me, I use it to gather feedback about my software. A lot of my users are using Twitter, and it's great for gathering the small on-line feedbacks that people would normally not bother to post on a support forum or a bug tracker.

Re:What exactly is twitter? (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 4 years ago | (#28325037)

OK, Now I know for sure I am getting old.

Although even in the past I would never have bothered people telling them what I was doing at what moment. If you wanted to know you could ask (afterwards) and then I could tell you or not, depending who you were. Also I do not tend to call people I have never met in person 'friends' and even many people I did meet IRL are often more "acquaintances" then friends.

What I would be doing when would be nobodies business. That is what we called "privacy". With shows like "Big Brother", "The Osbournes", "The apprentice" and all that kind of shows where we must see what others are doing. Also with all the camera's and constant surveillance, many people think that the only thing what privacy is, is what you do at home behind closed curtains.

The next step will be that closing those curtains means you have something to hide.

Big Brother (as in the book) is not forced upon us, apparently we are begging for it. Probably because it give the false presence of safety and belonging. Twitter is just another stone in the wall.

Re:What exactly is twitter? (1)

FooBarWidget (556006) | more than 4 years ago | (#28325213)

Yeah I don't see many people above 40 using Twitter this way, but a lot of young people in their 20s use it.

However, Twitter is not used purely to communicate with strangers online. More often than not, I see people using Twitter to communicate with people they already know in real life. Twitter becomes an extension to real life, not an alternative to real life.

Re:What exactly is twitter? (1)

cupantae (1304123) | more than 4 years ago | (#28322627)

The hell? What do you mean "if anything"? It doesn't matter if it's not a madly revolutionary concept or technical advancement.

It always annoys me to hear people who know a bit about technology pointing out that something that's become popular isn't all that new an idea. It doesn't matter. What matters is that it is at least SOMEWHAT different to everything else. It could be the popularity or the layout or the logo. It doesn't matter what it is.

In this case, you're just so wrong it's a bit surprising. The difference between Twitter and IRC is massive. Maybe technically they're similar, but to the end user, they're not at all. The thing that people like about it is that you just go and post what you want to say to the world and let whoever wants to hear it hear. It's far more like facebook than IRC.

Re:What exactly is twitter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28322727)

A reimplementation of IRC over HTML

Quite close except that there are more chicks [sysomos.com] on Twitter than IRC.

Re:What exactly is twitter? (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 4 years ago | (#28322829)

It's quite simple. It's a way for lots of people to have their own mailing lists, except it uses SMS messages instead of normal SMTP email. Other than that, and the obvious character limit that's part of SMS, it does absolutely nothing that mailing lists don't do.

Re:What exactly is twitter? (1)

eloki (29152) | more than 4 years ago | (#28330211)

A lot of Slashdotters seem to ascribe no value to Twitter, or maybe they're just more vocal. Here's my experience, and a general comment on the social media scorn we read here.

Like perhaps many geeks/nerds I'm not a very social person, but I used a Twitter client that let me see messages from people in my local area (Sydney), much like an IRC channel except people write from places other than home/work. After a while of reading and occasional replying I found it quite enjoyable, followed a bunch and and managed to become somewhat friends with some.

There's no fundamental difference between IRC, a forum, Facebook or Twitter; they are all mediums of socialising. Slashdotters laugh at the last two because they are seen as "not special", which is true, but not the same as being "of no value". My local Thai restaurant is nothing special but that doesn't mean it has no value.

On Facebook, I understand the scorn that you don't want to be friends with classmates you never cared about then or now. But you don't have to use it for that, so it's like complaining that you don't like pad thai (I don't) so why go to a Thai restaurant? One of the reasons Facebook provides groups, fan pages and even apps is to provide other ways for you to interact with users. Yes some of those apps (like the quiz ones) are VERY annoying, but a small number of apps have been pretty fun and addictive (generally trading games) and I've made a few more online Facebook friends that way, people who I otherwise would never have met or interacted with.

It has been ephemeral, some of those people I don't talk to much anymore. But that is just like IRC and real life, where some of my friendships have lapsed over the years and new ones have taken their place. People move in and out of our lives, and Facebook and Twitter are just another ordinary way for this to happen. They are not worthy of the hype, but neither are they worthy of the derision.

Re:What exactly is twitter? (1)

Conficio (832978) | more than 4 years ago | (#28335379)

Twitter is technically SMS on the Internet.

For the layman it is subscription to telegrams. Imagine instead a publisher who publishes only telegrams of less than 140 characters, instead of whole articles or a magazine. And you can write back to the editor in 140 chars or less. It so happens that you can get these messages forwarded to your cell-phone and also send them from there. So it opens up some billions of users who don't have personal Internet access but carry a cell phone with unlimited texting/SMS or simply are not at a computer at the moment.

That is all there is to it and like a roller coaster you don't really know what it is unless you tried it.

High technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28322555)

"...and employs proprietary software to track sales from users clicking through from Twitter links."

Wow, knowing which link someone clicked on to get to your site? That sounds magical!

Why is this in the summary? (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#28322701)

and employs proprietary software to track sales from users clicking through from Twitter links

Seems like its only purpose is to invoke an anti-Dell sentiment by linking them to evil proprietary software.

The manner of their advertising (1)

rpillala (583965) | more than 4 years ago | (#28325883)

Also consider that if the article is correct, Dell is doing this advertising completely within the Twitter rules and even the twitter mission. These are small, informative ads that are visible only to parties who have opted in. If Dell was spam creating users and following them as a way to push information to users, that would be different.

Adding a paid service for some place like Dell would just muddy the waters. It would only lead to feature creep.

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...