Thursday, 11 February 2010

Twitter: not as daft as it sounds

Many years ago when I was in advertising we worked for a young American computer company that was just launching in the UK. They were called Dell Computers. Most of us had never even seen a computer before, let alone used one. We all had a new PC delivered so we could try it out. It seems strange now, but we hadn’t a clue what to do with the things!

We did, however, solemnly recommend to this company that they should change the name for the UK launch. As if talking to Martians, we told them about the UK TV programme “Only Fools and Horses” and Del Boy. They thanked us for our recommendation and politely said that they would launch under the name Dell anyway. It was, they quietly pointed out, the name of their founder.

We hadn’t met Michael Dell, only seen pictures of this slightly geeky looking youngster. And of course we didn’t have a crystal ball to see into the future. That geeky looking youngster has now given such mighty names as IBM, HP, Compaq and others a good run for their motherboards, and come out ahead. I blush to think how unwise we must have sounded to them.

We did, however, play an important part in them getting established, and I am proud of that.

Another name that I originally thought didn’t sound too sensible at first is Twitter. I was introduced to it by a good friend and showed the same wisdom by looking at her as if she were insane.

This pointless, alien tool has now become an extremely useful part of my business life in keeping up to date with performance measurement thinking. I’ve linked up with like-minded individuals (if there is such a thing) and wouldn’t be without it. I believe Barak Obama found it a rather useful tool on his journey to the White House. I follow my local MP and Councillors on Twitter and Eurostar got roundly criticised by not making good enough use of it during their snow-trains crisis.

So the point of this ramble? I’ll be keeping more of an open mind in future, as I tend to look a bit of a twit when it comes to future-gazing.

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