As twitter becomes mainstream in terms of recognition by the great masses, it has inevitably become a target for marketeers and spammers alike. When I first started using twitter, one of the most impressive things about it was the real time responses you could receive to support your use of web 2 technologies. Tweet ‘why is adobe buzzword making all my fonts look wierd’ and within minutes you would get an @reply from adobe offering help. This intelligent use of searches on keywords by companies for support is a great use of twitter. It felt personal.
More recently this seems to have been superseded by a network response, for example I just tweeted about posting something to the wrong blog in wordpress and I got two @replies from people in my network followed by a retweet from the wordpress hash account (#wp). I wondered if companies have found this model unsustainable since the twitter user base has grown so rapidly in the last couple of months.
At the beginning of this academic year, we tried supporting undergraduate students on twitter. There was a handful of students who used twitter and joined in our conversation. It was manageable and I would like think we provided personal, meaningful responses. I wonder what will happen when the new academic year comes around? Will we be able to replicate this support system if every student is twittering? Would we want to? Just as I hate being followed by random people just because I used a particular keyword, will students resent being followed by university staff?