I’ve become a huge Twitter addict. You can follow me via @TheDisneyBlog on Twitter. What is Twitter? It’s a micro-blogging (or nano-blogging) system where you leave ‘Tweets’ in 140 characters or less. User names always start with the at symbol (@). The result is very conversational in tone, but also well suited to breaking news and spreading information via links. Learn more about Twitter here and here.
Twitter, or similar micro-blogging technologies like Pownce or Jaiku, seems to have great potential for use by a company like The Walt Disney Company. In the parks they could provide ‘traffic’ reports with current line waits, restaurants with open seats, even ‘on the spot’ coupons. All you have to do as a guest is follow the parks and resorts you’re planning on visiting that day. In return Disney might take ‘poll’ information or provide trivia or other information via direct messages. Via Pownce Disney could even deliver custom games, wallpapers, and other downloads to the guests who followed them.
In movies or TV Disney could use Twitter to provide news, trivia, and countdowns leading up to the premier of a movie or the broadcast of a show (a LOST ARG comes to mind here). ABC News and ESPN could use Twitter for breaking news, live blogging, and more. The possibilities are just beginning to be explored. It’s also a very affordable way of marketing involving basically labor costs alone.
As far as I know Disney is not currently using Twitter in any of these ways. @ABCNews is owned by ABC Australia (not a Disney company). Sadly, there is someone sitting on the key Twitter names for Disney with an email for Disney to contact them, presumably to buy those names. They’ve even scored ‘@TheView’. I’ve heard that the folks who run Twitter are willing to turn over names that are not being actively used. Most of Disney’s competitors in the world of news are already using Twitter.
There is one official use of Twitter by Disney that I’ve been able to find. It’s actually the fine folks who run housing for the Walt Disney World College Program cast members @DisneyHousing. They’ve been Twittering tips, news, and announcements for WDWCP members since October. A great use that’s targeted right at the audience most likely to be using Twitter right now, college students. With a fresh crew of WDWCP members in town, let’s hope they keep it up.
Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the community of Disney fans who are populating the twitterverse in ever growing numbers. Most seem to be centered around the Disney Podcast Network @DizPodDir and @tvkirby are two good people to start following. You can also do a search on Tweetscan for keywords and then track them via RSS. Something I’ve used to find great stories for The Disney Blog.