We can understand that sales reps may be skeptical about the value of Twitter, the microblog that allows users to broadcast what they are doing via “tweets,” or messages of up to 140 characters.
Twitter, which launched in March 2006, still hasn’t made a red cent (several revenue models are now being considered, e.g. subscription services) but remains the poster child for social media. A good deal of the media coverage of Twitter has focused on how it is influencing social dynamics as well as the narcissistic component (nobody needs to know that Joe Blow had a cheeseburger at 1:30 in the morning and it tasted delicious).
However, proponents have also made a case that Twitter is a legitimate business tool and one that companies ignore at their own peril. That argument gets a significant boost in this Wall Street Journal item. A triumvirate of academics and business analysts write that by paying attention to comments on Twitter, companies can predict where future sales are heading and help executives make more accurate decisions about whether to increase inventories. The article includes a video featuring one of the authors on how companies should respond to negative Twitter feedback and links for further reading on the (increasing) social side of business.