It all started with a conversation over lunch with some local IT industry people a few days ago. Out of curiosity, I asked them how they got their quota of daily IT news.
Many said they relied on newsletters and RSS feeds, including ours, which was good to know. Some said that they visited business newspaper websites, both local and global.
One of them said he used Twitter to keep track of the breaking news in the IT industry in specific and business in general. I was impressed.
Then he asked me if we offered MIS Asia through Twitter. Nope, not yet, I had to admit.
I had known about Twitter ever since it was launched but was not sure about its popularity in Asia. This was even before people in Asia became addicted to their Facebook pages! This was Asia, where most newspapers in even in a developed country such as Singapore had discovered blogging only a few months ago. In India (I track Indian media closely), most newspapers and magazines have just discovered blogging or are still happy with having good old columns on their websites. This was unlike the US or Europe, where all leading newspapers and magazines had blogs and even Twitter pages (such as Time, Newsweek, The Guardian, The New York Times, Computerworld, etc.).
In Asia, I found that many people still dont understand the concept and value of Twitter. In many parts of the world, the elite as well as the celebs have taken to Twitter now. Even John McCain, 2008 Republican nominee for US president, tweets!
Twitter has recently made many headlines. A few weeks ago, when Hollywood actor Ashton Kutcher posted semi-nude pictures of his actress wife Demi Moore on Twitter, he implored his followers: please, dont tell wifey! A few days ago, Demi Moore replied to a death threat on Twitter by asking, really! Back home, Bollywood superstars Aamir Khan and Shahrukh Khan are on Twitter (hope they are not fakes!). Even new age guru Deepak Chopra tweets!
BBC had used Twitter to cover US president Barack Obamas election campaign. In the recently concluded G20 Summit in London, many publications had their staff provide summit updates via Twitter. So, Twitter is here in a big way. Like Asia took a while to get on the Facebook bandwagon, it might take some time before micro-blogging becomes popular in Asia too.
In this scenario, we too decided to take the plunge. Our Twitter homepage is http://twitter.com/MISAsia.
Come join us on Twitter! I promise you will not regret it.
Zafar Anjum is the online editor of MIS Asia portal.
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