by Martin Veitch

‘Twitter for business’: Reed tests’s Chatter

Feb 28, 2010
IT Strategy

Being a simple bloke, I’m a big fan of Twitter as a simple way to air simple views. My only surprise is that the company is missing out on what may well be the big revenue source for this sort of tool — B2B.

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting the CIO of Reed Exhibitions, Dominic Shine. I’ll write up more soon but one of Dominic’s most interesting ongoing projects is a pilot of’s Chatter to “create global industry groups for sharing ideas”. So far, it’s an internal project but Dominic is interested in the idea of bringing value-chain partners to the party.

Chatter is effectively an enterprise version of Twitter and, like that consumer-orientated program, it’s a quick and dirty way to share ideas. If you’re a company that is dispersed, hungry to share knowledge, keen on value, hot on simplicity and seeking something users will actually, you know, use, then I don’t know why you wouldn’t deploy Chatter or something similar.

What tools like this really show is that knowledge management in the form of 1990s clunky, expensive systems is as popular as John Terry on a visit to Manchester. The future’s in manageable, secure versions of addictive consumer programs, which brings me back to Twitter and the puzzle of why it didn’t do this itself. 

I’m sure there will be plenty of people who dismiss Twitter (and Twitter-like programs) as a means of making serious business decisions. Having sat through some of the most tedious decision-making processes in history, I rather like the idea. Certainly 140 characters is preferable to 140 meetings.