While I have been playing with Twitter for awhile for broadcasting and following interesting topics, the other day it came in useful for another reason.  One of the few things that is hard to do without nowadays is email, and mine had stopped working.  This has happened in the past and it takes awhile to figure out what is causing it.  Luckily I have email on my phone and can get to it via web-mail.  My email host 1and1.com is usually very reliable and when none of the above was working it was easy to assume that they where having problems.  Unfortunately when I called the phone number it said all the circuits where busy and I couldn’t get through.

This is where twitter comes in, I simply did a search on #1and1 and found plenty of people in my situation. So at this point I knew it was not just an isolated problem.  Now if 1and1 as a company had a twitter account they could of sent out a simple tweet saying that they where having problems and to give status updates.  This is one of the underutilized aspects of twitter and more business should realize that it provides an alternative to email in notifying a large audience.  Email wouldn’t even of worked in this case because it wasn’t functioning.

So what I have learned is that while twitter can be a little noisy, like being in a crowded room, you can always use the search tools to find what you need.  Since these are almost real time conversations you don’t get old and useless information like you would in a standard Search Engine.  Businesses looking at venturing into the world of social networking should definitely consider creating a twitter account and updating their customers with new information, it is a powerful and immediate tool.  By not having this kind of online presence 1and1.com took a public relations hit in the twitterverse.

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