Twitter Strength of Weak Ties

4868 words 20 pages
The strength of weak ties
Amardeep Virk

I have more than a thousand friends, can tell you what Shaquille O’Neal and Paris Hilton are thinking of right now and got my last job without ever having applied for it. No, I’m not a celebrity or a multi-millionaire. I’m a citizen of the newly ‘flattened’ world [ (Friedman, 2007) ] and an avid user of Social Networking Sites (SNS’s). SNS’s such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are rewriting the way individuals communicate and express themselves. With the help of Web 2.0 tools such as blogs, wikis, mashups and other social websites, new and creative ways of communication are being developed, transgressing geographic and cultural boundaries (Fu et al., 2007) [ (IBM,
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While most organisations see eWOM as an important tool for brand management, very few understand how to capitalise on it [ (Goldman, 2008) ]. This is where Twitter fits in.
Twitter, directly impacts eWOM because it allows individuals to share their thoughts on any subject, from anywhere, to almost anyone online. Also, these messages are forever stored in the digital world allowing anyone to access and retrieve them. Moreover, the short length of the ‘tweets’ offers a concise message that is both easy to produce and consume. In short, Twitter offers a medium of communication that is “immediate, ubiquitous and scalable” (Jansen et al., 2009). Thus, Twitter provides individuals with a medium to voice their immediate sentiments regarding a product or service and greatly affect another individual who may be at the critical junction of evaluation and purchasing. Organisations have begun to understand the importance of this and have started embracing Twitter. A survey by SHIFT Interactive, an Australia-based media strategy company, found that nearly 180 airlines around the world are now ‘tweeting’ [ (, 2010) ]. One the best example of the influence of Twitter on eWOM was on display when David Parks, a victim of a missed connection flight, tweeted his frustration online. Within a few hours of his two posts, an


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