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DMA 2011: Twitter's value is the power of 'flocking,' says Stone

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Boston—“The mechanization of 'flocking' is rudimentary with birds and fish, with the behavior of one influencing all the others,” said Biz Stone, co-founder and creative director of Twitter Inc., in his keynote address today at the Direct Marketing Association's annual convention and expo here. “We had never seen that before with humans, but it's what is so incredibly powerful about Twitter.” Stone, addressing the DMA:2011 audience virtually via live video feed from his Berkeley, Calif., home, said the initial reaction to the tool was poor when it debuted in 2006. But its value to marketers became apparent as a means of developing closer relationships with customers, as well as listening to their products' impact on users. “Marketers were among the first to jump on Twitter and show us its potential value in making customers' experiences better,” Stone said. “Customers are looking beyond gaining the basic information about a product. They want to know there is some context, meaning and depth to the products they're choosing because there is so much choice.” “This is inspiring to me, and can be made stronger by the use of social media,” he said. The virtual Stone was joined on stage by video blogger and social evangelist Gary Vaynerchuk for an interactive discussion on social marketing trends. “People may have first thought Twitter was silly, but it's the greatest listening tool in the world today,” Vaynerchuk said. “Twitter.com/search is maybe the most important marketing website in the world.” Vaynerchuk said the principal errors social marketers make are “[to] talk rather than listen; acting like a 19-year-old "dude'; and trying to close on the first engagement.” Stone agreed, adding: “Once people were on the network, marketers could look at what was being said about their products and what keywords were being searched for. It's really fascinating to see marketers type their brands into Twitter and see their reaction. Then, after you know the conversation, you can slip right into a relevant stream and add meaningfully to it.” Attendance at the DMA 2011 conference and expo is expected to hit about 6,400 today, according to DMA registration personnel, although the association is hoping to reach a total of 10,000 by the time the event ends Oct. 6. There are 350 exhibitors.
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