Is Twitter a strategy, a tactic or the next Second Life?

I was witness to a phenomenal Hoola-hoop performance at a middle school talent show.  The incredible sixth grader did a routine including putting on a soccer uniform, complete with shin guards, doing some fancy footwork with the soccer ball and balancing more than a dozen hoola-hoops to the tune of “You’ve got to move it, move it” from the Madagascar sound-track.

Remember the hoola-hoop?  I do and it was a global fad before I was even born.  Like all fads it was eventually replaced by a new one.  But unlike some fads it had a second life. More than 50 years later its still around.

Second Life?  Remember than phenom?  Cover of Business Week!  This was going to change everything.  Virtual meetings, virtual collaboration, virtual storefronts, virtual banking. There was a land rush from Adidas, Wells Fargo, Wired Magazine, Reuters, H&R Block, Reebok, Dell, IBM, Sony/BMG and on and on and on.


The story that launched Second Life

The story that launched Second Life

Forrester recently declared Second Life as virtually abandoned by major corporations with the possible exception of IBM.  Oh, its still around.  Just not quite the way anyone expected.

Which brings us to Twitter.  Is twitter the next Hoola Hoop?  A big fad that will fade away?  A big difference is that the Hoola Hoop was profitable right from the start.  And the company created the Frisbee as a follow-up.  Wham-o!

As for Twitter, the business plan is still a work in progress.

So next on the list?  iPhone Apps anyone?

The lesson for marketers is that these are tactics, not strategies.  Maybe good for some short-term PR.  You need a strategic framework to evaluate the new tactics, to see which make sense and which don’t.  

And the lesson for start-ups is that you need a business plan.

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