You know what, Twitter can actually be useful

Despite the noise and nonsensical hash tags, Twitter actually does contain some useful information. You just need the tools to find it.

When Repustate first opened its doors, we saw a lot of content coming from established media sources. The overwhelming majority of content being pushed through our API by our developer partners came from sites like the New York Times and TechCrunch. But for the social marketer out there, the true value lies in analyzing the user generated mediums, namely Facebook and Twitter.

Some brands use their Twitter feeds as complements to their RSS feed (wrong!), while some celebrities use it to connect with their fan base and establish a more personal connection (right!). But from my personal experience with Twitter, both as a user and as a lurker, its actual use and its potential utility were two completely different things.

By and large Twitter is a ghetto of content. Annoying chain-letter-like-tweets that play on some hash tag subculture (e.g. #thingsyouhateinthemorning) dominate the public stream. Throw in some slang and poor spelling, and you have a breeding area for incomprehensible dialogue.

But lo and behold, if you’re searching for very specific items, even amongst the sea of crap, you will find some gold. And that’s what we’ve uncovered the past few weeks. Twitter users occasionally produce nuggets of information that a social media marketer would love to know. Complaints about products, feature requests, product comparisons, and opinion mining from their social network are quite commonplace on Twitter. It’s quite stunning and eye opening to see that Twitter is evolving into a focus group that is ripe for dissection.

The ability to create strategic and highly targeted direct marketing campaigns is greatly increased as a result of the information that people volunteer about themselves and the products they buy. The next step for Repustate is to extract the value, organize it, and present it in such a way that the transition from discovery to action is as quick and seamless as possible.